4 Underlayments That are Above and Beyond the Competition

RCS Grace ICE and Water
October 27, 2022 at 6:00 p.m.

By Cass Jacoby.  

With so many choices in underlayment, it is easy to get overwhelmed, we have narrowed down some options for you. 

The roof looks simple from the ground — where most people stand, the roof is just a couple of planes at an angle to shed water. However, the roof is actually a complex system of shingles, plywood, flashing, membranes, sealant and the all-important underlayment. An underlayment can be make or break for the roofing system, as it is critical to protecting the roof deck and shedding moisture so as to avoid leaks. 

With so much at stake, it is important that you pick the best possible choice of underlayment for your roof. Don’t know where to start? Follow this quick guide on the top products in the market as part of your research on finding the best option for your home. 

What to consider when choosing the best roof underlayment 

Keep in mind there are a few elements and considerations to think about when it comes to finding the right fit for a roof. The “best” is dependent on factors ranging from roof type to climate. Before any choices are made, make sure to learn the pros and cons of different underlayment types and to consider which underlayment makes the most sense for your type of roof and location.  

Top picks  

Best rubberized underlayments  

GCP Grace Ice & Water Shield 

If peace of mind is what you are looking for out of your roofing project, then look no farther than GCP’s  Grace Ice & Water Shield®. Grace Ice & Water Shield® is made out of rubberized asphalt, a tested and proven proprietary material that provides the highest level of waterproofing performance. Its watertight seal is unmatched by felt or synthetic underlayments. 

GCP Grace Ice & Water Shield HT 

Grace Ice & Water Shield HT is made of a rubberized asphalt adhesive and a polymeric film, both of which work together to form a high-performance waterproofing membrane. Application of the product is easy due to its RIPCORD® function embedded in the adhesive. The RIPCORD allows the applicator to split the release easily, particularly in detail spots. The underlayment is designed to withstand high-temperature applications up to 260°F. 

The membrane is a great choice for preventing water penetration on sloped roofs as well as potential attacks from fungus or bacteria. It offers protection against leaks in protrusions, skylights and valleys. Its rubber asphalt layer is specially designed to seal around nails and fasteners and it forms water-tight overlaps without any need for special treatment. The membrane can be used under metal, slate, tile, cedar shakes and asphalt shingles. 

Bob Vila named the GCP Grace Ice & Water Shield HT roof underlayment the best upgrade pick, since this underlayment is designed to withstand high temperatures on the hottest roofs.

Best synthetic underlayments 

Owens Corning ProArmor Synthetic Roof Underlayment 

Bob Vila named this the best synthetic underlayment. Made of a durable polypropylene material that resists stretching or ripping around fasteners, this underlayment weighs just 25 pounds for easy carrying. Owens Corning has made this underlayment suitable for asphalt and metal roofing.  

NovaSeal® ULTRA 

NovaSeal® ULTRA forms a barrier in a roofing system that helps protect residential or commercial steep-slope roofs in the most extreme weather conditions and delivers exceptional long-term weather barrier performance. It is made from a woven polypropylene and a slip-resistant nonwoven top surface that makes it completely waterproof.  

NovaSeal® ULTRA is designed for use under metal, asphalt shingles, synthetic shingles, primed cedar shakes and tiles. This underlayment from TUCK® is up to 20 times stronger than felt underlayments and can withstand UV exposure for up to 180 days. 


Finding an underlayment can mean a lot of research and expertise when it comes to finding the best underlayment for a roofing project. Make sure that you do your research and talk with your contractor to find the perfect match for your roof.  

Have a question? AskARoofer

Find your local roofing contractor in the RoofersCoffeeShop® Contractor Directory.  

About Cass  

Cass works as a reporter/writer for RoofersCoffeeShop, AskARoofer and MetalCoffeeShop. When she isn’t writing about roofs, she is putting her Master degree to work writing about movies and dancing with her plants.

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