What Is The Best Tile Roof Underlayment In Arizona?

What Is The Best Tile Roof Underlayment To Use In Arizona?

Tile roofs can last up to 50 years in Arizona. However, the tile underlayment (felt/ tar paper) typically lasts 20 to 30 years. The tile underlayment will start rotting out when water gets under the roof tiles. The most common ways water can get under roof tiles are: clogged valleys/ roof flashing, broken tiles, or the roof tiles were not laid properly. Roof tiles are mainly aesthetic and act as a barrier between the tile underlayment and the roof tile.

The Arizona sun will destroy tile underlayment if it is exposed. Most tile underlayments cannot withstand the UV rays and start deteriorating rapidly. There are some tile underlayments that are designed for heat and sunny climates such as Arizona’s. So, let’s explore what is the best tile roof underlayment in Arizona!

The Different Type of Tile Underlayments Available

There are many different types of underlayments that can be used under concrete tile in Arizona. Here are are the most common: felt (SBS modified bitumen), synthetic, and self-adhering underlayments. We will talk about each type of concrete tile underlayment and determine what is best based on several factors: price, waterproofing, durability, and UV resistance.

Synthetic Tile Underlayment

Synthetic tile underlayments have been increasing in popularity in Arizona. However, in our opinion, they are not the best for material to use. In fact, we will recommend homeowners not to choose synthetic concrete tile underlayments. Let’s talk about why we don’t recommend synthetic concrete tile underlayments.


Some synthetic underlayments are more expensive than the felt type of concrete tile underlayments while other synthetics are cheaper. In fact, the material price can be double than of a felt type of underlayment. It would be cheaper to do two layers of felt than a single layer of synthetic.


Synthetic is the king of waterproofing capabilities and is 100% waterproof. How ever synthetics don’t self-seal around fasteners well (nails, staples, etc). This is the biggest issue when it comes to installing synthetic underlayment under concrete tile roofs. A concrete tile roof is comprised of

The underlayment is rolled out to cover the decks surface (keeping it waterproof) and nailed in place.
Batten strips (4 ft sections of 1×2 wood strip) are then nailed or stapled on top of the underlayment. They provide rows for the roof tile cleats to rest on and prevent them from sliding down the roof.
Then the roof tiles themselves.

Example of what is underneath a concrete tile roof
Installing a tile roof requires both the batten strips and underlayment to be fastened to the deck. So, with a synthetic underlayment that doesn’t automatically seal around the fastener’s penetrations, your roof is vulnerable.

The number one reason your concrete tile roof leaks is from water getting under the batten strips and going through the fasteners penetrations. Rubber modified felt papers will automatically seal these penetrations while synthetics will not.

So even though synthetics have a 50 years product warranty they are not the best tile underlayment for sealing the around the roof fasteners.


As far as durability, synthetic roof material is quite durable. However, when synthetic tears it tends to tear in big sections. Synthetic concrete tile underlayments have a durable surface for foot traffic and have an excellent non-slip surface

UV Resistance:

Synthetic underlayment has very strong UV resistant qualities. When exposed to the direct sun, the underlayment can maintain a UV resistance from 6 to 12 months

Self Adhering Tile Underlayment

This underlayment is different from both the synthetic and felt underlayment because it has a self-adhering bottom. When installing a thin film is pulled away and the self-adhering bottom adheres to the roofs deck. The gives the advantage of leaving no roof fasteners (cap nails) exposed.

As you can see there are no exposed nails
Another benefit is most of the self-adhering concrete tile underlayments are rubber-modified and automatically self-seal around any nails pounded through its surface.


Self-adhering concrete tile underlayments are generally very expensive. It is usually around the same price to use synthetic underlayment.


This concrete tile underlayment is excellent at waterproofing. It has a lot of rubber inside of it and lasts a very long time. The seams are adhered together providing a waterproof surface.


Self-adhering concrete tile underlayment is the most durable underlayment available in Arizona. Specifically, the brand, Boral Tile Secure, is the best concrete tile underlayment in Arizona for the durability factor. It can be used under metal roofs so it has a very high melting point. The surface is a non-slip and can handle high foot traffic which is good for the installers!

UV Resistance:

This material can handle a lot of UV exposure and lasts up to 6-12 months of direct Arizona sun! For UV Resistance, self adhering underlayment is the best underlayment for tile roofs in Arizona

Felt Type Tile Underlayment

Felt style underlayments have been around the longest out of the other two types. The are different class and types of felt that is used under concrete tiles in Arizona. Felts thickness are organized by weight classes ranging from 30# to 90#. Some felts are better than others.

Organic felt tile underlayment was used a lot 20 to 30 years ago. However organic felt is the cheap option. It tends to dry up and curl on the seam edges with age. Also, there have been incidences where roof rats have chewed up all the organic felt paper under tile roofs causing the roof to leak severely.

The better felts are the SBS Rubber modified bitumen. They are fortified with rubber which helps the underlayment lay flat on installation. The rubber also helps the material to self-seal around the roof fasteners.


The price for SBS rubber modified bitumen is the cheapest out of the other two options. In many cases, it is costs less to apply two layers SBS rubber modified felt than one layer of synthetic or self-adhering underlayment. For prices, felt is the best underlayment for tile roofs in Arizona.


Organic felt is not 100% water proof but the SBS modified version has more rubber in it allowing it to be superior at being waterproof. In Arizona, we have a very dry climate so SBS modified felt papers are more than enough to keep your roof dry. The composition of the SBS prevents it from rotting and deteriorating like its organic cousin.


Felts are quite durable and can handle foot traffic quite well. The organic felts are less durable than the SBS modified felts. However, if the felt is installed in high temperatures the asphalt becomes pliable and the tar paper can slide when being installed. This is a hazard for the roofers since the tile roofs have a pitch.

UV Resistance:

Both the self-adhering and synthetic concrete tile underlayments have better UV resistance than felt. If a tile breaks on your tile roof and exposes the surface of the underlayment it is advised to get the tile replaced as soon as possible. The SBS modified felts are generally more UV resistant than the organic felts. Felt does not win the UV resistance test for underlayments in Arizona.

So, what is the best underlayment for tile roofs in Arizona?

The synthetics are out ruled out being that they are not self-sealing when a nail is pounded through their surface. In fact, we would NOT recommend synthetics under tile at all for Arizona. It is the best underlayment for under shingle roofs in cold climates.

One of the biggest faults synthetics have is not being repairable. One of the other two options if there is a premature leak then they can easily be repaired with more felt and tar. Many times a tile roof while start leaking in a high water flow area years before the rest of the underlayment needs to be changed. In our opinion synthetics are one of the worst underlayments for tile roofs in Arizona.

While self-adhering underlayment is the best tile underlayment in Arizona for durability, length of life, and UV resistance; an SBS rubber modified felt is our pick. A particular brand that we like the most is TU-43. Tu-43 lasts a long time, it can easily be repaired, has a rubber and fiberglass core, and it is has a reasonable price tag. Installing two layers would be cheaper than one layer of the self-adhering underlayment and last around the same time (some cases even longer).

So, if you need the underlayment replaced under your tiles in Arizona then we would recommend TU-43 as the choice of tile underlayment material. In our opinion, TU-43 is the best underlayment for tile roofs in Arizona!

Mikku & Sons Roofing logo

Emergency Roof Repair Contractors

Mikku and Sons Roofing has been helping residents throughout Phoenix since 2001. Our experienced and friendly crew members can inspect your roof and help you get it ready for the monsoon season to help you reduce the risk of damage. But, if your roof does have damage due to monsoon storms, we are ready to help you with quick and complete roof repair. We have experience in all types of roofs, including tile, shingle and flat roofs on both personal residences and commercial property. We are fully licensed and insured and make it our mission to provide quality workmanships and exceptional service.

Call us today at (623) 465-1068 to find out how we can help you prepare your roof for the coming monsoon season or to repair it after a storm.

August 5th, 2020|

Common Problems With Tile Roofs

Common Problems With Tile Roofs

Durable, Long Lasting and Stylish

Tile roofs are beautiful. They’re durable, long lasting and offer southwest style to any home. But they develop problems just like any other type of roof.  Like most roof problems, the sooner a problem is discovered, the better.  You’ll spend way less money fixing immediately than having to deal with bigger problems that may develop down the road. In light of this, we’d like to point out a few common problems with tile roofs, so you can contact a reliable roofing contractor to fix your problem as soon as you spot it.

If you use quality materials, keep debris clear, inspect regularly and only use professional, licensed contractors to work on it, your tile roof will provide many years of protection and beauty to your home or business.

5 Issues With Tile Roofs


Poor Quality Materials

One of the biggest problems is using poor quality materials to install on your roof. Make sure you purchase tiles for your roof that are ASTM certified. The market for roofing materials has been strong and there’s been a flood  low quality tiles pushed to consumers because of this. If you use non-ASTM certified tiles, your roof’s lifespan will be significantly reduced and you’ll have much more frequent need for repairs. Saving money in the installation will only cost you much more down the road.


Unreliable Contractors

Even if you use top quality tiles, if you use inexperienced , unlicensed or amateur contractors to install them, you’ll be sorry later. Make sure you’re hiring a reliable, professional, properly licensed and insured company like this one to do the job. This goes for any repairs you need, also. Don’t hire a handyman or someone that will do a cheap job for you to make any repairs on your roof. Make sure , again, that they’re a professional roofing contractor.


Debris Build Up

Material build-up on the tiles. The material tiles are made of is porous and susceptible to moisture and organic debris. If you have any trees that are constantly drooping leaves, branches, twigs or other debris on your roof, make sure you are diligent about removing it from your roof on a consistent basis. If you don’t, the tiles will begin to wear out and crack, or the debris will work its way under the tiles and destroy the integrity of the underlayment.


Storms & Harsh Weather

Storms and weather. Here in Arizona, we can have violent, sudden storms, especially during the monsoon season. High winds can knock tiles loose or cause them to slide, exposing the underlayment below. If you have trees near your roof, branches can sway in the wind and wreak havoc on your tiles. Make sure you check your roof after storms and have a professional roofing contractor inspect your roofs integrity at least once a year before the storm season starts.


Walking On The Roof

Walking on the roof. Tiles are made from cast concrete or clay and can be broken if walked upon. Clay tiles can be especially sensitive to weight. Don’t walk on your roof unless there’s no way to avoid it. If you need to have a section of your roof checked that is hard to see from the ground, hire a professional roofer to inspect the area for you, to avoid risk and damage to the roof.

Mikku & Sons Roofing logo

Emergency Roof Repair Contractors

Mikku and Sons Roofing has been helping residents throughout Phoenix since 2001. Our experienced and friendly crew members can inspect your roof and help you get it ready for the monsoon season to help you reduce the risk of damage. If your roof has damage from monsoon storms, we are ready to help you with quick and complete roof repair. We have experience in all types of commercial and residential roofs, including tile, shingle and flat roofs. We are fully licensed and insured and make it our mission to provide quality workmanships and exceptional service.

Call us today at (623) 465-1068 to find out how we can help you prepare your roof for the coming monsoon season or to repair it after a storm.

April 29th, 2016|
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