Underlayment: What Is It, and Which Type Should I Choose?

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Underlayment: What Is It, and Which Type Should I Choose?

Your roof is a complex system of parts designed to protect your home from the elements. Most of us are aware of certain basic aspects of the roofing system, such as the decking or asphalt shingles. But there is another integral material that provides added protection and waterproofing: the underlayment.

What is Underlayment?

The underlayment is a sheet of material, either felt or synthetic, that is sandwiched between the decking and shingles. The purpose of the underlayment is to further seal your home against wind, hail, snow, and rain.

What is the Difference Between Felt and Synthetic Underlayment?

Felt Underlayment
Felt underlayment is made by saturating paper or fiberglass with asphalt. It comes in two sizes: No. 15 and No. 30, with the latter being thicker and more tear-resistant. The main appeal of felt underlayment is that it is less expensive than synthetic versions. It also does not require any specialized tools to install. However, you will want to be aware of potential drawbacks that may ultimately overshadow the cheaper price:

  • Tearing: felt is susceptible to tears during the installation process or in severe weather, such as high winds.
  • Wrinkling or Cracking: when exposed to moisture, felt can wrinkle; it may also crack in cold temperatures
  • Weight: felt is heavier, which can make it more difficult for a roofing contractor to haul up onto a roof
  • Slippery Surface: felt underlayment has an oily, slippery surface which can make it more tricky to install
  • Time Limits: felt can dry out or absorb moisture if left exposed, so shingles need to be placed as soon as possible after the felt is applied to the decking.
Synthetic Underlayment
These days, synthetic underlayment is the preference of many roofing contractors. Made from polymers like polypropylene or polyethylene, it offers many advantages over traditional asphalt-saturated felt underlayment:

  • Tear-resistant: synthetic underlayment is much less prone to tearing than felt
  • Lighter: the lightweight nature of synthetic material makes it easier to install and puts less strain on the home’s framework
  • No cracking: synthetic underlayment does not crack in cold weather
  • No moisture absorption: synthetic underlayment does not absorb moisture, it will not wrinkle and is not susceptible to mold or fungal growth.
  • No volatile compounds: unlike felt underlayment, synthetic materials do not contain volatile compounds, which tend to dissipate over time and can compromise the integrity of the underlayment.

How Do I Choose the Right Kind of Underlayment?

J&K Roofing has experience and is certified in all types of underlayment, both felt and synthetic. We work with the highest quality vendors to ensure your home is fully protected against Colorado’s weather. If you are in the Denver Metro, Front Range, Colorado Springs, or Northern Colorado areas, we are happy to assist you in every step of your roofing project. Contact our office today to see how we can help.

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The Value of Impact Resistant Shingles

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The Value of Impact Resistant Shingles

Colorado has a storm season during which wind, rain, and hail are culprits for significant roof damage. Traditional asphalt shingles, which are the most popular choice among American homeowners, are designed to withstand severe weather conditions to a certain degree.

But many Coloradans may find that they are still dealing with expensive roof repairs when hail season hits.

Luckily, recent advancements have improved the range of shingles available to include a class of impact-resistant shingles. The enhanced durability of these products can save the homeowner the inconvenience and cost of replacing shingles after a bad storm.

What Are Impact-Resistant Shingles?

Impact-resistant shingles are designed to withstand hailstones falling at high speeds. They are classified according to their performance in a specific durability test called the UL2218 method. Shingles are subjected to four sizes of steel ball, measuring between 1 ½” to 2” across, which are then dropped from heights between 12 and 20 feet.

Class 4 shingles exhibit the highest level of impact resistance. In order to receive this rating, a shingle must repeatedly withstand impact from a 2” steel ball dropped from a height of 20 feet.

How are Impact-Resistant Shingles Made?

There are two primary ways of manufacturing impact resistant shingles:

1. Polymer Mesh
A polymer-based mesh is embedded into a traditional asphalt shingle to help prevent it from cracking during a hailstorm or from other sources of impact.

2. Rubberizing Polymers
Rubber-like polymers, like Styrene-Butadiene-Styrene (SBS), are incorporated into the asphalt materials. When SBS is blended with asphalt, a rubberizing effect is produced, which enhances shingle flexibility and durability during a storm.

When Should You Choose Impact-Resistant Shingles?

Impact-resistant shingles are a premium product, which means the up-front cost can be higher than traditional asphalt shingles. However, this higher initial cost may be well worth it if you live in an area that is prone to hail.

Colorado is among the states with the highest prevalence of hailstorms in the United States, along with Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming. In 2020, the state saw record hailstorms with millions of dollars claimed in insurance.

Investing in impact-resistant shingles should definitely be a consideration if you want to avoid the cost and inconvenience of a damaged roof.

J&K Roofing: a Colorado Company

J&K Roofing, one of the best roofing Companies has roofed over 50,000 stru0ctures in Colorado in our 35+ years in business. We know the weather, and we know how to shield against it. Our roofers are certified in every material we use, including our premium asphalt products. If you are in the Denver Metro, Front Range, Northern Colorado, and Colorado Springs areas, give us a call.


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Roofing Materials Guide: Which is Right for You?

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Roofing Materials Guide: Which is Right for You?

When it comes to constructing your roof, you have several options for design and materials. Each varies according to overall cost, appearance, lifespan, and durability. For residential roofing projects in the US, homeowners typically choose from four different categories: asphalt shingles, clay tiles or shingles, metal roofing, or wooden shingles/wood shake.

1. Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt Shingles - JK Roofing

Asphalt shingles are among the most popular materials used for residential homes in the United States. They are durable, inexpensive, easy to install and come in a wide variety of colors and textures. They are also fire-resistant, can be impact resistant, and have options for added waterproofing.

Asphalt shingles can be prone to mildew if not maintained properly. They are also limited to sloped roofs and, since asphalt is sourced from petroleum, their pricing will fluctuate depending on the price of crude oil. Additionally, asphalt shingles cannot currently be recycled in the state of Colorado, which lacks the specialized facilities needed to do so. Wasted shingles can ultimately contribute to landfill waste.

Pros: inexpensive, durable, lots of options, easy to install and repair
Cons: shorter life-span, prone to mildew, environmental impact
Average Life-Span: 15-30 years, with architectural-type asphalt shingles lasting the longest. (Owens Corning has an excellent line of architectural shingles in many, many color options)

*The cost of roofing materials is typically expressed in “squares.” One square is equivalent to 100 feet of shingles.

2. Metal Roofing

Metal Roofing - JK Roofing

                                       Photo courtesy of www.decra.com

Metal roofing is another attractive option for homeowners, especially those looking to mimic certain expensive materials like wood and clay without the cost. It is durable, affordable, and can look very high-end. There are several manufacturers, for example, that produce metal roofing that has the appearance of old-world tile or cedar shake.

Metal roofing is also extremely durable and non-combustible. It lasts far longer than asphalt shingles and is more lightweight, which puts less strain on the home’s framework. Many metal roofing materials are produced from recycled materials and are themselves, 100% recyclable.

Metal roofing can be significantly more expensive than traditional asphalt shingles. They can also be more complicated to install and may require additional insulation to muffle potential noise.

Pros: attractive, durable, long-lasting, eco-friendly
Cons: More expensive, complicated installation
Average Life-Span of Metal roof: 50-100 years

3. Clay

Clay Roofing - JK Roofing

Clay roofs are often found in areas exposed to higher temperatures and salt air, like the coastal areas of California and Florida. They are some of the most durable roofing materials, lasting 100 years or more! This is partially because they are not subject to rot, mildew, or insect damage. They are also another eco-friendly option: made from natural materials that can easily be ground up and reused as needed.

Clay roof tiles are expensive and weigh considerably more than asphalt or metal options. Not all homes will have the framework necessary to support this weight. Although clay tiles can withstand hail and wind, they are not ideal in areas with severe temperature fluctuations. They are also prone to breakage when stepped on, so workers will need to take extra care during maintenance and repairs.

Pros: beautiful, durable, exceptionally long-lasting, eco-friendly
Cons: fragile under pressure, expensive, specialty maintenance required, not good in all climates
Average Life-Span: 100 years or more

4. Wood Shake and Wood Shingle Roofs

Wood Shake and Wood Shingle Roofs - JK Roofing

                                    Photo courtesy of www.customshingles.com

Wood shake and wood shingles offer a unique, rustic look with longevity comparable to asphalt shingles. Wood shingles are identical in size and shape, giving the roof a more uniform look. Wood shake is traditionally hand-split, resulting in a more textured appearance. Both materials come in a variety of colors and options and create interesting curb appeal. They are biodegradable, making them an eco-friendly option.

Wood shake and wood shingles are more costly and higher maintenance, needing fairly constant attention to prevent mildew, cracking, warping, and drying out. If not properly maintained, repairs tend to be more costly than for other materials. They are also naturally more flammable and will require periodic treatment with fire retardant to reduce combustibility*.

Pros: curb appeal, eco-friendly
Cons: high maintenance, costly repairs, flammable
Average Life-Span of Wood Shingle Roof: 25-30 years
Average Life-Span of Wood Shake Roof: 35-40 years

*Certain counties may actually not allow for the use of wood shake or wood shingles. You and your roofer will want to double-check any building codes and regulations before beginning your project.

J&K Roofing is Materials-Certified

At J&K Roofing, our team is certified in every material we use. You can be confident that we have the knowledge and experience to help you build a beautiful and long-lasting roof, whatever material you choose. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help with your next roofing project.

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6 Things to Know About Skylights Before You Install

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6 Things to Know About Skylights Before You Install

Skylights are windows set in the roof or ceiling of a home as opposed to the walls. They are an excellent way to add natural light to darker rooms and can even help reduce utility costs by generating extra warmth in cold weather and allowing for added ventilation. Before you install, however, there are a few questions you might want to consider.

1. Where Can I Install a Skylight?

Skylights can benefit almost every room. Some of the more common places they are found include:


Skylights over the kitchen can enhance light and free up wall space that would have otherwise been taken up by traditional windows, allowing for additional shelving/cabinetry. Furthermore, vented skylights may be opened during cooking to keep cooking odors to a minimum.


In addition to the added natural light during the day, skylights add a touch of whimsy to your bedtime routine. Place your bed directly beneath the skylight window for a clear view of the night sky. Tinted skylights and skylight blinds are available options to improve quality of sleep by blocking out any unwanted light from street traffic or the rising sun.


Bathrooms are often some of the most underlit homes in the house, and skylights can help mitigate this issue while maintaining privacy. Vented options can also help circulate air and moisture and reduce mold and mildew.

Living Room/Family Room

Since living rooms tend to be some of the largest rooms in the house, they also tend to be the most difficult to light properly. A skylight addition significantly improves natural lighting and may help regulate heating and cooling, with proper location and installation.

Bonus Rooms

Bonus rooms do not typically meet the coding standards of a traditional room. Notably, they tend to lack closets and windows. Nonetheless, they can add significant value to the home and may offer certain tax benefits when used as, say, a home office. A skylight is a worthwhile addition to these rooms to bring in outside light and make the “bonus room” feel more like a “real room.”

2. What Are The Different Types of Skylights?

There are three main types of skylights, each with its own advantages and applications.


Fixed skylights are the most common type of skylight. They are designed to bring in natural light to out-of-reach areas and can provide enhanced views due to their larger size. Potential drawback: fixed skylights do not open and therefore do not provide additional ventilation.


Tubular skylights are ideal for more enclosed spaces, such as closets, pantries, and hallways. They are smaller in size and much easier to install. Potential drawback: tubular skylights do not bring in as much light as fixed skylights, nor do they offer appreciable views of the sky.


Vented skylights are sometimes called “roof windows.” This version is suitable for nearly any room, but especially for areas with excess moisture like kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. Vented skylights are comparable in size to fixed versions, but they can be opened manually or electronically to let fresh air in and moisture out.

They are also easier to clean than fixed or tubular versions since the outside panel can be accessed from the inside. Potential drawback: vented skylights may cost more than fixed or tubular versions and can be more complicated to install.

3. How Much Do Skylights Cost?

In general, skylights on their own are an affordable upgrade to your home, especially if you are doing the installation yourself. For example:

● A manual Velux roof window that measures 21×37 ¾” will cost about $500.
● A fixed Velux skylight that measures 21×46 ½” is listed at about $400.

However, this cost can rise considerably depending on the type of skylight, where it is located, and additional professional labor requirements. You will need to consider the most efficient way to cut into existing asphalt shingles or tiles and allow for the possibility of additional flashing; it may also be necessary to add a shaft from the roof to the ceiling and repaint underneath. All of these steps can have a significant impact on the final cost of your skylight project.

4. Can I Install a Skylight Myself?

Individuals with experience in carpentry and roofing may be able to successfully install a skylight as a DIY project. However, as mentioned above, the installation process can be complicated and involve numerous alterations to the home’s architecture, including:

● Removing roof shingles
● Cutting a hole into the roof
● Framework to fit the new window
● Flashing and siding to waterproof and seal the window
● Reshingling certain areas of the roof
● Patching up the ceiling underneath the new window

Due to the complex nature of the installation, as well as the risk of injury or a botched project that causes leaks, it is recommended that you leave roof installation to the professionals.

5. Are Skylights Energy-Efficient?

When skylights were first introduced, there was a concern that solar gain during the summer months would result in overheating of the home. This is not the case today. Skylight manufacturers use numerous techniques, including specialized glazing and insulation materials, to mitigate the heat introduced into the home from direct sun exposure. As a result, skylights can help regulate the home’s temperature and save on energy costs year-round.

6. How Do I Maintain My Skylights?

Skylights are a great addition to your home, but they do require proper care and cleaning to ensure they stay leak-free and protect your home from damage:

● Keep Your Skylight Clean

To maintain a clear shine on the inside of your skylight, use a soft cloth saturated with plain, clean water. Non-abrasive household cleaners, such as glass cleaners, can also be used.

● Be Vigilant About Leaks

○ Clean leaves and debris that accumulate around your skylight, which can affect its ability to wick away rainwater and prevent leaks.
○ If you live in a climate with snow, make sure melting snow and ice can drain off from the roof to surrounding gutters and downspouts so it doesn’t pool around the skylights and flashing.
○ Make it a point to look at the interior of your skylights regularly and particularly after heavy rain or winter storms. Take note of anything that looks out of the ordinary, such as water stains on the ceiling, damp spots on the carpet, or other unusual changes.

● Have Skylights Inspected Once Per Year

Certain problems may not be visible to the untrained eye. It is therefore a good idea to have your skylights professionally inspected annually. A common problem that homeowners often miss is the loosening of the flashing surrounding the skylight, which permits water to enter between the roofline and skylight opening. A professional will be able to spot this problem and perform the necessary repairs.

● Regularly Test Your Skylight Mechanisms

○ If you see condensation on your skylight, it is a sign you need to open it more often. Regular ventilation is the most efficient way to prevent condensation build-up.
○ Check to see that your skylight opens and closes properly. This will help avoid any potential leaks.

Need Help With Your Skylight?

Skylights are most cost-effective when installed on a new build or a roof that is due to be replaced. J&K Roofing offers free roof inspections in the Denver Metro, Front Range, Colorado Springs, and Northern Colorado areas. We have built over 50,000 roofs in our 37 years in business and can help you determine if and when to add skylights to your roofing project. Contact us today to see how we can help.

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Are Metal Roofs Dangerous in a Lightning Storm?

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Are Metal Roofs Dangerous in a Lightning Storm?

Storm season is in full swing in Colorado. As metal roofs become more popular and sophisticated, questions have arisen as to their safety during a lightning storm. Metal is, after all, an excellent conductor of electricity. Is it possible that a metal roof can attract lightning strikes during a storm?

The Science of Lightning

Lightning develops inside a storm cloud. Initially, air acts as an insulator between positive and negative charges within the cloud and between the cloud and the ground. However, as a difference in charge builds up, the air is no longer able to provide this barrier. This results in a rapid discharge of electricity, aka lightning.

The electric discharge may be between opposite charges within the cloud (Intra Cloud Lightning), or it may occur between opposite charges in the cloud and on the ground (Cloud to Ground Lightning).

Lightning Facts

● Lightning generates heat that can be as much as five times hotter than the surface of the sun.
● On average, lightning strikes the US about 25 million times per year.
● About 50 people per year are killed by lightning strikes
Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela has the highest rate of lightning strikes in the world. Storms may last for ten hours and the lake can receive up to 40,000 strikes in one night.
● Lightning can be up to 90 miles long.

Are Metal Roofs Hit More Often?

Metal roofs are no more likely to be struck by lightning than any other home in your neighborhood. Contrary to popular belief, lightning is not attracted to certain materials. When it is ready to strike, it will, regardless of what happens to be in the way. The electrical current will, however, be greater in paths with less resistance.

Trees and buildings are better conductors than air, so lightning tends to strike these objects if they are in the general area of the storm. In other words, the object that is struck depends on its size and location, not what it is made of.

Metal Roofs May Actually Be Safer

All homes are a relatively safe place to be during a lightning storm*. You may be relieved to know, however, that your metal roof may actually be even safer than traditional shingles.

Due to the superconducting nature of metal, lightning has a quick and clear way to the ground. In addition, metal roofs are non-combustible, so your home may also suffer less damage if struck.

*There is a risk of injury in your home during a storm if you are in contact with any of your electrical appliances (especially landline phones) or metal plumbing. Switch off appliances before the storm hits and avoid using the bathroom/shower until the storm has completely passed and you are certain your home is safe.

J&K Roofing is certified and experienced in all types of metal roofing, and we partner with only the highest quality vendors. If you are in the Denver Metro, Front Range, Colorado Springs, or Northern Colorado areas, contact us to get started!

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Asphalt Shingles In Colorado: The Sturdy Tech We Take for Granted

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Asphalt Shingles In Colorado: The Sturdy Tech We Take for Granted

Asphalt continues to be one of the most popular choices for roofing materials, especially in places like Colorado where rooftops must endure intense heat, sun, hail, and wind. Asphalt shingles are exceptionally durable, easy to install, and relatively inexpensive. Their construction also lends itself to a variety of colors and styles.

What Is Asphalt?

An asphalt is actually a viscous form of petroleum. It is an end-product in the oil-refining process and has. In roofing, its main function is to provide a water-resistant feature to shingles. Roofing asphalt is processed at a higher temperature than, say, road asphalt, which gives it an added degree of durability.

How Are Asphalt Shingles Made?

There are five main steps in the construction of standard asphalt shingles.


Manufacturers of asphalt shingles start with a layer of fiberglass. Glass fibers of a specific length and diameter are bound together with resins and chemical binders and laid out in one continuous sheet. This provides the foundation for the asphalt and granule materials.


The asphalt is then oxidized by blowing air through it while hot. This is actually a delicate process, as the volume of air must be precisely controlled. Too much air can result in brittle shingles that are prone to chipping and cracking. Too little air and the shingles can become soft and lose their scuff-resistance, especially if installed in hot weather.

Following oxidation, the asphalt is mixed with a mineral powder to add durability and meet fire-resistance requirements.


Hard rock is crushed into granular sizing specifications and then applied to the top and bottom of the shingle. On the underside of the shingle, which will not be seen, it is applied in its natural state. But the exposed rock can be processed in a variety of colors using ceramic firing techniques. 3M, for example, produces a wide range of color granules that are also nonporous and UV resistant.


Spots of heat-activated asphalt sealant are then applied to either the top or bottom of the shingles in order to help them stick together on your roof. This is often done in conjunction with a laminating process. Most asphalt shingles today are multi-layered, so a bonding material called “laminant” is used to glue the layers together. The laminant is designed to activate at a specific temperature to withstand the installation process and general wear-and-tear.

Fun fact: the top layer of a laminated shingle is called a “dragon tooth” since it resembles an oversized tooth.

Release Film

Storing shingles would be nearly impossible if not for this step! The release film keeps the shingles from sticking together in the package if they are exposed to the temperatures needed to activate that asphalt sealant. It resembles a plastic tape or backing and is typically applied to the back of the shingle. It remains on the shingle after it is installed but, at that point, has no further effect on the sealant.

How does J&K Roofing Use Asphalt Shingles? 

At J&K  Roofing, our roofers are certified in every material we use. We partner with several outstanding companies that manufacture the highest quality asphalt shingles. Malarkey, for example, has a line of laminated shingles with unique features ranging from algae-resistance to sustainable* asphalt. Owens Corning produces Class 4 impact-resistant shingles designed to withstand Colorado’s harsh storm season. Their innovative technology involves rubberizing the asphalt and/or reinforcing the shingle with polymer mesh. Both allow the shingle to resist damage from the golf ball-sized hail we often get here in Colorado!

*It is worth noting that, although asphalt can be manufactured sustainably, asphalt shingles themselves are not recyclable in the state of Colorado. In the past, many companies posed as recycling facilities and then simply abandoned thousands of tons of shingles at undesignated landfill sites. So please be wary of any company claiming to recycle this material-it is not permitted in Colorado!

J&K  Roofing services the Denver Metro, Front Range, Colorado Springs, and Ft. Collins areas. Give us a call to schedule your free roof inspection and discuss available options for updating your asphalt shingles!

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