What is Felt Paper and Why
You Need It On Your Shed Roof

Why you need felt paper on your shed roof.You Should Have Felt Paper on Your Shed Roof!

I never used to use felt paper on my shed roofs! They were just sheds.  People don't want to spend the extra money on protecting their sheds!  Come on now!

Big Mistake!!!

Using felt paper in conjunction with drip edge is probably one of the most useful benefits you can add to your shed.  If you don't use this product, you won't see any detrimental effects for the first few years in the life of your shed.  However further down the road as your shed ages you will start seeing deterioration of your shed roof, especially around the bottom edges or the eave, then progressing along the gable roof edges.

What is Felt Paper?

Installing felt paper on a barn shed roof.Felt Paper on A Gambrel Shed Roof

Felt paper is sometimes referred to as roof underlayment or tar paper.  It is placed between the roof decking or sheeting and the roof shingles. It's purpose is to prevent water from penetrating the roof decking material like plywood or OSB (oriented strand board used for sheeting roofs.)

It is referred to as tar paper as it is a heavy paper, and is most commonly available in 15# or 30# weights, and is impregnated with tar.

Why Should You Use Felt Paper on Your Shed Roof?

There are a number of reasons for the installation of felt paper on your shed roof.

  • It repels water.
  • In the event of ice and water damage it will provide back up protection.
  • It provides extra protection against the weather.
  • It may be required by your building code in your local municipality.
  • It will protect your roof decking while working on your roof.
  • It will help your shed roof look better.  It will provide a more uniform look and prevent that picture frame effect from the edges of the roof panels.
  • Felt paper prevents stains from wood resins.


What Weight Felt Paper Should You use?

Barn shed with felt paper on the roof.Felt Paper on a Barn Style Shed Roof

I typically always use 15# felt paper on my shed roofs.  It is easier to work with.  However it does tear easier and is more prone to being ripped to shreds from windy conditions if you aren't going to be laying your shingles down right away. 

The 30# is much harder to work with but is less prone to tears like the 15# weight.  You will want to cover your 30# with shingles right away because it will wrinkle up badly from rain if you don't.  Trying to get shingles to lay right and look good will just about be impossible on wrinkly 30# tar paper.

How To Install Felt Paper

Extreme caution needs to be exercised when working on your shed roof and installing roofing felt paper.  If not properly secured down to your shed roofing, accidents will occur while working on top of the felt paper.  The following guidelines are general and you should always follow the manufacturers installation instructions located on the roll of felt paper you use.

  • Make sure your roof deck is clean and free of debris.  If you are using drip edge (highly recommended) you will want to install it on your eaves first, and the rake edges after the paper is put down.
  • Starting from the bottom of your roof, roll the paper out going from edge to edge, leaving 1/2" overlap past the edges and trim.
  • Secure the paper in place with plastic capped roofing nails every 12" with the exception of doing the top edge. 
  • Overlap the next layer of paper on the previous (following manufacturers directions), then secure this layer as you did the previous with your plastic capped roofing nails.
  • When you get up to the ridge of your shed roof, overlap the ridge with the paper
This customer knew to use felt paper on her shed.Protect Your Shed Roof With Felt Paper

Learn more about shed roofs.

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