Roofing felt or tar paper is a protective layer between shingles and deck on the roof. It acts like a shield against moisture for roofing shingles and deck. 

One common question regarding this is, can roofing felt get wet?

The answer is yes. Though the felt protects the roof from water, it still can get wet.

However, it does its job well even after being wet unless it’s exposed to sunlight or more rain for a few days. As these two factors will cause breakage in the shield. 

Hopefully this article will give you a better insight into this topic.

When Roofing Felts Become Damp Or Wet?

The roofing felt is actually a shield against moisture for your roof. When it gets wet, it works more like a barrier instead of a sponge. This felt absorbs the water then repels it in order to keep the roof undamped. 

But, when the surface is wet underneath, it can dissolve the subsurface along the roofing felt.  It can rip and damage the shingles. 

Basically, if the felt is exposed to sunlight and water for a couple of days, it will surely get damaged. And thus cause damage to shingles too.

Can Roofing Felt Get Wet

Replacing The Wet Roofing Felt

Once the roofing felts become wet, it should be left to dry first in ideal cases. But if the felt is wet but the surface underneath doesn’t get wet, rip, wrinkle or bubble up, then you can cover it with shingles. Bubbles and wrinkles create heat pockets which damage the layers.

It takes the contractors two days to fix the roof. If your contractors install the shingles on wet felt, you should inspect properly to see if there are any bulges that need to be fixed. Because these bulges cause damage in future and ruin the roof layers.

Proper Installation

We expect the felt roof to shed or repel water. You need to place the felt properly on your roof for it to function well. If the felt is wrinkled, it will crack or leak. You also need to look out for tears and holes in your felt before installing. Basically the felt has to be in proper condition in order to last long. Also, do overlay it while installing.

Is Roofing Felt Waterproof?

Well, yes it is slightly waterproof. It works as a waterproof shield on the roof. This felt has two layers with asphalt or bitumen. And these elements go through petroleum distillation which technically makes the felt waterproof.

Placing Shingles On Wet Roofing Felt

Technically, you can place shingles on roofing felt. But it is wise to let the felt dry. Otherwise molds can grow which will eventually damage the felt and thus the entire roof will not function properly.

If the felt is wet while putting shingles over them, the water might not evaporate and thus it gets trapped in between the layers. 

Wet felt leads to rips and holes. It can cause the roof to age prematurely. Also, blisters can happen if you put shingles on wet felt. 

How Long Is Roof Underlayment Allowed To Be Exposed?

Most of the synthetic roof underlayments can tolerate exposure for about half a year to a year. The felt is saturated with asphalt that goes under petroleum distillation making it somewhat waterproof.

Better Alternatives

Synthetic underlays are definitely better than felts. Synthetic ones are lighter and much more resistant to tears than the traditional felts. They are better at resisting water. Also synthetic ones tend to last longer too.

Also if a wind storm happens and takes a few shingles down, water can easily get through to the underlayment. Synthetic ones will not let the water touch the wood, so your roof will be safe.

Why Is Roofing Felt Necessary?

Roofing felt are necessary for your roof for many reasons.  For example, During rain or snow, water can get trapped. It causes leaks, damage and rot. Roofing felt helps to drain off the water avoiding leakage.

You have to choose a roof felt that is approved and compatible with roofing shingles. Only shingles can not really meet up to the A-class fire valuation for which you will need the roofing felts.

Felt works as a protective layer. It helps protect the roof from water damage. Also felts work as a backup to shingles.


So the straight answer to the question “Can roofing felt get wet” is a yes, it certainly can. But they do not necessarily have to get damaged due to it.

Hopefully this article was helpful enough to give you detailed information regarding this topic. For further enquiries, we suggest you consult with your local contractors.


As a civil engineer and roofer, I love to share the experience that I have gained through the last couple of years. In the roofing industry, practical experience is a very crucial fact that can help you a lot. Hence, I want to help you with my blog.

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