Roof Felt Paper 15 vs. 30: Which is Better?

When it comes to roof underlayments, roof felt paper is one of the oldest types there is. Also known as tar paper, this underlayment has a fiberglass, cellulose, or polyester fleece base soaked in asphalt to increase its waterproofing ability. Roof felt paper is a great roof underlayment choice for homeowners on a tight budget.

Roof felt paper/tar paper comes in two variants known as the 15-pound and 30-pound variants. The main difference between these two variants is that the 100 square feet of both types weighed 15 and 30 pounds. Even though manufacturers have significantly reduced the weight of both variants now, the names have stuck on.

Perhaps you’re at the roofing stage of your house and trying to decide between two types of felt; this article will help you decide on the best type of roof. We’ll also walk you through some factors you should consider and the best brands to buy from.

Roof Felt Paper 15 vs 30

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Factors to Consider When Picking a Roof Felt Paper

If you’re confused about choosing between both types of felt paper, you can consider any of these factors that apply to your roofing expedition. You can use them to pick the best roof felt paper house for your roof. They include:

1. The steepness of your roof

The level of the steepness of your roof will determine which type of roof paper felt you should use. On slopes that are not so sleep (2:12 to 4:12), using roof paper felt 15 is fine. However, on steeper slopes (6:12 or greater), the roof paper felt 30 is better than the roof paper felt 15. This is because, on steeper slopes, they provide more traction for the construction workers, so they don’t slip off.

2. Wear and Tear

The thickness of roof paper felt 30 ensures that they wear at a slower rate than roof paper felt 15, which is thinner. This means they tend to last longer than roof felt paper 15. Also, their thickness reduces the tendency to get torn as the construction workers step on them.

3. Location and Weather

The location of your house and the prevalent weather is very important. This is because harsh weather, such as extremely windy situations, can tear off lighter roof felt paper (i.e., 15). Also, places with extreme heat can cause the paper to shrink and wrinkle. Also, snowfall could cause water to penetrate your shingles and affect your felt more.

Hence, it is advisable to use heavier roof felt paper (i.e., 30) in areas with extreme exposure to the elements. While the roof paper felt 30 might also get damaged if exposure is high, it is still a more protective choice.

4. Price

Using the roof paper felt 15 is a more economical option if you’re on a budget. However, if your housing project is located in an area with a higher chance of damage, it is better to go for the roof paper felt 15. It is stronger and will prevent further spending on damages in the future.

Roof Felt Paper 15 vs. 30: Which is Better?

When comparing both variants of roof felt paper head-to-head, explained below is how each variant ranked using a few parameters:

1. Thickness

Just as the weight implies, roof paper felt 30 is thicker than the 15-pound variant. Most of the 30-pound variants are in the 0.06-inch range, while the 15-pound variant is in the 0.04-inch range. Both types come in either 50 or 100 feet-long rolls. This thickness is important in the rate of wear the roof paper felt will undergo with gradual exposure to the elements.

2. Resistance to Tear

During the roof construction, it is possible that the roof paper felt will have to stay exposed for a while before the shingles are placed on top. This means the construction workers would have to walk on it in this period. There’s every tendency that someone might slip and tear the tar paper and even injure themself. The 30-pound variant has a higher resistance to such occurrences due to its higher thickness.

3. Resistance to the Elements

Tar paper/roof felt paper is renowned for its tendency to shrink and wrinkle when exposed to extreme sunlight or moisture. While this can happen to both weight variants, roof paper felt 15 has a higher resistance to this occurrence.

4. Roof Slope

The steepness of your roof will determine the type of tar paper that is suitable for use. For example, on a ery steep roof (6:12 or higher), roof paper felt 30 is better than the 15-pound variant. This is because it provides a better grip and prevents the construction workers from falling and tearing the roof paper felt. However, if your roof isn’t too steep, you can opt for the roof paper felt 15. It also gives very good performance at an economical price.

5. Resistance to Wear

Thanks to its higher thickness, roof paper felt 30 has a higher resistance to wear than the 15-pound variant. However, the rate of wear will depend on other factors, such as the quality of shingles and the workmanship done on the roofing. A 30-pound roof felt paper might still wear off faster than the 15-pound variant if it undergoes constant exposure to the elements.

From the various parameters explained above, roof felt paper 30 is the better of the two choices. It provides the best properties and would last longer if both variants were exposed to similar conditions. If you’re on a tight budget and your home isn’t at any element risk, then the roof felt paper 15 is not a bad choice either.

Roof Felt Brands You Can Buy From

If you’re on the lookout for brands that make some of the best roof paper felt, then this section is for you. We have compiled some of the best brands we could find. They include:


Orgill 15RF Standard Roofing Felt

Orgill is another trustworthy underlayment manufacturer. There are two sizes of Orgill Roofing Felt 30RF Standard Roofing Felt available. The 15RF version is designed for smaller applications, while the 30RF version is designed for larger projects. This product is not too light, nor is it too heavy. The weight is just the right blend. Orgill Roofing Felt is a mixture of organic fibers that meets ASTM 4869 specifications.


TAMKO NO. 15 Asphalt Felt

TAMKO is a leading manufacturer of roof felt paper underlayment in the United States. The company was founded in 1944 in Missouri and had been delivering high-quality construction materials ever since. Apart from roofing products, the company also manufactures coatings, waterproofing products, and cement. Tamko has developed into a well-known and reliable brand. TAMKO NO.30 ASTM Asphalt Saturated Organic Felt, their product, is an excellent roof felt paper for use in housing projects.

Some other brands we found worthy include GripRite and Gardner Coatings.


If you’re trying to make a choice between tar paper 15 and 30, this article has reviewed how both underlayments fare against each other and which of them is the best. You can also find some brands to buy these underlayments from in the article.

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