Can You Leave a Roof Exposed? (Expert Answers!)

Unforeseen delays, such as a mix-up in your shingle order, changing of roofers or contractors, and so much more, could slow the process leading up to the completion of your roof.

In situations like this, you might’ve considered leaving your roof exposed for some time until you can finish it up.

Given the significant role, roofs play in protecting the inner framework of a home, many homeowners are skeptical about making this move.

So, we decided to dedicate an article to thoroughly discuss this topic.

With that said, here’s everything you need to know about whether it’s okay to leave a roof exposed.

Here’s if You Can Leave Your Roof Exposed:

You can leave your roof exposed, but you must first determine whether your roofing materials are strong enough to withstand the exposure. A roof with a roof felt as underlayment should not be left exposed for more than two weeks.

Roofs with synthetic underlayment can be left exposed for about three to six months.

How Long Can You Leave Roof Felt Exposed?

Roof felt is a natural underlayment that is installed beneath roof shingles. This material protects the inner framework of your roof, supports the weight of your shingles, and serves as a water-resistive barrier.

An unexpected pause or break in the construction process of a roof typically calls for the incomplete structure to be left exposed for some time.

Situations like a delayed building supply shipment acquired shingles being insufficient and so much more could cause the construction of your roof to come to an unplanned halt.

It’s best that a roof felt or underlayment is in place when leaving a roof exposed as this material keeps your roofing structure well protected from external damage.

Kindly note that roof felt should not be left exposed for more than two weeks at a time. This is because prolonged exposure to the elements will cause severe damage to the material.

Roof felts are usually designed to be resistant to water and other weather elements. However, their resistance wears off gradually when left exposed for too long.

When exposed directly to water for too long, the roof felt becomes saturated and weak.

Then, when the sun dries it out, there is a chance that the material will become very brittle, so much so that a windstorm would probably cause it to come apart.

A weak roof felt is not in any way good for your building, so keep in mind that it cannot withstand direct exposure for too long.

If your roof felt has been left exposed to the elements for too long, consider replacing it or assess the state of the material to determine whether it can be put to use.

Making use of a damaged roof felt can cause leaks and other structural issues within and outside a home.

How Long Can Synthetic Roof Underlayment Be Exposed?

Synthetic roof underlayment offers long-lasting protection and better resistance to wear and tear, so it’s highly durable. More durable than roofing felt.

However, despite the resilient nature of synthetic underlayment, it should not be left exposed for more than six months at a time..

Continual exposure to the elements negatively impacts the material, so avoid hitting the six months mark before finishing up your roof.

Without repair, synthetic underlayment can last for well over 25 years, ensure that they are properly installed to get the most out of it.

Although synthetic underlayment can remain exposed for well over 4 months if you can finish up your roofing project way before the exposure time frame lapses that’d do you some good.

Can All Brands/Types of Roof Underlayment Be Exposed?

All types or brands of roof underlayment can be left exposed for varying periods of time. You can usually get this information on the product’s package and/or the manual that it came with.

Generally, the period in which your roof underlayment can be left exposed depends on the type of material used for it and your area’s climate.

As I mentioned earlier, the roof felt should not be exposed to the elements for more than two weeks, while a synthetic roof underlayment can last for six months without a covering.

I must emphasize again that the strength of your underlayment is mainly dependent on your choice of material and the climatic condition of your area.

Suppose the climate of your area is quite harsh. In that case, your underlayment might not be able to withstand exposure to elements for the average time prescribed.

In the above case, prompt execution of your roofing project needs to be enforced to keep your underlayment from sustaining significant damage.

Are Exposed Roof Nails Bad?

Roof nails hold hinges and joints in a roof structure together. They are to be thoroughly inserted into the roof, but as time goes by, there is a high chance that they might get exposed to weather elements.

This is not a good situation. Your roof nails should keep the roof together, and they can’t do this effectively when they are exposed.

Exposed nails are bad. They allow water to seep in from the roof through the space that they create.

When your roof nails are out or exposed, it shows that they are displaced from their right position. Immediate attention should be given to this problem.

The are two ways to solve this issue. Its either you replace the shingles of the roof, if they are weak or fix the nail back into its rightful position.

Leaving exposed nails unattended to does not only put your home at serious risk of developing deteriorative issues but disrupts the aesthetic appeal of your roofing structure, as exposed nails aren’t pleasing to look at.


Roof underlayment can be left exposed however, the time of exposure depends on the type of underlayment used.

Roof felt can last up to two weeks, while synthetic underlayment can last for much longer.

Exposed nails are not good for your roof structure, so repair them as soon as you spot them, otherwise your roofing structure will be exposed to deteriorative external elements.