I was intending to simply replace glue-down vinyl in a bathroom. Upon inspection there were sections of OSB that were crumbly due to [probably long ago] water damage. I dug those sections out and noted that there is a black vapor/water barrier between the wood planks and the OSB (in bedroom leading to the bathroom) or between the plywood and the OSB (in bathroom itself). It's not shiny or "slippery" kind of texture but closer to a landscaping fabric type of texture.

What kind of material might this be? It did a good job of protecting the underlying wood planks / plywood from the water: in fact they are fine and I don't need to do any fixes on them. So I'd like to replace the fabric/material in those cut-up sections with a similar protective material. I'm not sure what it is thus what to buy/what to do.

It is kinda hard, not oily. Is it roofing underlayment maybe?

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1 Answer 1


What you have looks alot like tar paper. A felt like material with tar.

It was very prominent from the 50s through the 90s as a roofing material under shingles. It was often used in other areas to insulate from water. But newer better materials now exist.

It should still be available today in 2 weights or thicknesses. 15 and 30 lb.

  • Yes this is a 70's house - and it did remind me of roofing material from earlier days. I just checked here before heading to HomeDepot: lets see if they have this! Mar 31 at 16:04

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