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Behind The Scenes Of Your Roof's Ice And Water Barrier

Ice and water barrier, also known as ice and water shield, is a self-adhering waterproofing underlayment installed on roofs to help prevent damage caused by ice dams and rainwater driven by winds.

The thin rubberized asphalt membrane goes under the shingles of your roof – typically along valleys and overhangs of residential roofs. It’s a great solution for protecting homes from water leaks, especially in regions experiencing ice dams, such as Michigan.

Ice and Water Barrier Material

The ice and water barrier looks like a long sheet of sticky black plastic. It is made with polymer-modified bitumen covered by a release film. During its application, the film is removed to allow the membrane to adhere to the roof deck and form watertight bond with your roof deck. Modified bitumen is designed to create a watertight seal around nails penetrations when shingles are installed.

Where Ice and Water Barriers are Applied

Ice and water barriers should be installed in valleys, from the edge of the overhang, i.e. the drip edge, extending all the way to at least 2 feet into the nearest exterior wall. Most ice and water barriers come in 3-feet wide rolls so a single pass may not be adequate to run from the drip edge to at least 2 feet inside the wall. That is why most roofs end up with a 6-foot swath of barrier along their overhangs. Some roofers even offer a total of 9-feet of ice and water shield.

Other areas where ice and water barriers are installed include:

  • Eaves and rakes – Ice and water barrier helps protect the deck and the interior of your home from damage from ice dams. During cold winter months, ice dams often form near gutters, allowing water to back up on the shingles where it can find a way around nails and leak to the deck. 
  • Flashings and chimneys – Ice and water shields can also be installed under flashings and around chimneys to offer protection from wind-blown rains or anywhere water could slow down and flow back up the shingles.

Ultimately, you’ll want to have your ice and water shields installed by an experienced roofing contractor to guarantee excellent protection from ice and water damage. At Moore and Sons Roofing, we offer high-quality roofing installation, repair, maintenance and replacement in Grand Rapids, MI and surrounding areas. Over the years, we’ve gained trust and reputation for using only the finest roofing materials in the country. Contact us today for a free estimate on ice and water shield installation.