When considering installing a new roof, it’s important to know what’s underneath. A roofing system is much more than the roof materials visible at the top of your roof. Many homeowners aren’t aware that the layers under the roofing materials also play a crucial role. An ice and water shield is one roofing component necessary for protecting your home from severe weather. This could be especially true if your current roof was installed a while ago (in the early 90s or 2000s).
What Is An Ice and Water Shield?
An ice and water shield is a self-adhesive membrane applied to the roof deck along the eaves and valleys, where ice dams are most likely to form. It is made of a flexible, rubberized asphalt material resistant to water, ice, and extreme temperatures. When properly installed, it creates a waterproof barrier that prevents water from leaking into the building.
Ice and water shields are typically used in areas prone to heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures, such as the northern United States and Canada. However, over the years the role of this shield has expanded and you can now find it used on homes to protect roofs against heavy rain and storms. It is often used in conjunction with other roofing materials, such as shingles, to protect against ice dams and water leakage.
Is An Ice and Water Shield Necessary In Florida?
If you are a homeowner in Florida, then you might be wondering whether an ice and water shield would be appropriate for your roof. In Florida, it may not be strictly necessary to use an ice and water shield on your roof, as the state does not typically experience extreme cold or heavy snowfall that would result in ice dams forming on the roof.
However, this protective underlayment would still be necessary for homeowners in Florida since the Sunshine State of the U.S. faces some of the harshest weather conditions, such as storms, hurricanes, and rain.
Why Is An Ice And Water Shield Important?
A properly installed ice and water shield can help improve your roofing system. Here are some of the benefits that this roof covering provides:
Protects The Roof Deck
Yes, an ice and water shield is designed to protect the roof deck from water damage caused by ice dams. An ice and water shield is a self-adhesive membrane that is easy to install on a roof. It can be applied directly to the roof deck and does not require special tools or equipment. When installed on a roof, it creates a waterproof barrier along the eaves and valleys, the areas most prone to ice dam formation. This helps prevent water from leaking into the building and causing damage to the roof deck and the walls, ceilings, and other internal structures.
Though Floridian homeowners will not experience ice dams, this layer still protects the roof deck from water damage that may be caused by missing shingles.
Improved Energy Efficiency:
An ice and water shield can help improve the energy efficiency of a building by preventing drafts and air leaks caused by water leakage. This can help reduce energy costs and improve the overall comfort of the building.
Common Areas That Require An Ice and Water Shield
You can use an ice and water shield in various areas on a roof where there is a risk of water damage due to ice dams or wind-driven rain. Some common areas where the roofers recommend installing an ice and water shield are as follows:
The eaves of a roof are also known as the edge of a roof and is the area where the roof overhangs the walls of your home. These areas are particularly vulnerable to ice dams, and they are often the first areas to get damaged during storms and heavy rains. Installing ice and water shield on the eaves can help protect against leaks caused by ice dams and other forms of water damage.
Valleys on a roof are the areas where two planes of the roof meet at an angle. These areas can be prone to leaks, as water tends to flow down the valley and funnel into the gutters. Installing ice and water shield in the valleys can help prevent leaks and protect against water damage, especially if you have an open-valley system.
Around Chimneys And Vents:
Chimneys and vents are common areas for leaks to occur, as they often have gaps or openings that allow water to enter the roof. Installing an ice and water shield around these areas can help seal these gaps and prevent leaks.
Best Ice And Water Shields To Install On Your Roof
Now that you know the role that an ice and water shield plays in protecting your home, the next step is to find and install the best shield on the roof. Many companies manufacture ice and water shields and below, we’ve listed some of the best options that have become popular on the market and are trusted by homeowners.
Grace Ice And Water Shield
No matter where you live, when you research the best ice and water shields available at present, you will find Grace Ice and Water Shield at the top of these lists.
This fully adhered, premium roofing underlayment from GCP has been protecting roof decks since 1978.
GRACE ICE & WATER SHIELD® self-adhered roofing underlayment is made of an aggressive rubberized asphalt adhesive, and a layer of slip-resistant coated high-density cross-laminated polyethylene film, both of which possess waterproofing abilities. The sheet sticks aggressively and seals around the fasteners for better protection. You can install the peel-and-stick membrane on both sloped and mechanically attached roofing systems.
Owens Corning Ice and Water Shield
Owens Corning is one of the largest manufacturers of building products. Though primarily known for its quality asphalt shingles, it has also been gaining recognition for its ice and water barrier.
Owens Corning Ice and Water Barrier is a high-performing underlayment that can protect your deck from damage even under the harshest conditions. It provides protection against the freeze/thaw cycle, wind-driven rains, and normal water flow around eaves, rakes, valleys, vents, chimneys, and skylights. Its slip-resistant surface provides excellent traction, enabling the contractor to install the underlayment easily.
GAF Ice and Water Shield
The GAF ice and water shield, by the name of WeatherWatch®, is a self-sealing roofing underlayment designed to protect roofs from water damage caused by ice dams and wind-driven rain. This GAF barrier is also State of Florida approved.
The product is made of a rubberized asphalt compound reinforced with fiberglass. This reinforcement makes the shield resistant to buckling. It also has a quality mineral surface leak barrier, which is highly durable and flexible. The underlayment provides effective waterproofing and is resistant to UV light exposure for up to 60 days. It can also withstand the elements for many years.
GAF WeatherWatch® ice and water barrier is easy to install, as it can be cut to fit the shape of the roof and easily adhered to the roof deck. It is also compatible with a variety of roofing materials. The underlayment is also eligible for a lifetime limited warranty if you install them with lifetime shingle roofs.
Can You Install An Ice And Water Shield Yourself?
An ice and water shield comes in the form of rolls. While the length and the width of the rolls may vary, it generally falls in the range of 3-5 feet wide.
To install an ice and water shield, you will need the following materials and tools:
- Roll of ice and water shield
- Utility knife
- Roofing nails or staples
- Hammers or staple guns
Should You Hire A Contractor?
Ice and water shields are typically peel-and-stick membranes, so they may seem easy to install. While a homeowner can install the product themselves, there are several reasons why it is best to leave this job to professionals.
The material used in ice and water shield is not easy to handle. The ice and water barrier roll must be properly adhered to for the best results. If you install the layer yourself without proper knowledge, it may develop air bubbles. On the other hand, a professional roofing contractor has the necessary training, equipment, and safety measures to ensure that the job is done safely and correctly.
To know more about why you should avoid DIY roof replacement projects, read our blog on DIY roof replacement.
Contact Us For Ice and Water Shield Installation
At SouthShore Roofing & Exteriors, our team of experienced and certified roofing contractors is fully equipt to handle the installation of this important protective underlayment. We’ll work with you to determine the best location and coverage for the ice and water shield, and ensure that it is installed correctly to provide maximum protection for your roof.
Our team is dedicated to providing top-quality workmanship and excellent customer service, so you can trust that your roof will be in good hands when you choose us for a roof repair or replacement. Contact us at (813) 400-3329 to learn more and schedule a free roof inspection!