Ice And Water Shield
Ice and Water Shield TIPS
- Not all ice underlayments are the same
- When installed correctly all water STOPS
- WATCH my VIDEOS below!
- Cover entire roof in heavy snow areas
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DEAR TIM: Lately I’ve seen roofers install a strange product that looks like traditional felt paper, but it’s not. It has a peel-away backing paper, and this material sticks to the wood sheathing. What is it? Why would you use this on a roof? Is it something that can be added to an existing roof in case I’m adding another layer of shingles? Connie G. Columbus, OH
DEAR CONNIE: Without being there, I’m willing to wager that you saw ice and water shield being installed. It’s an amazing roofing product that was introduced in the 1980’s and has quickly become the gold standard for creating leak-free roofs in all climates.
Felt Paper Limitations
Roofing ice and water shield may look like traditional felt paper, but it’s vastly different in performance. Traditional felt paper does a very good job at stopping most leaks where water gets under shingles, tiles, metal or slate. It does this by not allowing the water to come in contact with the wood beneath the actual roofing material.
It relies on gravity to do this. Water that might blow under roofing hits the felt paper and travels under the roofing towards the ground.
If the felt paper was installed right, so each higher row overlaps the row below, the water can't get to the wood roof sheathing.
The overlapping seams of the felt paper can't protect against water that flows BACKWARDS up the roof.
But felt paper has problems where it overlaps the sheet below and where the nails penetrate the felt. If water backs up under the roof as happens with ice damming, water can flow up and under the lap joints of felt paper.
Where the nails used to attach the roofing materials penetrate felt paper, the actual hole created by the nail is not sealed where it passes through the felt paper. Water can get under the head of the nail and seep down the shaft of the nail where it passes through the felt paper. When this happens, you get leaks into your home.
Peel 'n Stick
The ice and water shield roofing material is made with a rubberized asphalt mixture that solves these problems. Because the product has a very sticky backing, it not only adheres well to the wood roofing sheathing, but it also sticks well to the layer below when you overlap the pieces.
The stickiness of the ice and water shields comes from a SBS co-polymer that's added to the asphalt. When the air temperature is above 60 F and the sun is shining on the ice and water shield product, it's extremely sticky. You'll have an impossible time pulling it off of anything it touches.
Seals Nail Shafts
When nails penetrate the ice and water shield on the roof, the rubberized nature of the material creates a gasket effect on the shaft of the nail. Leaks simply don’t happen. But not all ice and water shield products offer this!!
The one I used on my own home has this feature and it really works. It's Grace Ice and Water Shield®.
Ice and water shield products are hidden by the finished roofing materials. Not only does ice and water shield installation stop leaks caused by ice dams, but it also stops leaks created by fierce wind-driven rain.
If you live in an area that’s frequented by hurricanes or severe thunderstorms that can drive rain sideways, then you need this material. These storms can easily push water under many finished roofing materials.
Cover the Entire Roof
You can cover the entire roof with the ice and water shield, but in many instances it’s applied where leaks frequently happen. For ice damming situations, you may want the product to extend up from the edge of the roof at least 3 feet. If the roof has a low slope, you absolutely want to extend the barrier product up the roof quite a distance. I would also apply it in any valleys you may have where two roof planes intersect.
Use Around Skylights & Flashings
This pliable material is perfect to use around skylights, chimneys, plumbing vents, ventilation caps, or anything that penetrates up through a roof. The roofer laps the material up onto the object and cuts it at corners or curves in a special way to create a leak-proof barrier. Traditional roof flashings then cover this sub-flashing made from the shield product.
Only Apply to Wood Sheathing
If you’re re-roofing, you can use this product. But you can’t apply it on top of the old shingles. You must apply this product as indicated by the manufacturer. Typically you’ll discover that you must apply the material directly to the wood roof sheathing that’s under the shingles and any old felt paper.
Work in Shade
Working with ice and water shield can be challenging, especially in warm or hot weather. In these conditions, the back of the material is very sticky. If you start to unroll it and you’re not aligned correctly, you can install it crooked. If you try to straighten it out, you’ll almost always get a wrinkle.
Be prepared for a slight learning curve when using the material for the first time. If you’re not astute at how it should be installed, by all means read all the tips from the manufacturer and watch any videos they may have about how to best handle the material.
If you’re working on a steep roof, you need to be very careful. Wear all required fall-protection equipment and watch out when stepping on the material if it’s damp, frosty or cold. It can be very slippery. Falling from a roof can really ruin your day. I know, as it’s happened to me on more than one occasion.
Ice and Water Shield VIDEOS: