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Ice & Water Shield: How This Simple Waterproofing Layer Can Protect Your Family Home!

Ice & Water Shield: How It Can Protect Your Family Home!

Ice & Water Shield: How This Simple Waterproofing Layer Can Protect Your Family Home!

Your roof is designed to help keep your home protected from severe Florida weather. However, heavy & violent storms and wind-driven rain can cause significant damage to your roof. 

How will you ensure your home stays as dry and leak-free as possible in the event of damage? Protect it with an ice & water shield. This is one of the most critical components of your roof, but you never see it and have probably never heard of it. 

Read on to learn what this shield is and why you need it. 

What is Ice and Water Shield?

An ice and water shield is a fully-adhered roof underlayment membrane designed for installation underneath a shingle, metal, or tile roof. Ice and water shields are waterproof & are typically made with polymer-modified bitumen (also known as asphalt). 

The primary purpose of an ice and water shield is to protect vulnerable areas of the roof from ice and water damage. The underlayment provides a secondary layer of protection should the roof covering experience damage.

The surface of the underlayment is self-adhesive, which means that it sticks very well to your roof deck, forming watertight side laps and end laps when properly applied. 

This layer ensures a watertight bond that won’t be affected by strong wind or the pressure of snow and ice. The lack of staples or button cap nails also helps remove the possibility of water infiltration through an errant hole.

Ice and water shield is also self-healing, which means that when your roofer nails the shingles or metal panels on top of it, the underlayment seals around each nail penetration when the roofing material is applied. This gives your roof superior protection against leaks when harsh weather conditions force ice or water underneath the shingles. The self-adhesive and self-healing properties are especially useful if the roof has a low pitch, which allows water and ice to loiter and accumulate.

Should You Cover the Entire Roof with Ice and Water Shield?

If the ice and water shield waterproofs your roof, installing it over the entire roof makes sense, right? Not necessarily. 

In most cases, ice and water protectors cover vulnerable areas. These areas tend to be:


  • Along chimneys and vent stacks
  • Around every pipe 
  • On eaves, overhangs, valleys, and rake edges 
  • Along features that penetrate the roof deck, like skylights and dormers
  • In areas with low pitches, between 2:12 and 4:12


With these areas covered, you can prevent water infiltration without spending more money than necessary.

In areas of the country with very heavy snow, high wind conditions, or severe wind-driven rains covering the entire roof with an ice and water shield may be necessary to prevent extreme damage after shingles are blown off the roof. 

But because the modified bitumen back surface is continuous, the membrane will create a vapor barrier that will keep the roof decking from being able to breathe. This can, in turn, cause condensation and water damage.

Should you and your roofing contractor decide to cover the entire roof with an ice and water shield, it’s even more important to consider proper roof ventilation.

How Can This Waterproofing Layer Protect Your Home?

When water gets under your roof covering, your roof will spring a leak if it doesn’t have a moisture barrier. Here are some of the ways that can happen:

Ice Damming

Ice dams are a serious issue for homeowners in the winter season in colder climates. They form when the snow melts on a warmer part of the roof, then flows down toward the overhanging eave structure, where it refreezes into ice. 

Ice and water shield creates a watertight barrier that won’t allow water infiltration to take place. And if water backs up under the shingles or tiles, it will stay on the surface of the ice and water protector and then run off your roof.

Water Damage

While ice is not generally a problem for most Florida homeowners, water damage can be. Problems with gutters or penetrations from storm damage to the roof can cause significant water damage if the roof is not protected by some sort of waterproof barrier. Basic underlayment that goes beneath the shingles is a protective layer, but it is not waterproof. When major storms hit, ice & water shield is what you want to protect the wooden decking under your shingles so that water damage does not occur. 

Wind-Driven Rains

Intense storms can often bring hurricanes and tornadoes, which can push rainwater beneath the roof covering. Strong winds may also lift shingles, exposing the roof deck to rainwater. 

In such situations, an underlayment that is fully adhered to the roof decking dramatically reduces the chance of rainwater damaging the wooden parts of your roof and leaking into your home. Instead, the membrane will guide water toward the gutter.

How Does Ice and Water Shield Affect Your Roof Warranties?

Typically, most roofing warranties only provide coverage if certain accessories are used in your roof installation. Using an ice and water shield is a common warranty prerequisite for many roofing manufacturers. If your roof is installed without a shield, you may be looking at a voided warranty. 

An ice and water shield is crucial in maintaining your home’s structural integrity and longevity. You’ll want a trained and experienced roofing contractor to install it to ensure outstanding protection from ice and water damage. At Mark Kaufman Roofing, we offer quality roof repairs and full roof replacement services in North Port, FL. We use only the finest materials and stand behind our work. Contact us today to learn all we can offer you and your home.


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