What is Ice & Water Shield?

An ice and water shield being professionally installed on a residential roof in Davenport, IA.

What is Ice & Water Shield?

Ice & Water Shield is a remarkable innovation in the roofing sector over the past three decades that has revolutionized leak protection. This cutting-edge product, offered by Mainstream Home Improvement, is far from your typical roofing material. Comprising a polymer-modified bitumen, it possesses unique attributes that elevate its status to an indispensable element within any high-performance roofing system. In this blog, we delve deeper into the secrets behind this exceptional roofing solution, shedding light on its essential role in safeguarding your Davenport, IA home from the elements.

What is Ice & Water Shield Used For?

Ice & water shield serves as a protective shield for the roof’s most vulnerable areas, susceptible to water infiltration caused by factors like wind-driven rain or the formation of ice dams. What sets this material apart is its remarkable ability to establish a waterproof seal around any fasteners that pierce it. Consequently, during the installation of subsequent roofing layers, such as starter strips and shingles, the nails can penetrate the underlying ice & water barrier without opening a path for water to seep beneath the roofing system and into the roof decking or attic space. This unique characteristic has led professional roofing companies to incorporate ice & water shields into every project as a standard practice. In many states, building codes mandate the use of ice & water shields, underlining its necessity in ensuring superior roof protection and compliance with regulations.

When and Where Should You Install Ice & Water Shield?

A GAF ice and water shield applied to a home’s roof in Davenport, IA.

In colder or harsh-weather regions, the installation of ice & water roofing material is often a requirement. Roof leaks commonly occur due to the formation of ice dams, which result from inadequate roof ventilation. When snow melts at the roof’s peak and refreezes at the gutter line, ice dams form, causing water to pool behind them. This water seeks the path of least resistance, typically infiltrating the roofing system through the shingle sealant and nail holes if ice & water shield (IWS) is not present as the underlying layer. IWS is also routinely installed in roof valleys, where two slopes meet, creating a concave joint. These areas are prone to high water flow during inclement weather. If the shingle seal between slopes fails, the ice & water shield becomes crucial in preventing leaks. Knowledgeable roofers extend this underlayment’s use around pipe jacks, behind metal flashing, and at any “break” in the otherwise seamless roof slopes.

Where Should an Ice & Water Roof Shield Not Be Installed?

While extolling the numerous advantages of Ice & Water Shield (IWS), it’s not uncommon for customers to wonder why it shouldn’t blanket the entire roof decking. This question raises an essential consideration known as permeability. Occasionally, moisture can accumulate in the attic space and find its way into the roof decking, necessitating an avenue for escape. However, IWS is non-permeable, meaning it doesn’t allow moisture to pass through. Consequently, any trapped moisture could potentially lead to wood decking rot. To address this, roofing experts recommend alternative underlayment materials in areas where roof leaks are less likely to occur. These alternatives offer permeability, allowing moisture to pass through and preventing the risk of moisture-related damage to the wood decking. So, while IWS is indispensable for critical leak-prone zones, a balanced approach ensures the entire roofing system remains protected and moisture-free.

How Much Ice & Water Shield Should Be Installed?

An aerial view of a GAF ice and water shield being installed on a residential roof in Davenport, IA.

Residential building codes and manufacturer’s installation guidelines typically mandate the installation of an ice & water barrier 24 inches inside the building’s “warm wall.” Roof water and ice shields typically come in 3-foot-wide rolls, making it necessary for most homes to have one or two “rows” of this material along their eaves, along with one row in their valleys. The decision between one or two courses along the eaves depends on factors such as the soffit overhang length and the roof’s pitch. Accurate calculations are crucial, as less experienced contractors may mistakenly install only one course, failing to meet the 24-inch rule. At Mainstream Home Improvement, our expert roofers ensure a precise installation, meeting all requirements. When you choose us, you can trust in the correct application of these shields, along with fair and accurate quotes for both labor and materials. Our dedicated team guarantees your satisfaction with every project.

WeatherWatch® Ice & Water Leak Barrier

At Mainstream Home Improvement, we are an experienced team of expert roofers. The product we recommend most highly is WeatherWatch® Ice & Water Leak Barrier. It is a self-sealing protection for vulnerable areas of your roof and helps safeguard against wind-driven rain and ice dams. WeatherWatch® Mineral-Surfaced Leak Barrier is a key part of the GAF Lifetime Roofing System, meaning it is eligible for a lifetime limited warranty when used on Lifetime Shingle roofs, and it’s an eligible component of GAF residential enhanced warranties. By creating a barrier at the most vulnerable areas of your asphalt shingle (at the eaves and rakes, in valleys, & around chimneys), WeatherWatch® Mineral-Surfaced Leak Barrier helps prevent leaks caused by water backing up in your gutters, wind-driven rain, and damaging ice dams. It will also help protect your home from expensive leaks in the walls and ceiling, which cause stains. You can rely on Mainstream Home Improvement for this quality product that provides strong protection, code compliance, risk reduction, convenience, fiberglass-reinforced materials, and dependable results built to last. Contact us to get started on your roofing project and experience the peace of mind that comes with working with our dedicated professionals.

Contact Mainstream Home Improvement Today!

Ice & Water Shields are the unsung heroes of roofing, providing invaluable protection against the elements. Here at Mainstream Home Improvement in Davenport, IA, we understand the critical role these barriers play in safeguarding your home. Our team of experts is committed to ensuring the proper installation of ice and water shields, adhering to industry standards and building codes. If you’re a homeowner in need of roofing solutions that stand the test of time, don’t hesitate to reach out to our dedicated professionals today. Your peace of mind is our priority, and with Mainstream Home Improvement, you can trust that your roofing needs are in capable hands. Call 309.762.6244 now to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward a safer, more secure home.

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