What are Ice and Water Shields, and How They Work on Your Roof

Roof Ice And Water Shields

When it comes time to replace your roof, you can have complete control over the roofing materials and designs your contractors use within your new roofing system. One element we strongly recommend adding to your home is an ice and water shield.

Ice and water shields are roof underlayments that roofers can install during the roof replacement process. These underlayments provide extra protection against moisture and ice dams, which could help your roof last longer and prevent expensive, annoying leaks.

Read on to learn more about ice shields and how they work on your roof.

If you’re thinking about replacing your roof, contact Nelson Contracting to request your free estimate! We service Lincoln, Omaha and all surrounding cities.

What Is an Ice and Water Shield?

Ice And Water Shield Underlayment

An ice and water shield is a special roof underlayment that provides superior protection against water and ice. This underlayment consists of a self-adhesive modified bitumen material that creates a firm seal around the shingles and the nails in the roof decking. As a result, no water or ice can seep between the shingles and the decking or leak into the attic.

Roofing underlayments go between the shingles and the roof decking, acting as a barrier against external elements. As a result, the best time to install an ice and water shield is during a roof replacement. Otherwise, the contractors would need to remove your existing shingles, lay the shield, then replace them.

How Do Ice and Water Shields Work?

Ice and water shields prevent water from seeping into the most vulnerable areas of your roof. While you can install this underlayment throughout your entire roofing system, many homeowners choose to apply it in areas prone to ice dams and leaks, such as:

  • Eaves
  • Overhangs
  • Valleys
  • Chimneys
  • Vent stacks
  • Skylights
  • Dormers

These underlayments are self-adhesive and very sticky. Roofing contractors can cut them to size, then apply them directly to the roof decking. The material is self-sealing, creating a tight, waterproof bond between the underlayment and the roof decking.

Ice and water shields naturally seal around the nails and the roof decking. When left untreated, nail holes can become a source of water leaks, as moisture can seep around the holes and through the roof decking. However, an ice and water shield can provide superior leak protection in these areas.

The top sides of these underlayments are rubbery and grippy, creating an excellent foundation on which to lay the roof shingles.

What Do Ice and Water Shields Protect Against?

Ice Dam Water Shields

As their names imply, ice and water shields protect your roof against ice and water. However, these underlayments are especially helpful in securing your roof against ice dams and wind-driven rain.

Ice Dams

Ice dams are ice formations that often occur in the winter months. When water or snow sits on your roof for several days, it will typically begin to melt and run down to the bottom edge of the roof during the day, then refreeze when temperatures drop at night. This process can cause ice dams to accumulate in the soffit area of the roof, damaging the roofing structure.

However, ice and water shields can prevent ice dams from forming, helping your roof remain protective and durable in the winter months.

Wind-Driven Rain

When rain pelts your roof, it typically slides down the roofing slope and into the gutters, which carry the water down the side of the house and onto the ground. However, wind-driven rain presents a different challenge to roofing structures.

Combining strong winds and heavy rains can cause water to flow beneath your shingles, increasing the chances of it seeping through the roof decking and into your home. Wind-driven rain can also assist the formation of ice dams in the colder months, which can damage your roofing structure.

Many insurance policies do not provide coverage for damage from wind-driven rain. As a result, your best course of action is to install an ice and water shield to prevent this damage altogether.

If you’re considering installing an ice and water shield during your roof replacement, we can help. At Nelson Contracting, our team has plenty of experience installing these underlayments during the roofing process. Contact us today at 402-464-2418 to learn more about ice and water shields or schedule a roof estimate in Lincoln or Omaha, NE.

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