What is Ice and Water Shield?

Your contract with your roofer might include something called Ice and Water Shield. Don’t be fooled by the name. It is not a magic potion that prevents icicles from forming on your roof. Nor does it prevent ice buildup in your gutters. It does not melt icicles in your gutter or prevent water from draining into your gutters.

But, it is your best preventative against ice backup or ice damming and is now code in most municipalities and governing bodies.

Ice and Water Shield is a self-adhered asphalt underlayment that seals the nails that penetrate the roof deck. It is basically hot tar on a roll which is applied on the roof deck and is installed after the roof is torn off. Your roofer will apply it from the gutter edge up the roof deck two feet past your outer wall. However, it is not applied on the entire roof because your roof needs to breathe.

You should be concerned if you don’t see it on your contract. Ask your roofing contractor if you don’t see it. He may tell you that since it is code, he doesn’t add it to the contract. Be sure, however, to tell him that you know Ice and Water Shield is important to your roof and you want it installed.

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