Ice And Water Shield For Roofing – Guard Benefits And Barrier Problems

Here, we will be looking at ice and water shield, why it’s important to have one installed, and the problems that come with such units.

Roof Ice And Water Shield

When you think of a roof, your mind will most likely drift towards shingles and metal or rubber roof plates. However, there’s more to it than you think, and one vital component you have forgotten about is the ice and water shield.

So what exactly is the ice and water shield and what exactly does it do?

I’ll be telling you all you need to know in this article!

  • What Is Ice And Water Shield?

For those who don’t know, an ice and water shield (also known as ice and water barrier), is a waterproof membrane designed to guard your roof from damages caused by ice and water.

Its primary task is to protect the decking of your roof in a case where water seeps under your shingles or metal roof.

Ice and water shield is usually placed in crucial areas such as the roof valleys and around the penetrations.

Those who live in areas above the snow line in the US are required to have ice and water shields by the edges of their roofs. This will guard against leakages from ice dams in the event of a heavy snowstorm.

If you live in a region that experiences heavy snowstorms, then you are advised to install 2 rows of ice and water shield by the eaves and rakes of your roof.

  • Is Ice And Water Shield Necessary?

The answer to this question is relative. It all depends on the kind of roofing you have, and how frequent or heavy snow or rainfall is in your region.

If your roofing is made of regular asphalt shingles, then it is prone to brittleness during the winter season. Once it gets brittle, it can begin to crack under a little bit of pressure (maybe from ice dams or the weight of snow).

Once the cracks begin to form, spaces will be created for snow or ice melts to seep through. If this is the case for you, then an ice and water shield wouldn’t be a bad idea.

The same goes for those who live in regions with harsh weather conditions (either snow or rainfall). Just to be sure you don’t experience water leaks and damages after a storm.

With an ice & water shield roofing underlayment installed underneath your shingles, the interior of your home will be protected against leaks during heavy storms or when your shingles are broken.

As for those who live in areas with fair weather conditions, well, installing an ice and water shield may not be necessary. More so if you have rubber roofing.

In case you didn’t know, rubber roofing is among the best to guard against roof leaks. And those with this type of roofing may not see the need to install an ice and water shield.

Benefits Of Ice And Water Barrier

The major advantage of having an ice and water shield installed under your roofing is that it acts as a last line of defense against possible water leaks from your roof.

If your shingles or metal roofing sheets are compromised, the ice and water shield will hold the leaking water and prevent it from dropping into your home.

That being said, here are the main benefits of using an ice and water shield

  1. It seals very well

Thanks to the rubber-like nature of ice and water shields, they can seal very tightly around fasteners.

This helps create an airtight blockage which is impossible for water to seep through.

  1. It adheres well to decking

Another reason why ice and water shields are great is their adhesiveness to your roof’s decking. The amazing part is that it does this naturally, without the aid of heat or an extra adhesive.

  1. Watertight lapping

Once again, thanks to the rubber membrane of ice and water shield, all the laps in the seal create an airtight bond which water cannot pass through.

  1. It is re-roof able

The rubber-like nature of ice and water shield makes it usable over and over again. This means you can leave it above the decking even when re-roofing your home.

Problems With Roof Ice Guard

As beneficial as ice and water shields are, they come with their fair share of problems. These problems are mainly felt by roofing contractors who find the back of the shield too sticky during very hot weather conditions.

Unfortunately, the rubberized nature of the membrane that makes it so good at keeping out water is exactly what causes the stickiness when exposed to warm weather.

When the shield is unrolled in these conditions, it will not align the right way. It will also be wrinkled when you try to straighten it out.

How Much Does Ice Guard Roofing Cost?

There are different ice and water shield manufacturers and all their products vary in quality. This is why they can’t all be priced the same way.

However, I can provide you with some averages that will give you a fair idea of how much they cost.

Sand ice and water shield costs around $50 per row of material, at 3 ft. X 33 ft.

A smooth ice and water shield will cost you around $100 per sq. Ft.

High heat ice and water shields cost slightly more, it goes for about $125 per sq.

As I have mentioned earlier, prices of ice and water shields will vary by quality and manufacturer. But the figures I have provided will give you a fair idea of what you can expect to spend when you reach the market.

You can also do a quick Google search to check out retail prices and compare.


In an event where your shingles or metal roofing plates give in, ice and water shields can act as the last line of defense. Their rubber-like nature makes them great at adhering to your decking and keeping water out.

They are also re-usable in a case where you want to change your roof.

If you live in an area that is prone to heavy rains, then you should consider installing ice and water shields today!

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