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Ice and Water Barriers for Your Roof

Posted on Thursday, September 1st, 2022 at 12:51 pm    

It’s never too early to start thinking about ways to protect your home from snow, ice, and water. Your roof is the largest barrier against the elements. Come rain or shine, your roof stands against inclement weather conditions and keeps you and your family safe. Before bad weather sets in, consider taking proactive steps to protect your roof and your family from the damage caused by ice and water.

What Is an Ice and Water Barrier?

An ice and water barrier is a thin, self-adhering membrane. The membrane is waterproof and made of polymer-modified bitumen. Once applied to a roof, it helps protect vulnerable areas of a roof from leaking during rainy conditions or when ice begins to melt.

An ice and water barrier does not need to cover the entire roof. Generally, a roofer will identify the areas vulnerable to leaks and water damage and cover those portions with the self-adhesive barrier material. The areas of a roof most at risk of developing leaks and water damage include the roof perimeter, spaces near eaves, areas surrounding skylights and chimneys, and the channels where roof lines merge.

How Does an Ice and Water Barrier Work?

Ice dams are one common cause for concern. Ice dams occur when snow collects on a roof and then begins to melt. The melting snow flows down the roof. As it reaches the eaves, it can refreeze and create a wall of ice. When additional snow melts from the top of the roof, the moisture runs down the roof and eventually hits the ice dam causing the water to pool behind the dam and potentially run up and under the roofing nails used to hold shingles in place. This cycle can eventually cause moisture to build up, resulting in leaks and problems with mold.

Ice and water barriers are made of self-sealing rubber or polymer. Once the protective backing of the product is peeled away, the material sticks to the roof and forms a seal around nails and joints where water could potentially leak through and cause damage. The waterproof membrane creates a barrier not only against water but also against ice, heavy rain, and windstorms.

How Are Ice and Water Barriers Installed?

An ice and water barrier is installed directly onto the roof deck. Ideally, these self-adhesive waterproof barriers are applied to a roof before any other underlayment. This treatment ensures the barrier can securely adhere to all areas of the roof that are vulnerable to water damage. An ice and water barrier should also be applied before flashing around features like chimneys and vents. Since the back of the material is covered with adhesive, there is no need to use permanent fasteners when installing an ice and water barrier.

Once the ice and water barrier is in place, roofers can move on to installing the other portions of a roof, including shingles.

What to Know About Installing an Ice and Water Barrier

Ice and water barriers can prevent potentially catastrophic leaks and water damage. However, before you cover your entire roof in the material, consult with an experienced roofer. While ice and water barriers should be used in areas of the roof susceptible to damage, covering an entire roof in the membrane can be potentially dangerous.

A roof covered in an ice and water and ice barrier may create a vapor barrier. This vapor barrier prevents your roof from “breathing,” resulting in a build-up of condensation. Condensation is moisture, and moisture creates water damage. Essentially, you could be causing leaks and water damage instead of preventing it if you put the ice and water barrier in the wrong place.

In some cases, it may be advantageous to cover an entire roof in ice and water barrier, especially if you live in an area with extreme winds. However, an experienced roofer will need to evaluate your situation and ensure that you have an adequate ventilation system in your attic to prevent condensation from forming.

Reach Out to Kidd Roofing Today

Concerned about leaks in your roof? An ice and water barrier may be your ticket to preventing water damage and dangerous mold growth. Contact Kidd Roofing for all your roofing services in Austin to discuss your concerns and let us help you decide if an ice and water barrier is the right option for your needs.

Request a roofing inspection and quote today by calling our office at (866) 882-7051. We want to help you get the most out of your roof.