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A roof contains many layers underneath the topmost shingle layer. One layer that acts as a protective structure is the roofing underlayment. This underlayment usually consists of an ice and water barrier that shields your home from water damage.

Given the regular snowfall in the region, an ice and water shield has become a required addition to roofs in Flagstaff, AZ. It’s also likely your roof needs multiple water shields to cover the roofing areas vulnerable to water damage.

ice and water shield roof protection

Read on to learn everything you should know about ice and water shields. You’ll soon understand why these structures are vital buffers for your home.

Looking for a top-rated roofing contractor in Flagstaff, AZ? Call Polaris Roofing Systems at (928)-699-4840 for a free estimate. Our professionals offer excellent workmanship at competitive pricing for both commercial and residential properties.

What Is an Ice and Water Shield?

An ice and water shield is a self-adhering, waterproof, and sheet-like membrane placed underneath roof shingles. Its design prevents water from seeping into the roof deck and leaking into the home. It also channels water away from the more exposed areas of the roof.

What Does an Ice and Water Shield Do?

ice and water shield roof

An ice and water shield has two main purposes. First, it prevents ice dams from forming along the roof’s perimeter in winter. For this reason, building code requires ice and water shields for homes in northern climates and in regions with cold winters.

An ice dam is especially worrisome as it forms once water refreezes on a roof’s edge. This ice block then prevents additional water from draining off the roof, making the water pool onto the roof. This pooling places heavy strain on the roof that can cause water to leak into the home.

An ice and water shield specifically wards off damage from:

  • Pooling rainwater
  • Melting snow
  • Ice formation
  • Wind-driven rain

An ice and water barrier also prevents high winds from driving precipitation underneath shingles. Because of a shield’s high adhesiveness, it’s essentially impervious to the wind. The shield then directs the wind-swept rain into the gutters to keep it away from the shingles and roof deck.

What Materials Make Up an Ice and Water Shield?

Ice and water shields consist of a material called polymer-modified bitumen (commonly known as asphalt). This material has an adhesive back surface that binds to the roof deck or other areas vulnerable to water seepage.

In particular, the asphalt allows the shield to seal itself around roofing nails. This watertight seal also forms a vapor barrier that prevents condensation buildup on the roof.

Where Is an Ice and Water Shield Installed?

Contractors most often place shields along the eaves to prevent water from pooling and forming ice dams. A contractor may also install shields along the valleys created by chimneys, vent pipes, and other roof protrusions. Less commonly, homeowners in cold or high-wind climates may choose to install a shield across the entire roof.

What Are the Types of Ice and Water Shields?

Ice and water shields come in three types based on their surface texture:

  • Granular/sand surface. This type is the thinnest version, but it still provides great protection. Roofers often apply granular shields to the valleys surrounding roof protrusions and uneven roof planes.
  • Smooth surface. Roofers typically install smooth shields to low-slope or low-pitch roofs. These roofs are at higher risk of collecting snow and ice.
  • High heat surface. This shield type works well with metal roofs as it consists of stretchy cotton fibers. These fibers accommodate a metal roof expanding and contracting in shifting temperatures.

Does My Roof Need an Ice and Water Shield?

Flagstaff’s building code requires roofs in the local jurisdiction to have ice and water shields. As Flagstaff residents know, the region has an active winter with regular snowfall and freezing temperatures. For this reason, homes in Flagstaff are vulnerable to ice dams, making water shields a must.

Trust the Pros at Polaris Roofing Systems

Polaris Roofing Systems has installed, repaired, and improved Flagstaff-area roofs for over 25 years. We’re happy to outfit your roof system with all the components it needs for top performance, including ice and water shields. Call our team at (928)-699-4840 to learn more about what we can do for your roof.

Justin Young

Justin Young

Justin young has been in the construction trade for nearly 25 years, focusing on insurance restoration and roofing. While attending Arizona State he worked in new construction custom homes until the opportunity came to get back into restoration and roofing. Roofing came full circle and Justin was promoted to General Manager of a local roofing company. As that progressed he ventured out on his own to start his own company, Polaris Roofing Systems. He prides himself on being on the cutting edge of roofing materials, applications and roof quality. Justin enjoys spending time with his 2 young children and wife. Justin prides himself, his company and continued growth on the people around him and the integrity for which it stands for.

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