Ice Shields

Homeowners in many areas of the country have to deal with inclement winter weather and its effects on their homes’ roofs, but many living near coastal areas have to contend with the additional threat of strong storms and hurricanes. These types of weather events are usually accompanied by fierce winds that drive rain sideways, causing it to get under roofing materials. During a roof installation, the standard measures taken to prevent water from getting past the shingles and into the house are the use of a felt or tar paper underlayment and flashing. A waterproof ice shield offers extra protection from leaks caused by snow buildup, ice dams and wind-driven rain.

Ice shields, or ice dam protection membranes, aren’t used in place of tar paper but as an additional layer beneath the roofing paper. Because of the way they are installed, it is critical that a qualified Middletown roofing expert handle the job. Unlike other underlayments, ice shields come with adhesive. The fact that it’s sticky and adheres well to the deck and to itself at any overlapping seams partly explains why it does such a good job of keeping water out.

That stickiness, however, is the reason its installation should be left to contractors who have experience handling this material. They will also be familiar with the different brands and their prices, and they’ll be able to offer an informed opinion on the advantages and disadvantages of each. It’s important to note that even though these products are called ice dam protection, their principal purpose is to keep damaging moisture out of a home’s interior, not prevent ice dams from forming. A roofer familiar with the factors that contribute to excessive ice dam formation, such as inadequate attic ventilation, should address those issues.

Ice shields are thicker than regular roofing paper; they are made using polymer-modified bitumen or rubberized asphalt, which are pliable and waterproof materials, so they can stop even small water flows that occur at seams, tar paper overlaps, and nail and fastener holes. An ice shield is typically applied anywhere from 2 to 6 feet upslope from the eaves, the part of the roof most susceptible to ice dams and the water seepage that comes with them.

It is also commonly applied at valleys and as an added barrier anywhere flashing would be used, such as vent pipe flanges, chimneys, edges, joints and skylights. It isn’t necessary that the entire roof be covered with the ice shield, but some homeowners prefer the additional coverage. Have a question regarding skylight installations or roof repairs? Ask a roofing professional from Fortified Roofing of Middletown NJ.

Term explained by roofing contractor Fortified Roofing, Middletown NJ:


Roof valleys are formed wherever one sloping roof plane meets another plane, or the house’s structure, at an angle. Valleys are often created when sections of the roof over different parts of the house intersect at different heights or at 90 degree angles. Valleys are critical water runoff points and are prone to leaks if not properly protected.

Middletown roofing company Fortified Roofing answers a question:

Can an ice shield be applied over existing shingles?

Ice shields need to be applied over the wooden roof deck, which means they can’t be laid down during a re-roofing where new shingles are going on over old shingles without a roof tear-off. If a membrane wasn’t applied during the house’s initial construction, unfortunately, the homeowner will have to wait until such a time as a new roof is needed and the existing roof and felt underlayment are removed.

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