Ice and Water Shield

Ice and water shield is installed wrong probably half the time it is used on a roof.

Ice shield, or ice guard, is one option for preventing the leaks caused by ice dams if it is installed correctly. It does not prevent or reduce the formation of ice dams.

If you happen to live in the northern snowy climates, you may have dealt with ice dams on the edge of your roof and the leaks they cause.  Ice dams are caused by a variety of issues including lack of or poorly installed insulation, ventilation, poor roof design, etc.   But, sometimes it is simply not economical for a homeowner to take all the necessary steps needed to prevent ice dams.  

Ice and water shield membrane is one option for preventing the leaks caused by ice dams. Again, it does not prevent the ice dam. It is meant to seal the lower edge of the roof, gaps, penetrations, nails etc, and keep the water pooling behind the ice dam from finding a way into the house.

For proper ice shield installation;

Remove all the old roofing materials. Shingles, flashings, roofing nails, old tarpaper.

Repair damaged wood if necessary.

Clean dust and debris from roof deck and fascia/gutter board.

Make sure any peeling paint on the gutter board is scraped off.

Gutters will need to be removed so the ice shield can be installed directly to the fascia board. Most times the gutter nails or brackets can be removed a few at a time and the membrane inserted behind the gutter. If the gutters are copper and have soldered joints this can be a cost saving alternative to taking the gutters apart and re assembling.

Install the membrane directly to the wood decking and drape it over the edge of the roof a couple inches and adhere to the fascia.

Pay special attention to roof intersections, or valleys. Install a small piece of membrane at the valley bottom and then run the ice shield past the valley from both directions. Cutting the overhanging material to fold over the gutter board.

Try to lay membrane without wrinkles or air bubbles. It’s easier to work with when you have two people.These membranes are very sticky, especially in hot weather, and will try to stick everywhere but where you want it.

Install the ice shield at least 24” up the roof past the exterior wall of the house.

If you are not able to address the root cause of your ice dam problem, properly installed ice and water shield will help to prevent ice dam leaks.  Visit for more in depth information on roofing for your old house.

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