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Cincinnati area residents often ask the professionals at Roofing Annex, “Do I need ice & water shield on my roof?”  They inquire for two reasons; for one it’s another expense on their estimate and secondly, it probably wasn’t on their current roof that’s being replaced. It’s an unknown product for many homeowners. Ice & water shield is a waterproof leak barrier that helps protect a home from wind-driven rain and damaging ice dams.

Because ice & water shield has only been around since the 1980s it has taken a while for it to be required in Hamilton County. It’s only been a code requirement to have this special barrier applied since 2013. Since it’s now a MUST, ice & water shield will be on every estimate from a reputable roofing contractor. Even before it was a mandate, Roofing Annex applied ice & water shield, out-of-pocket, to its customers. It is a part of a complete roofing system under most shingle manufacturer guidelines.

As a GAF Master Elite Contractor, Owens Corning Preferred Contractor, and CertainTeed Select Shingle Master, Roofing Annex has always sought to build the best roofing systems with the best products available. This is a stark contrast to many contractors and roofers who avoided giving their clients a solid roofing system by excluding ice & water shield to save money and time. Many of these contractors will do ice & water shield as a “special addition” and implement high charges.

A closer look at the components of a roofing system. That black material that goes on after the raw wood decking is the ice & water shield.

CLICK TO SEE a closer look at the components of a roofing system. The black material that goes on after the raw wood decking is the ice & water shield.

So what is ice & water shield?

Let’s turn to pro Tim Carter at Ask The Builder.com for the laymen terms…

Roofing ice & water shield may look like traditional felt paper, but it’s vastly different in performance. Traditional felt paper does a very good job at stopping most leaks where water gets under shingles, tiles, metal or slate. It does this by not allowing the water to come in contact with the wood beneath the actual roofing material.

You can cover the entire roof with the ice and water shield, but in many instances it’s applied where leaks frequently happen. For ice damming situations, you may want the product to extend up from the edge of the roof at least 3 feet.

You can learn more about the benefits and workings of ice & water shield here.

Watch a Video on Ice & Water Shield Video

What are the best ice & water shield products?

The best answer is typically the product that is in the family of roofing system products made by the chosen shingle manufacturer. When it comes to the Cincinnati area, Roofing Annex trusts GAF’s ice & water shield products above all others for their durability. StormGuard® and WeatherWatch® are fantastic choices because they can be exposed for 2 months and hold up. That is especially reassuring in winter months that start off with storms that bring high winds and snow pack to hide any wind damage. The Cincinnati area also receives multiple thunderstorms that drive rain at speeds in exceeds of 60 MPH several times a year. GAF’s ice & water shield will stand up to these stresses better than any other.


If you have more questions about ice & water shield and would like us to inspect your roof for signs of damage, or you’d like ice & water shield put on your roof, call us at 513.685.9092


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