Ice and water barrier is a self adhering rubberized membrane that protects your roof from leaking due to excessive water conditions. These conditions occur during wind driven rain and even more so during water back from ice dams (our previous post discusses ice damming).
There are several areas of your roof especially susceptible to the water penetration that ice and water barrier will serve to prevent. The entire perimeter of your roof near the eaves is the most obvious during the winter when you can sometimes see the ice dams from the ground. Other areas you may not think about skylights, chimneys, and all the “channels” where roof lines merge.
Although water is highly compliant to the laws of gravity, wind and water back from ice dams cause water to move up, more accurately, under. Roofing nails are covered so downward moving water never reaches them. Since the nails used to secure your roofing shingles also poke holes, this creates ripe conditions for leaks whenever water moves backward.
This is why the self sealing rubberized character of ice and water barrier protects you. It seals around the nails and seals tight between the wood and shingling of your roof. It is an absolute must for Michigan weather, so much so that it is required by Michigan code.
As you can easily guess by now, code is not always followed by everyone calling themselves a roofer, and the guys trying to make a fast buck aren’t going to protect your home with the same concern you have for staying dry and leak free. Michigan hands out its fair share of harsh conditions. You need a roofer that doesn’t shave costs on ice and water barrier.