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Why Building Codes Are Requiring Ice and Water Shield on Homes

Building codes are constantly evolving to keep up with new technologies and address changing weather patterns. One recent change that has been gaining traction is the requirement for ice and water shield on homes in certain areas.

What is Ice and Water Shield?

Ice and water shield is a self-adhering membrane that is installed on the roof deck under the shingles. It helps to prevent water from seeping under the shingles and into the roof deck, which can lead to damage and mold growth.

Why is Ice and Water Shield Important?

There are a few reasons why ice and water shield is becoming increasingly important:

  • Climate change: Climate change is leading to more frequent and severe weather events, including increased snowfall and ice dams. Ice dams can cause water to back up under the shingles and into the roof deck, leading to leaks and damage.
  • Improved building materials: Modern roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles, are less durable than older materials and are more susceptible to damage from water. Ice and water shield can help to protect these materials from water damage.
  • Mold growth: Mold can grow in damp environments, and a leaky roof can provide the perfect breeding ground for mold. Ice and water shield can help to prevent mold growth by keeping the roof deck dry.

Where is Ice and Water Shield Required?

The specific requirements for ice and water shield vary by location. In the United States, the International Residential Code (IRC) recommends the use of ice and water shield in areas where there is a history of ice forming along the eaves. However, many local building codes adopt the IRC and add their own amendments. These amendments can make ice and water shield mandatory in certain areas, even if it is not required by the IRC itself.

For example, in Michigan, the state building code requires ice and water shield to be installed at least 6 feet from the eaves or edge of the roof, and 3 feet from any inner walls. In Florida, the building code only requires ice and water shield to be installed around roof penetrations like skylights and chimneys.

How Has the Building Code Changed Since 2018?

The requirements for ice and water shield have been gradually increasing in recent years. In 2018, the IRC made some changes to its recommendations for ice and water shield. These changes included:

  • Requiring ice and water shield to be installed in all valleys, regardless of the slope of the roof.
  • Requiring ice and water shield to be installed up to 6 feet from the eaves in areas with a slope of less than 4:12.

These changes reflect the growing awareness of the importance of ice and water shield in protecting homes from damage.

What are the Benefits of Using Ice and Water Shield?

There are a number of benefits to using ice and water shield, including:

  • Reduced risk of leaks: Ice and water shield can help to prevent leaks by sealing the roof deck and preventing water from seeping under the shingles.
    Improved roof performance: Ice and water shield can help to extend the life of your roof by protecting it from water damage.
  • Reduced risk of mold growth: Ice and water shield can help to prevent mold growth by keeping the roof deck dry.
  • Peace of mind: Knowing that your roof is protected from ice and water damage can give you peace of mind.

If you are considering having a new roof installed or if you are concerned about the condition of your existing roof, I recommend talking to a qualified roofing contractor about whether ice and water shield is right for you.

Don’t Let the Winter Blues Chill Your Roof: Protect Your Home with Ice and Water Shield

Has the changing climate got you worried about ice dams and roof leaks? You’re not alone. With extreme weather events becoming more frequent, many building codes are evolving to prioritize long-lasting home protection. That’s where ice and water shield comes in.

This innovative membrane acts as a superhero for your roof, shielding it from water infiltration and the costly damage it can cause. Mold growth? Forget it! Ice dams? No way! Ice and water shield keeps your roof deck dry and your wallet happy.

But is it mandatory for you? Building codes vary by location, so knowing your zone’s specific requirements is key. Here in Edgewater, Maryland, ice and water shield is recommended, but its importance for peace of mind can’t be overstated.

Ready to upgrade your roof’s defense against the elements? At Vanguard General Contracting, we believe in proactive protection. Our expert team is certified in installing ice and water shield, ensuring your roof is ready to weather any storm.

Don’t wait for a leak to sound the alarm. Call Vanguard General Contracting today at 410-271-2980 for a free consultation and see how we can transform your roof into a fortress against water damage.

Invest in your home’s future – choose winter-proof resilience with Vanguard General Contracting. We build more than houses; we build confidence, one protected roof at a time.

Call us now and let’s shield your home from the winter blues!