Ice belt, wtf?


When faced with a five layer tear off, we scorn the previous roofers for their poor craftsmanship, and yet that is just the sort of mess we perpetuate by running ice membrane all over the place.

Ice belt was originally a band-aid solution to a problem concerning insulation and ventilation. When I hear someone blame a non-ice dam leak on missing ice belt, I have to wonder if they know which side of the shingle the water belongs on.

Today’s roofers will swear up and down that laminated shingles are superior, but when we were running three-tabs, we didn’t need to waterproof the deck before we started shingling, and customers back then didn’t pay for leaks either.

Do we not care about the next guy (our fellow roofers, btw), who have to deal with stripping half glued down shingles from that gooey mess? Should they glue down another layer, then another? What about the customer, who’s roofing bill has doubled as a result? Did the art of the weave die with the hatchet, or do we think we’re the last ones that will ever have to work on that place?

Bring it on boys :twisted: school’s in session!



We will be replacing a lot of plywood because of ice and water barrier.

Reroofing will get real expensive.

Putting metal roofing or a second layer will get to be common.


I have already ripped of a ton of roofs with I&W shield…it sucks but what can you do …It is now code to have it…Also like lefty said it is easier to just rip plywood off and replace it rather than to clean off…
These were roofs that were improper installs…and less than 6 yrs old…


You have to take into consideration too that shingles are not the same today as 20 yrs ago…I have ripped up plenty of roofs that had no underlayment at all,and no rotten sheets,18-20 yrs. old…also had a few that the old shingles were fine 15-20 yrs old, but they wanted it replaced…The old roof was in better shape then most roofs that I’ve seen only 5 yrs. old…So what does that say for shingle quality today…If they made them to last too long,eventually they will have no demand…


Two questions-
what about tearing off gingerly over water and ice and re-using? Too risky maybe?

What about double layer water and ice over top of old? I know certainteed approves this method if certain guidelines are followed


Good post WB. I agree.



I would put a second layer on. If the shingles came off.

I have found that the shingles are imbedded in the Storm Guard. So it is just easier and cost effective to put new plywood down. Cut through the shingles and plywood and tear them both up at the same time.


I only install 50 year shingles and tell the customer they can hope to get 30 years out of them. Underlay will have no effect on that.


Last few years we’ve been running into more and more of those, replacing the plywood is the best way to deal with it after the fact. I try and look out for the next roofer, it could be me again :). After all you never know when a storm could hit and the customer is most likely to call back his last roofer for a new roof or repairs. I lay the I&W to the deck with a curl over the bottom onto the fascia then felt on top of that before the shingles so they don’t actually weld to the I&W but you still have the same protection.


Wow, I’m surprised.

I was expecting to hear the “extra protectionâ€Â


So who pushes thru a code change like this?
Is it the Mfg?


So I just asked in another post if it is good to have I&W and from what I seen from most of the replys was that I should use it? But now reading all of this makes me wonder if I still should?

Now I am the home owner so I should want it because I am the one who does not have to take it off later…?


Hi Ctech,

We do the work.

You will pay the bill. So it is important what you decide.


I&W itself isn’t a bad thing, it can save you a lot of problems especially if you live in a region that ice dams are a common occurence. I’ve gone back and repaired storm damage on roofs I had done with I&W and had no problem with the tear off, felt doesn’t bond with I&W the way shingles do.

In my opinion it’s just a matter of application, if you don’t take the time to add that extra layer of felt the next roofer is going to be using some not so nice names to describe the previous one. The homeowner will probably repeat some of them himself when he learns of the extra expense of replacing good decking because you can’t break the shingles free without even more cost in labor.

Since it’s a fairly new product and the problem is only recently coming to light it probably won’t be addressed by the manufacturers till they recieve enough complaints.

One other reason I put felt over it is I hate trying to move around on that stuff in the middle of summer.


[quote=“Lefty”]Hi Ctech,

We do the work.

You will pay the bill. So it is important what you decide.[/quote]

As much as it is in my nature to argue, I have to concur with this point. Good one Lefty :wink:

Ctech, All I can tell you is that if your roofer needs to goop the deck to keep the rain out, he might not be the best roofer. Of course, you might get more ice buildup in Georgia than I imagine, which would prove that statement wrong. Now that you know the other side of the ice belt story, particularly its effect on future costs and thus the economy as a whole, you have to decide if it’s worth the couple of extra years you might (or might not) get out of a shingle system


Well, in the Ice Belt where we sometimes see 17" to 24" and lots of ice dams, which is more important? Installation or I&W? Here’s some food for thought.

This valley was about 40 years old and I used a marker to highlight how the shingle tops had been cut. They were cut paralell to the rafters like they;re supposed to be. Notice the water/rust tracks down the center. No hemmed edges either.
What’s so ‘unusual’ about this? Especially to all that embrace the new and improved methods of today?
This metal is 12" wide and it has never leaked. There was NO underlay behind the valley on this shingle roof. None. No I&W. Just a correct, open valley installation.
My goodness! :twisted: Does this mean that a proper installation also works? Could it be that correct installation is just plain outdated and all the miracle cures are better? Even though, and maybe because they caost more? What a thought!
That’s just plain sick and old fashioned.


Hi Ctech,

I reread your post. Now I see what you meant about you not having to take it off.

You meant should I screw the next owner of the home.


We just had 4+ inches of snow this past weekend where I live in GA (rare) but it helped me make up my mind to pay extra for the I&W. It’s just that I seen the topic and started thinking. I guess I am using a 30 year shingle so it will be a long time before I have to worry about it anyway.


Hi Ctech,

4" of snow is not enough to create an ice dam.

You are making a desicion on something with a very limited amount of information.


didn’t notice your location before, in GA I seriously doubt if Ice dams will ever be a problem lol.


can’t see your pic but I’m curious, did that valley regularly see ice dams? The reason I ask is I’ve seen a lot of roofs with valleys as you describe with one side of the roof the decking looks like new and having to replace much of it on the opposite side. From what I’ve seen the NE side of the roof tends to see the most problems.

The only reason Ice dams are a problem is they don’t allow meltwater to drain off the roof as it should, the water backs up till it can find a place to drain, it has to go somewhere. The only sure way I know to avoid trouble with them is to clear enough snow away so that it can drain before it starts to melt. I&W doesn’t prevent the problem and if the dam backs up further then the I&W it doesn’t help at all, it just leaks down higher up on the roof.

I do agree a proper installation will eliminate most trouble, I see I&W as just another tool to help prevent problems. Since it’s required in most places now using it in a way that won’t make us miserable later seems like a good idea.