Roofing, Siding, and Deck Blog Post

What Is Ice And Water Shield

Drip Edge Install

Ice and Water Shield

Ice and Water Shield or Weather Watch is a premium leak barrier, rubberized membrane that is used as part of a roofing system to provide a 100% watertight seal.  Traditionally, contractors used metal flashing or double layers of felt in places where Ice and Water Shield are used today.  Either through new codes in the northern states, or through better education and expanded warranties elsewhere, Ice and Water is becoming more common on Atlanta area homes.

How is a Premium Leak Barrier Used?

  • In valleys (where two roof planes meet) as a flashing under the shingle
  • Along eaves (bottom of the roofline) as protection against ice dams and overflowing gutters
  • Along rakes (vertical edge of roof) as protection against driving rain.
  • Around penetrations such as plumbing pipes, chimneys, and skylights as a flashing
Uses for ice and water shield in Canton Ga

Georgia does not mandate the use of a leak barrier on roofs, because of a lack of ice dams, however many shingle manufacturers are now requiring the use of their leak barriers in order to receive the full benefits of the manufacturer’s warranty.  Fowler Homes doesn’t include leak barrier on base roof quotes, but we do offer it as an option on most roof installations.  Premium leak barriers aren’t offered by all contractors in an attempt to lower the cost of both material and labor.

Interesting Facts

  • Leak Barriers are rubberized, asphalt membranes that self-adhere to the roof decking.
  • Leak Barriers are self-sealing products that seal around the shaft of nails to protect against water penetration.
  • Leaks barriers can be exposed directly to sunlight and rain for 60 days before needing to be replaced, as opposed to felt that generally needs to be replaced immediately after a rain storm (because it can cause wrinkles on the underlayment that often transfer through to the shingles).


Leak barriers are usually sold in rolls that cover between 150-200 square feet.  Each manufacturer offers a range of leak barriers for different applications, but the typical roll costs between $150.00-$200.00 installed.  This number changes from season to season, depending on the manufacturer’s supply.

While most homes in North Georgia were not originally roofed with Weather Watch or Ice and Water Shield, homeowners should try to include it in their budget if at all possible.  If you have any more questions about Leak Barriers, email us at: or call me at 770-800-8758 and I’ll do my best to answer all of your questions. Also check out our related roofing questions articles below.

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