How Underlayments Protect Your Home

GCP Questions About Grace ICE & WATER SHIELD
February 9, 2022 at 6:00 a.m.

By Cass Jacoby.  

GCP’s Grace ICE & WATER SHIELD® is designed to protect the home from wind-driven rain and ice dams; learn more about why this is important. 

As extreme weather continues to become the new norm, construction and repairs need to bolster themselves to be able to withstand anything that Mother Nature throws at the roof. It is critical to waterproof a house in order to avoid repairs or damage. Be it rain, snow or ice, you can count on Grace ICE & WATER SHIELD® self-adhered roofing underlayment to offer superior protection against water getting into the house. MoneyPit recently answered some frequently asked questions about this product; read on to learn more about the importance of a self-adhering waterproof underlayment and how it protects your home from leaks.  


The Grace ICE & WATER SHIELD® underlayment has defended homes against ice dams for over 40 years and remains a best-in-class self-adhered roof underlayment that provides premium leak protection. The lasting watertight bond created by Grace ICE & WATER SHIELD® is critical to the protection of your roof from leaks. The key to this underlayment's waterproofing ability lies in its specially formulated layer of rubberized asphalt adhesive.   

Further, Grace ICE & WATER SHIELD® offers superior watertight laps, which serve a crucial function in keeping the roof dry.   

What is an ice dam, and what dangers do they pose to the home?   

Ice dams occur when snow on your roof melts due to the warm air in the attic space or solar radiation. Water flows down the slope towards the roof eave where it refreezes over the unheated space. This dam prevents water from falling off the roof, meaning that it can back up into the building, causing a leak. Ice dams can not only damage the walls of a home, but also gutters and other roof components. These repairs can be difficult and expensive. 

Won’t shingles and the felt underlayment prevent leaks?   

Nope. Shingles and felt are designed to shed water from the roof, but cannot prevent ice dam leaks. Ice dams trap the water that shingles shed , and a felt underlayment can soak up this water leading to leaks. This is why a self-adhered roofing underlayment makes such a huge difference in protecting a roof from leaks, as they are the last line of defense between a home and water infiltration. Premium performance self-adhered underlayments, such as Grace ICE & WATER SHIELD®, seal around the fasteners used to attach shingles and other roof coverings, which helps prevent the water behind an ice dam from leaking into your house.  

Where should the self-adhered underlayment be installed?  

Most basic building code requirements mandate that a membrane should be applied along the eaves and in the valleys on the roof. However, it is recommended that you also protect potential trouble spots and apply underlayments where leaks have happened in the past. Grace ICE & WATER SHIELD’s Ripcord® split release on demand, allows for easy–to-install detailing that can protect the roof’s most vulnerable areas, offering protection to leak-prone areas of the roof deck, such as valleys, chimneys and roof-to-wall transitions. 

What if I don’t live in a place where it snows? Do I still need to use self-adhered underlayments?   

Yes! Because even if you live in a warmer climate, the same areas of your roof are vulnerable to wind-driven rain. For example, hurricanes can cause shingle blow-offs, a roof covered with Grace ICE & WATER SHIELD® would avoid major damage.  


Homes need to be built with materials that can handle all that is thrown their way. Installing Grace ICE & WATER SHIELD® self-adhered roofing underlayment on your roof, is a way to add another layer of protection against leaks.  

Have a question? AskARoofer.   

Find your local roofing contractor in the RoofersCoffeeShop® Contractor Directory.  

About Cass

Cass works as a reporter/writer for RoofersCoffeeShop and AskARoofer. When she isn’t writing about roofs, she is writing about movies for her master's degree and dancing with her plants. 

Photo credit: MoneyPit

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