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Question DetailsAsked on 10/25/2017

Can one tear off the existing shingles without damaging the ice barrier underneath?

Does the ice barrier have to be replaced just because the shingles are being torn off and replaced?

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1 Answer


No - because all the nail/staple holes from the shingles will remain in the ice and water shield, making it a sieve. It is designed to self-seal around nails put into it - not to seal up after nails/staples are pulled. Though I have seen cases (low-budget and DIY jobs) where they put new nails into the old nail holes to fill them, then shingled over that - of course risking a few of the new shingle nails hitting the hole-filler ones. I have also seen contractors coating the holes with roofing sealant - which should fill the holes but obviously is not as good as new.

I have also seen contractors and DIY'ers put another layer of ice and water shield on top without removing the old one, to avoid peeling the old one off (which with some brands can be a bit of a chore after decades of adhesion and heating) - probably better than the above solutions because at least you are getting new material down - but it assumes the underlying layer will not peel and buckle on you as it ages more.

But the "right way" to do it would be to peel/scrape off the old one and put on new ice and water shield - not only to avoid leak issues, but also because you are asking a lot to expect the original shield to last ANOTHER 20-30 years in addition to however old it is now. Not that big a thing to do for the normal 3-6 foot strip along the downhill edges of the roof.

Can be a different story if the entire roof is covered with it - but if that is the case then it is probably because severe ice damming conditions were expected, in which case making sure you have a good layer under the new shingles would be even more important than normal.

Here is a prior similar question about removing ice and water shield which might help FYI:

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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