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Ice and Water Shield Protection for Roof

Essential Elements: What Does a Roof Replacement Include?

What does a roof replacement include? This fundamental homeowner question calls for a straightforward answer. 

A complete roof replacement typically involves several key elements: removing old materials, updating the deck, selecting and installing new roofing materials, and ensuring protective measures like ice shields and proper ventilation are in place.

Precise installation of vents, flashing, and shingles form the bulk of this renovation. 

This article delves into each step without giving too much away, ensuring you’re well-prepared for your upcoming roof upgrade.

Key Takeaways

  • Roof replacements involve critical steps such as selecting decking and underlayment, installing ice and water shields, and choosing appropriate roofing materials to ensure structural integrity and weather protection.
  • Correct installation techniques for components like drip edges, ridge capping, ventilation systems, and pipe boots are essential to prevent water leaks and extend the roof’s lifespan.
  • Selecting a reputable and experienced roofing contractor, such as Madden Brothers, is vital for a successful roof replacement project, with attention to local weather conditions, building codes, and customer satisfaction.

Roof Decking Replacement

One of the critical components of a roof replacement is the roof decking. This wooden foundation is the backbone of the entire roof structure, offering safety and security to the occupants. 

However, like any part of a home, roof decking is not immune to damage. Common issues with wood decking, like soft or rotten areas, often surface when old roofing materials are torn off during the replacement.

If left unaddressed, these issues can lead to more severe problems, such as water intrusion into the home’s interior.

Thus, it’s crucial to entrust the task of roof decking replacement to a reliable roofing contractor, like Madden Brothers, who provide a detailed estimate that covers the quantity and costs of the sheets to be provided and additional sheets if needed.

Types of Roof Decking

There are several options for roof decking. 

However, OSB Sheathing is one of the most popular choices in the industry. These wooden boards are the foundation upon which a roof system is nailed. For stability and cohesion, it is recommended that the same type and thickness of wood be used as the currently installed decking.

OSB, made of compressed wood chips or strips, offers more comprehensive sheet options than plywood, making it a favored material for roof decking.

Inspection and Replacement Process

Ensuring the integrity of the old roof system requires thoroughly inspecting the roof deck. Any compromised decking detected during the inspection must be promptly replaced. The replacement process involves multiple steps, from cleaning the roof decking to ensuring it is dust and debris-free.

Getting your roof replaced should be handled by experienced roofing professionals like Madden Brothers, who deeply understand the process.

Underlayment Selection

Once the decking is in place and inspected, the next step in a roof replacement is choosing the proper underlayment. 

Acting as a critical moisture barrier between the wood decking and the roofing materials, the underlayment is essential in a roof replacement.

Roofing contractors usually present two underlayment options for roof decking: felt and synthetic. Let’s delve into these options.

Wood Decking and the Roofing Materials

Felt vs. Synthetic Underlayment

Traditionally, felt was the go-to option for underlayment. However, in recent times, synthetic underlayment has emerged as the new standard due to its superior durability and performance over felt paper. Synthetic underlayment, made from polymers such as polypropylene or polyethene, provides robust protection for the roof and is less prone to tearing.

On the other hand, felt, despite being less costly, can wrinkle and tear when wet, making it a risky choice. Furthermore, synthetic underlayment offers superior water resistance, making it a better option for preventing potential water infiltration issues.

Installation Process

The installation process of synthetic underlayment involves a series of careful steps. It begins with:

  1. Preparing the roof surface for proper adhesion.
  2. Handling the lightweight and thin material of synthetic underlayment.
  3. Wrapping the underlayment around the roof for adequate moisture protection.

Its ease of handling gives it an edge over traditional materials during installation, reinforcing the importance of choosing synthetic underlayment for a successful roof replacement.

Drip Edge Installation

Another critical aspect of roof replacement is installing a drip edge for a new roof. This process is necessary for passing a home inspection and plays a crucial role in protecting the structure below. The drip edge helps to control the flow of water away from the fascia and protects the underlying roofing components from water damage.

Available in various materials, such as pre-painted steel, pre-painted aluminum, copper, and galvalume, drip edge flashing can be tailored to match the overall aesthetics of the roof.

Purpose and Benefits

Drip edges serve a dual purpose. They not only protect the roof edges but also:

  • Direct water into the gutters, away from the fascia board, preventing wood rot or damage to the soffit areas
  • Channel water away from porches and decks, reducing moisture-related deterioration
  • Reinforce roof stability in severe weather, reducing the risk of wind damage.

This flexibility allows drip edges to be fitted during the initial construction or retrofitted to existing roofing systems, ensuring all homes can benefit from their protective features.

Proper Installation Techniques

The effectiveness of a drip edge hinges mainly on proper installation techniques. The drip edge must be installed at an angle, allowing rainwater to flow directly into the gutters. Adjustments to the drip edge angle could be needed to accommodate each unique roof’s specific design and structure.

Further, drip edge flashing is crucial for redirecting rainwater away from the roof and into the gutter system, underscoring the importance of correct installation.

Ice and Water Shield Protection

In regions with harsh winters, ice and water shield protection is a critical part of roof replacement. This flexible, water-resistant membrane protects roofs from water penetration and self-seals around fasteners to prevent leaks. The protective membrane is mainly installed in roof valleys, around roof penetrations, and on roofs with specific pitch requirements.

Ice and Water Shield Protection for Roof

Areas of Application

The areas where ice and water shields are typically applied are most vulnerable to water damage. These include roof valleys and around penetrations. In roof valleys, ice and water shield installation should be conducted one side at a time to avoid trapping air underneath the material.

The shield must also be installed underneath the mechanical vent flashing to ensure proper coverage and leakage prevention.

Installation Process

The installation of an ice and water shield requires careful planning and precision. Before the actual installation, the following steps should be taken:

  1. Plan a visual layout to address any needed seams and their placement.
  2. Take roof measurements to cut the shield according to the required dimensions.
  3. Align the shield using reference lines to avoid gaps or wrinkles beneath the material.

The installation of the protective shield should be done as follows:

  1. Peel off the protective backing gradually during installation to ensure it only adheres to the roof deck.
  2. Overlap subsequent shield courses at least 2 inches vertically to establish adequate coverage.
  3. In critical areas where flashing is installed, apply an additional layer of ice and water shield for enhanced protection.

Roofing Material Options

The choice of roofing materials is a crucial aspect of roof replacement as it affects not only the appearance of the roof but also its durability and cost. The most popular residential roofing materials are:

  • Asphalt shingles
  • Standing seam metal roofing
  • Cedar shake roofing
  • Synthetic roofing
  • Slate roofing

Homeowners have a variety of options to choose from based on their preferences and requirements.

Factors such as the choice of roofing materials, individual preferences, location, local weather conditions, and roof pitch can influence the cost of roof replacement.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are a popular choice for roofing due to their affordability and durability. They are available in three main types: 3-Tab, Dimensional (architectural), and Luxury (designer shingles). Dimensional shingles give a three-dimensional look, and luxury shingles can mimic materials like slate, offering extensive color options and styles.

With a typical lifespan of around 25 years, asphalt shingle roofs provide a balance of affordability and durability. Luxury asphalt shingles can be more cost-effective than slate tiles and put less structural stress on a home.

Alternative Roofing Materials

There are numerous options for those seeking an alternative to asphalt shingles. Wood shingles and shakes offer a natural appearance and are made from cedar, redwood, or southern pine. Metal roofing, known for its durability, longevity, and ability to reflect solar radiant heat, is another option.

Some roofing materials to consider are:

  • Cedar shakes, which offer a traditional look but require more maintenance
  • Synthetic roofing products, which mimic the look of slate, tile, or wood shakes and provide more excellent resistance to fire and weathering
  • Slate roofing is more expensive but valued for its natural appearance, longevity, and fire-resistant qualities.

Ridge Capping Installation

Ridge capping is an integral part of roof replacement. It seals the roof system at the top, preventing leaks and protecting against weather elements. For effective sealing and to avoid roof leaks, ridge capping should be made from materials that match the primary roofing material.

Material Selection

Ridge caps are often made of the same material as the leading roofing, such as metal, to ensure consistency in the roofing system. Using the same materials for ridge capping as the rest of the roof ensures optimal performance of the entire roofing system.

This also helps maintain aesthetic consistency for the overall appearance of the roof.

Proper Installation Techniques

The effectiveness of ridge capping depends mainly on the installation techniques. Here are the steps to properly install ridge capping:

  1. Accurately cut the capping to match the pipe diameter.
  2. Slide the capping over the pipe, ensuring it sits flush against the decking.
  3. Securely fasten the new pipe boot, starting from the bottom and placing it above the nail line of the first row of shingles cut below the pipe.

By following these steps, you can ensure a proper ridge capping installation.

A double layering technique, creating a thicker ridge line, may enhance the ridge cap’s appearance and durability.

Ventilation and Roof Vents

Proper attic ventilation is a crucial aspect of roof replacement. It prolongs the life of a roof by preventing the trapping of hot and cold air, leading to lower energy bills. Inadequate attic ventilation can cause a variety of issues, including:

  • Ice dams in cold climates
  • Moisture buildup leading to structural damage
  • Mold and mildew growth
  • Increased HVAC costs

Types of Roof Vents

Various roof vents are available, each with unique benefits and disadvantages. Ridge vents are installed at the roof’s peak to allow the hottest air to escape the attic space. Though smaller and less effective than complete ridge vents, off-ridge vents are positioned close to the roof crest.

Other options include box vents, powered attic vents, solar-powered attic vents, and whirlybird vents.

Vent Installation Process

Vent installation involves precise measurements, proper placement, and secure fastening. A chalk line is used for alignment, and the vent is centered on the building’s peak to ensure straight and symmetrical installation. The vent pieces are overlapped by 6 inches and secured with adhesive for continuity and protection along the ridge.

To be effective, the installation must ensure that vents are level and flush with the roof line.

Pipe Boot Replacement

The pipe boot replacement is an often overlooked but critical part of roof replacement. Pipe boots, like neoprene pipe boots, provide a waterproof seal around weather heads or service poles, which is crucial for preventing water leaks.

Pipe Boot Replacement

Common Pipe Boot Types

Neoprene pipe boots are the most commonly used pipe boots in roofing. They typically last about ten years before cracking occurs. Once cracks form, the boots are replaced to maintain the waterproof seal.

Replacement Process

The replacement process of a pipe boot involves several steps. The old pipe boot must first be removed, and the surrounding area needs to be cleared of remaining nails, screws, and debris to prepare for the installation of the new pipe boot.

The installation process for the new pipe boot involves the following steps:

  1. Accurately cut the gasket of the new boot to match the pipe diameter.
  2. Slide the gasket over the pipe, ensuring it sits flush against the decking.
  3. Securely fasten the new pipe boot, ensuring its proper placement.

Choosing a Reliable Roofing Contractor

Choosing a reliable roofing contractor is crucial for a successful roof replacement. Madden Brothers in Pittsburgh has been a trusted player in the roofing industry for over 50 years, offering comprehensive services that include:

  • Installation
  • Repair
  • Replacement
  • Inspection of roofs, gutters, sidings, and downspouts.

Their knowledge of local building codes and understanding of the region’s climate and common roofing issues provide valuable insights and higher trust and reliability.

Experience and Reputation

Experience and reputation are key factors to consider when choosing a roofing contractor. Contractors with a long-standing history in the roofing industry, like Madden Brothers, have a proven track record of experience and reliability, leading to fewer mistakes and higher-quality work.

A positive local reputation and reviews indicate a contractor’s ability to deliver satisfactory customer service and consistently high-quality workmanship.

Commitment to Quality and Customer Satisfaction

Choosing a contractor committed to quality and customer satisfaction is also crucial. Madden Brothers is dedicated to enhancing the lives of Pittsburgh residents with exceptional roofing services underpinned by a steadfast commitment to quality and customer satisfaction. Their relentless focus on the quality of work, practical communication, and professionalism ensure that all client concerns are addressed during the roofing consultation.


In conclusion, roof replacement is a complex process that involves several steps, each crucial to ensuring the roof’s durability and longevity. Every step plays a vital role in constructing a robust roof, from selecting the suitable roofing materials to choosing the best underlayment, installing a drip edge, ensuring proper ventilation, and replacing pipe boots. Choosing a reliable roofing contractor, like Madden Brothers in Pittsburgh, who deeply understands these steps and the local building codes, can ensure a successful roof replacement.

Frequently Asked Questions

What role does the roof decking play in a roof replacement?

The roof decking serves as the foundation of the entire roof structure, providing safety and security to the occupants. Its replacement is crucial in soft or rotten areas to prevent water intrusion into the home’s interior.

What are the types of roof decking?

One popular type of roof decking is OSB Sheathing, which is made of compressed wood chips and offers more comprehensive sheet options than plywood.

What is the purpose of an underlayment?

An underlayment is a crucial moisture barrier between the wood decking and roofing materials, playing an essential role in roof replacement.

How does a drip edge protect a roof?

A drip edge protects a roof by controlling water flow away from the fascia and safeguarding underlying roofing components from water damage.

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