Why should I use a leak barrier on my roofing system?
When you are interviewing the best roofing companies you might be overwhelmed with the many product options you are presented with. We at Chase NW Roofing understand that. In fact that is the reason we have paid staff in our office creating articles like this to help educate you to make a sound decision when you need to re-roof your home.
In today’s subject we are tackling leak barrier. Why should you use a leak barrier on your new roof system? Is it really necessary or is it just another bell and whistle on my roof that a roofing contractor makes more money from? These are valid and important questions when considering a new roofing system. As a roofing contractor in the Puyallup-Tacoma, Washington area, we have installed thousands of roofing systems, and have found leak barrier to be a non-negotiable system component.
The purpose of leak barrier on your roof: To protect critical leak prone areas.
Leak barriers create a complete (100%) watertight seal that eliminate the threat of roof leaks in the most critical areas on your roof. It is most commonly used in valleys, around chimneys, skylights, penetrations, roof slope transitions and around the perimeter edge of the roof. For upgraded warranties it will also be used on ridges and roof to wall areas. See a live example of applying leak barrier to a skylight curb on our video blog “Skylight Installation in Puyallup-Edgewood, Washington”.
Low slope roofing applications require leak barrier.
Leak barriers are required and should be used where roofing shingles are utilized on a low slope roofing application. It is not recommended to use asphalt roofing shingles on pitches of 2:12 or less, however manufacturers will warrant that roofing application if leak barrier is utilized on the entire roof deck as an underlayment.
Leak barrier to combat ice damming in cold weather zones.
What is an ice dam? This question comes up often when discussing leak barrier and critical areas of protecting a roof. Wikipedia’s definition: An ice dam, on a smaller scale, is a problem of house and building maintenance in cold climates. An ice dam can occur when snow accumulates on the slanted roof of a house with inadequate insulation. Heat conducted through the insufficient insulation and warm air from the attic bypasses warms the roof and melts the snow on those areas of the roof that are above living spaces, but does not melt the snow on roof overhangs. Meltwater flows down the roof, under the blanket of snow, onto the eave and into the gutter, where colder conditions on the overhang cause it to freeze. Eventually, ice accumulates along the eave and in the gutter. Snow that melts later cannot drain properly through the ice on the eave and in the gutter, resulting in leaks to the roof space resulting in damaged ceilings, walls, roof structure and insulation. The ice that builds up on the roof can be removed by trained professionals that use special steam equipment to ensure quick and safe removal without causing damage to the roof.
Applying leak barrier on the perimeter edge prevents water from soaking into the roof deck and helps to prevent ice damming. Leak barrier is required by building codes in most areas where the winter temperature is 25 degrees F or has the potential to freeze during the winter months. This is considered the North Zone and covers most of Northern section of North America.
Other benefits of leak barrier are:
Using leak barrier in manufacturer specified areas qualifies your roof for upgrades system warranties such as the GAF “System Plus” or “Golden Pledge” warranties. These extend the roofing warranty coverage on the “complete roofing system” for many years beyond the standard material warranty. These warranties can only be offered by GAF certified contractors or GAF Master Elite roofing contractors. We are 1 of 15 of those Master Elite roofing contractors in Washington State! For more information on the right roofing warranty check out this informative article: “HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT WARRANTY TO PROTECT YOUR NEW ROOF“.
Leak barrier self seals around nails and metal fasteners.
It can also be left exposed for up to 60 days in an emergency situation on asphalt roofing systems. Leak barrier’s exceed the requirement for a roof deck vapor retarder.
Chase Construction NW, Inc.-Roofing highly recommends using leak barrier as part of a “complete roofing system” on residential roofing systems.
If you have more questions concerning leak barrier or would like to schedule a free roofing consultation please fill out our quick estimate form and we will get back to you shorty. We service: Tacoma, Puyallup, Kent, Seattle and the surrounding areas. We are ready to serve you!
Chase NW Roofing was recently selected by Columbia Bank to be featured on their “Blue Couch” commercial. Check out the Beattie Family video.