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Replace Roof Deck When Covered with Old Ice and Water

Building inspectors are requiring contractors to replace sound roof deck material when the previous roof was built using ice and water shield. Why? Because the manufacturers' specifications for the installation of ice and water shield requires that their product be installed over a "smooth surface." Building inspectors are interpreting that spec to mean that if there are chunks of shingle fused to the old ice and water and those chunks can't be removed without damaging the ice and water, then the surface over which the new ice and water shield is being installed isn't smooth. 

What can you do? I suppose you could be meticulous in picking off all of the pieces of shingle from the ice and water. Good luck if the shingles are fused to the ice and water. You are likely to bear the extra cost of labor.

Another option is to select an ice and water shield product that doesn't specify installation over a smooth surface. There might not be many options available, but if there is one, use it.

Replace the affected decking. It may be the less expensive option as compared to the cost of labor. If proceeds of an insurance policy are paying for the work, discuss the need to replace the decking (or the extra labor costs required) with the adjuster. If this is a code requirement, it should be covered by the policy.

Use caution when installing new ice and water shield over old material that is not "smooth." If that is what the manufacturers' specs require, your failure to ensure that the surface is smooth may be used against you by your customer as a breach of the contract, either for a failure to follow building code or your performance guidelines.

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