RICOWI Best Practices Guide

RICOWI Best Practices Guides for Roofing


Properly designed, installed and maintained roofs can significantly reduce or prevent damage to buildings and their contents from natural hazards. Weather events such as windstorms, rain, fire, hail, ice, and snow accounted for an average of $21.8 billion dollars in insured property losses annually from 2003–2012¹. This damage can be further intensified by weathering and pest damage.

This “best practices” field guide for roof systems is a joint effort between the Roofing Industry Committee on Weather Issues (RICOWI), the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), and several roofing industry associations².

The manual contains information designed to help users more accurately evaluate a roof’s current condition taking into consideration several factors, including age and weathering. In addition, the guide outlines the available industry resources that contain roof-related installation, maintenance, repair and replacement practices. This information may help identify greater opportunities for repairing damaged roofs as opposed to replacing the entire roof following weather events. Such information is essential for contractors, building inspectors and code officials, roofing consultants, insurance professionals, and residential and commercial building owners, among others. By providing a summary of the available resource information, RICOWI and IBHS hope to create a consistent stream of guidance from a variety of professionals to residential and commercial consumers, eliminating confusion and ensuring that best practices are widely known and followed.

The manual also contains key information about roof product manufacturing and product identification. Because it is electronic, this material can and will be updated periodically as new information becomes available, and as products and building codes change. Helpful illustrations (e.g., graphics, photos and videos) are included herein, as are links to other valuable industry resources.


Roof Cover Material

¹The Property Claims Service (PCS), a unit of ISO, a Verisk Analytics company.
²Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association , Cedar Shake & Shingle Bureau, Copper Roofs, Metal Construction Association, Metal Building Manufacturers Association, Single Ply Roofing Industry, Tile Roofing Institute, Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance.

Disclaimer: This manual has been prepared for informational purposes only. RICOWI, IBHS, and the participating roofing industry organizations expressly state that they have no liability, in negligence, tort, or otherwise, with respect to the use of any of the information and/or practices described in this article. The information set forth in this manual is provided in good faith. The user assumes the sole risk of making use of the information provided in this manual.

Users of this manual are strongly urged to follow accepted safety practices, refer to applicable local building codes and standards, and relevant manufacturers’ instructions for appropriate technical requirements, and to work with a qualified professional in order to operationalize the information contained herein. Photographs and examples contained in this manual are provided for illustrative purposes only and do not guarantee the condition of any specific product or the effectiveness of any repair or installation. Nothing contained in this manual is intended or written to be used, nor may it be relied upon or used, by any person and/or business as legal advice.

Contributors to the RICOWI Best Practices Guide:

Cedar Shake & Shingle Bureau

David J. Balistreri, RRC, BECxP
Vice Chair, RICOWI Exec. Comm.
RCI, Inc. Liaison to RICOWI B.O.D.

Insurance Institute for
Business & Home Safety


Jim Walas, Architectural Manager
Revere Copper Products Inc.

Larry Peters
Copper Development Association Inc.

Metal Building Manufacturers Association

Metal Construction Association

Robert LeClare, CDT

Single Ply Roofing Institute

SPFA Roofing Committee

Tile Roofing Institute

Wade Sticht, P.E.

NOTE: The manual is being completed in sections, and will be released in stages. Check back often to see the most up-to-date edition of the guide.
Please report broken links or other issues to Simon Kellogg (skellogg@ibhs.org).