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Avery Hanscel
Avery Hanscel

3 Min Read

Industry Insights

What's Your True Ice and Water Shield Cost? 


Ice and Water Shield (IWS), also referred to as an Ice Barrier, is widely understood in the roofing industry. What is often not understood is when you should and should not install it. This simple question can cost you thousands on every estimate.

In this article, you’ll learn what IWS is, why it is important, when you should install it, and how you can calculate how much you’ll need for any job so you don’t lose money.

What exactly is Ice and Water Shield, and what is its purpose?

  • What is it? Ice and Water Shield is a waterproof membrane applied to the deck of the roof that serves as a barrier so water does not enter the house. While there are different manufacturers, the design is fairly standard.
  • Why is it important? When ice at the bottom of a roof doesn’t melt, it sits and forms an “Ice Dam.” This Ice Dam blocks water from running off the roof’s eaves. This water build-up can start to leak into the house, causing damage.

The big problem with IWS

Despite IWS being straightforward, what isn’t straightforward is when roofers should and should not install it. In the International Residential Code (IRC), the standard for any building code, section R905.1.2 - Ice Barriers states, “In areas where there has been a history of ice forming along the eaves causing a backup of water… an ice barrier shall be installed”. 

That seems definite, but it’s only half the story. The biggest confusion with IWS is that people reference R905.1.2 as to whether it needs to be installed. This section is meant to work in conjunction with Table R301.2(1). 

Table R905.1.2 is how to install. Table R301.2(1) tells you whether or not you need to install. It is crucial to have both of these pieces of the puzzle.

It's all up to the Municipality

Where so many go wrong, and where you can find an advantage over your competition, is that it’s not up to the homeowner, contractor, or insurance company to decide whether or not there is a “history”– it’s up to the municipality that has jurisdiction. That code is actually the means by which a separate table - Table R301.2(1) - is filled out by the governing municipality. In fact, it is the International Code Council’s intention that every table is filled out by the municipality or state. Whether they actually do that or not, is a whole different story. OneClick Code is dedicated to tracking down Table R301.2(1) for every address across the U.S. However, we can only get it if the municipality is cooperative with working with us. So, how can you help? When you speak to your local office, pass our information along, so we can get their table in our app! We want to give you all of the information you need to back up your estimates and you can help us get there.

What a time suck

This leads to two problems: Finding the correct municipality with jurisdiction over the residence and working with the municipality to get the right codes and documentation to back you up - both of which present separate, time and cost-consuming problems. 

The Solution - Automation

So what can we do about any of this? The reality is that working through this problem yourself can cost you time and money – and you have more important things to do. There is one app, OneClickCode, that allows you to find the jurisdiction for any residential or commercial building.

How does an automation app help?

  • Gives you the correct jurisdiction: As we have mentioned, jurisdiction plays one of the most significant roles in determining whether or not IWS should be installed. Using a trusted application that can give you the correct information for any address is a smart move for your business. No more calling municipalities to confirm jurisdiction or risking getting it wrong.
  • Provides the evidence: Once you have established jurisdiction, you need the evidence to back it up. Automated roofing code services provide the evidence to get estimates approved. An app, like OneClick Code, provides you with Table R301.2(1), giving you the exact specifications provided by the municipality. 

Free Tools to help you know how much IWS you will need

Now you have the correct jurisdiction and codes for your next job, how much Ice and Water Shield will you actually need? And you may know, that depends on various factors. The good news is that finding out how much IWS you need can also be automated – and free. You can check out OneClick Code’s Ice and Water Shield Calculator.

Try the IWS Calculator

Now, get to work, would ya?! 


About OneClick Code

OneClick Code is a trusted data partner, dedicated to streamlining the code-sourcing process for all parties in the roofing industry while also increasing efficiency and transparency for all stakeholders in construction and restoration. They have the only platform to have blazed the trail for data automation of jurisdictional authority for building codes, permit fees, taxes, and manufacturer specifications required for any address nationwide. OneClick Code has been serving customers in the contracting, insurance, and claim adjusting fields by providing instant access to trusted roofing codes, in the click of a button. Offering unique reports that can be easily shared between all stakeholders in the roofing claims industry, OneClick is adding value to all parties and empowering customers to save time and money on every claim. Welcome to restoration intelligence, automated. To learn more, visit our website

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