Should You Invest In Class 4, Impact-Resistant Shingles For Your Residential Roof?

Posted on: 14 December 2021

Every year, severe storms hit U.S. states and cause extensive property damage. In 2020, there were 4,611 major storm events, affecting at least 6.2 million properties. Roofing structures bear the brunt of hail and strong winds. Regular asphalt shingles can suffer irreversible damage when hit by flying debris during a storm. Therefore, if you live in a hail-prone area, you should invest in Class 4, impact-resistant (IR) shingles for your roof. Keep reading to find out what these shingles are and whether they are a worthwhile investment.

Impact-Resistant vs. Standard Shingles

Roofing shingles are classified into four classes based on how much impact they can withstand without splitting. The impact resistance test is conducted using steel balls of various diameters. This test is known as the Underwriters Library (UL) Standard 2218 test, and all products that pass this test are classified as either Class 1, 2, 3, or 4. 

Class 4 is the highest impact-resistant rating, meaning shingles rated under this class can withstand impact from a 2-inch steel ball dropped from a predetermined height. Class 3 shingles can take a hit from a 1.75-inch steel ball, while Class 2 shingles can handle the impact of a 1.5-inch ball without cracking. Conversely, Class 1 shingles can only bear the impact of a 1.25-inch ball.

Shingles that are considered impact resistant are those with a Class 4 rating. They feature multiple thick layers and are reinforced with cross-linked polymers to prevent damage from impact. Class 1 and Class 2 shingles have fewer layers; thus, they can suffer some level of damage when hit by hail. 

The Value of Impact Resistant Shingles

Class 4 shingles are costlier than Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3 shingles. Therefore, you may wonder whether they are a valuable investment for your home. Below are a few benefits of choosing Class 4 or impact-resistant shingles over their counterparts.

Resistant to Hail Damage

Class 4 shingles are impact-resistant, meaning they won't crack when hit by hail. They are ideal for homes in hail-prone and storm-prone areas and can protect roofing structures from leaks. The multiple material layers and polymer mesh in each shingle prevent the material from splitting when hit by hail and flying debris. 

If you live in a state with few hail events, you can use Class 3 shingles, as they hold up well to hail and debris. However, after a hailstorm, you should inspect the shingles for granule loss and minor cracks. Homeowners living in areas with mild climates and no instances of hail can install Class 1 and Class 2 asphalt shingles.

Resistant to High Winds

Roofing materials are rated for both impact resistance and wind resistance. A Class 4 impact resistance rating doesn't mean the material has the highest classification for wind resistance. However, since IR shingles don't crack when hit by hail, they are less likely to be damaged by strong winds. Also, the multiple layers and heavy materials prevent strong winds from dislodging individual shingles. Thus, households in storm-prone areas can benefit from IR shingles as well.

Fewer Roofing Repairs

When hail or debris hits a shingle, the backing breaks and creates an entry point for water. Standard shingles are prone to moisture infiltration after a storm, leading to multiple repairs. Conversely, impact-resistant shingles do not crack when hit by hail or flying debris. They may lose a few granules, but this doesn't compromise the material's resistance to moisture infiltration. Therefore, despite being costly, these shingles require fewer repairs and are low-maintenance.

Durable Roofing

Weather-related damage is a leading cause of performance issues on residential roofs. Hail and strong winds can shorten the lifespan of regular asphalt shingles, necessitating roofing replacement. Impact-resistant shingles are sturdy and durable. When maintained properly, the roof can live up to its estimated lifespan without requiring a replacement.

Impact-resistant or Class 4 shingles are a worthwhile investment in areas prone to inclement weather. Consult your roofing contractor for roofing services.