Pros and Cons of Impact-Resistant Roofing Shingles Tiles: Is a Hail-Resistant Roof Worth It?

Your roof is a vital component of your home; it protects your family, structure, and belongings. Choosing the best type of roofing materials — from asphalt shingles to clay tiles, a tile roof, and metal roofing — to protect against the elements can seem overwhelming. Residents often wonder if a hail-proof roof is worth the cost. We’re here to answer that for you.

What Are Impact-Resistant (Class 4) Shingles?

Impact-resistant Class 4 shingles are made of plastic, resin, asphalt shingles, tiles, or metal. Roofing shingles are rated and tested by the independent testing agency using UL2218 steel ball test method or FM4473 ice ball test method. Underwriter Laboratories (UL) to determine whether they meet the Class 4 standard. The UL 2218 test measures the impact resistance of roofing shingles in a controlled environment using a 2″ steel ball. The FM4473 uses ice balls in a controlled environment to measure the impact resistance of roofing shingles. The findings provide impact-resistance data for evaluating prepared steep slope roofing materials such as shingles and low slope single-ply roofing assemblies.

Receiving the Class 4 standard indicates that the asphalt shingles and other shingle roofs have withstood hail impacts. Class 4 UL2218 impact resistance test on asphalt shingles, metal roofing, tile roofing, and other roofing materials is done by dropping a 2-inch diameter steel ball from 20 feet above to simulate the impact of hail. This is repeated twice in roughly the same location. A shingle passes the test if there is no visible evidence of tearing, fracturing, cracking, splitting, or another opening of the roof-covering layer on the backside. Similarly, Class 4 FM4473 impact resistance test on roofing products is done by firing a ice balls at 71.76 mph at the materials being tested.

The Lifespan of Impact-Resistant Asphalt Shingles

Severe weather events produce hail and cause long-term damage to a roof. Installing Class 4 shingles in hail-prone areas can reduce the risk of impact damage to a home. In fact, insurers will only approve a claim filed after a storm. If hail falls in your area, it is best to determine if your roof has been damaged as soon as possible. Some insurance companies will give homeowners a discount if they have Class 4 shingle roofs.

Impact-resistant asphalt shingles can last for close to 30 to 50 years. However, the amount of time asphalt shingles last in your home will depend on the weather in your area. According to UL, the 2218 test does not “evaluate the effect of weathering, temperature, aging or similar effects on the impact resistance of prepared roof covering materials. These and other factors, including time, roof slope, roof system configuration and application influence the performance of roofing materials in the field.”

The Impact of Hail on a Roof

Some parts of the country may experience hail in the form of very small ice pellets, whereas the Midwest plains states may experience hail the size of pebbles or even golf balls. Unfortunately, most hail damage to roofing shingles is subtle or unnoticeable at first but shows excessive damage over time in both cases. When hail hits an asphalt shingle roof:

  • It breaks or cracks the asphalt shingle, exposing it to further damage.
  • It deteriorates the asphalt.
  • It loosens the granules embedded on the shingle’s surface for protection.

Because the granules have been lost and the asphalt has been damaged, the shingles are vulnerable to further damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Although the damage may not be obvious immediately following the hail storm, your roof may require replacement in the future.

Pros of Impact-Resistant Shingle Roofs & Other Roofing Material

There are several significant benefits to having an impact-resistant roof installation:

  • These roof shingles keep your home and belongings protected during a storm.
  • Shingle roofs and tile roofs are available in a variety of styles and materials.
  • It is less likely that you will have to file an insurance claim after a storm.
  • You will need fewer roof repairs using roof shingles that are impact-resistant.
  • The money that you save after a storm can more than pay for the roof over time.
  • As mentioned, your insurance company may lower the premium for Class 4 asphalt shingle roofs.
  • Impact-resistant clay tiles, metal roofing, tile roofing, and other UL-tested roofing material can help your roof last longer.
  • Impact-resistant clay tiles, asphalt shingles, and metal roofs add resale value to a home.

Cons of Impact-Resistant Tile Roofs & Roof Shingles

The biggest disadvantage of impact-resistant shingles is the upfront cost. Class 4 impact-resistant shingles typically are 10 to 20% more expensive than regular asphalt shingles. However, impact-resistant shingles can reduce long-term maintenance costs and prevent premature roof replacement, so homeowners can quickly recoup the higher initial costs. Just think about the savings you can gain with an impact-resistant asphalt shingle roof. With asphalt shingle roofing you will save money by having more protection. You also have the added peace of mind of knowing your roof is better protected, especially if you live in a hail-prone area.

Another disadvantage is that if you get a discount from your insurance company, they may add a clause in your policy excluding cosmetic damage. With this exclusion, future hail and storm events could be rejected by your insurance company.

Having a Class 4 roof means that the roof shingles have held up to UL2218 or FM4473 testing. Typically there is not a warranty provided from the manufacture warranting the product from hail damage. Shingles or the roof system could still be damaged from hail. There a few companies that are offering hail warranties for their product but you need to read the warranty to understand the coverage.

Is A Hail-Resistant Roof Worth It?

For most homeowners, an impact-resistant roof is well worth the extra cost. While you may pay an extra 10% to 20% in upfront costs, consider your potential savings. One big wind or hail storm could destroy a traditional roof.

In addition, consider the safety and security of your family. A large storm can lead to leaks, or the roof being blown off, leaving your family and belongings vulnerable. Each year, storms cause massive amounts of damage. In fact, in 2019 hail and wind damage to roofs accounted for $13 billion in property damage. Keeping a home as safe as possible is the goal of most homeowners. This has led to an increase in the number of homeowners who seek impact-resistant roofing shingles. There are many ways to save money; skimping on the roof of your home should not be one of them.