Impact-Resistant Shingles

House showing shingles
Photograph provided by Christopher Eaglin

While hail damage may not be the first thing you consider when contemplating potential home risks, it’s a very common and expensive occurrence. In the 2018 webinar Hail: The Hidden Risk, Dr. Arindam Samanta says more than 10.7 million U.S. properties were affected by one or more damaging hail events in 2017.

The highly localized nature of hailstorms makes their risks challenging to manage. Even in states more prone to hail, losses can fluctuate dramatically from year to year. And now, more and more hail events occur outside those areas. The roof is an essential part of your home or structure, protecting the inside from heavy wind, rain, and hail. If it isn’t strong enough, it will break or tear under the stress of extreme weather, which can leave your home or structure prone to leaks and other structural issues. Consequently, it’s important to invest in a high-quality, impact-resistant roof to maintain the most protection.

Impact-resistant shingles are made with high-quality, durable materials that are more resistant to hail and debris. These materials protect your roof, making it less likely it will suffer severe damage during extreme weather.

A four-class system is used to identify the level of impact resistance a product has. Each shingle’s class is determined by dropping steel balls from a specified height onto the shingles. Shingles that show no signs of cracking or breakage after struck with two one-and-a-quarter-inch steel balls (roughly the diameter of a half dollar) dropped from 12 feet in the same spot receive a Class 1 rating. A Class 4 rating means the shingles retain their integrity after two two-inch steel balls (almost the size of a billiard ball) strike the same spot when dropped from 20 feet.

The benefits of a Class 4-shingled roof offer peace of mind along with some financial incentives. Though it’s true that you’ll pay more upfront, insurance discounts may be offered for homeowners with the highest-quality shingles. You’ll also save money by extending the life of your roof while minimizing, or even eliminating, the need for repairs.

It’s worth noting that Class 4 shingles are impact resistant, not impact proof, and manufacturer warranties do not cover hail damage. Safely inspecting your roof for leaks from time to time, especially after a hail or wind storm, is a great way to ensure damages are quickly addressed. This helps prevent a slew of potential problems from occurring, ranging from inconvenient to structurally compromising.

Shingles might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to investing in your home, but the role they play in protecting your roof and everything under it cannot be overstated. As with any construction project, be sure to follow building codes that may specify the class of impact-resistant materials your home or structure must use.

Christopher Eaglin is the owner of Christopher Ross Contracting (CRC), which provides insulation, siding, roofing, gutters, and window services in the Greater Madison area.

Christopher Ross Contracting
1310 Mendota Street
Madison, WI 53714