Just how durable is your roof? That depends on the type of roofing products used in its construction. One type of roofing product — impact-resistant shingles, which are sometimes also called hail-resistant shingles — can give you a stronger, safer, more durable roof and reduce your risk of hail, wind and interior water damage from a storm, especially if you live in an area where hail and wind put roofs to the test. You might even qualify for a discount on your homeowners insurance premiums when you upgrade.
What are impact-resistant roofing materials?
Impact-resistant shingles and other roofing materials are designed to resist damage from hail and flying debris — abuse that might damage ordinary shingles. Shingles on an impact-resistant roof are designed to withstand high winds and hail damage and have a Class 4 rating (see below).
Hailstorms are responsible for more than $10 billion in annual property damage, and they are particularly hard on roofs. That’s because hailstones can form up to five inches or more in diameter, and pelt your roof at speeds of 90 miles an hour or more.
And while the average life span of some roofs is 20 years, roofs in severe hail-prone areas often must be replaced every seven to 10 years, according to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS). The IBHS is one of the organizations — including State Farm®, which has an in-house laboratory in Bloomington, Illinois — whose researchers have devoted years to field and lab research studying hail and testing the materials designed to handle it. (The IBHS has a newly instituted rating system for impact-resistant shingles that includes reviews of denting, tears and granule loss.)
You can choose impact-resistant shingles such as asphalt or a metal roofing material in a variety of popular styles, including individual shingles and other roofing materials. Impact-resistant shingles resembling wood or slate that are made of cement, plastic, molded polymer or recycled resin or rubber are also available in multiple colors.
How are impact-resistant roofing materials rated?
Two companies — Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and FM Approvals — are typically used to rate the impact resistance of roofing materials, according to Mark Graham with the National Roofing Contractors Association.
In UL testing, steel balls of different sizes are dropped from varying heights onto newly manufactured roof coverings. In FM Approvals testing, premolded ice balls in various sizes are launched onto newly manufactured material. 1
A specimen passes when it withstands two tests with no evidence of damage such as cracking, splitting or breaking. Qualifying coverings are then graded from 1 to 4, with Class 4 shingles as the highest.
Are impact-resistant roofing materials worth it?
While impact-resistant products may cost more than traditional shingles, you could save over the long run when you consider the reduced likelihood for roof and home damage, especially if you live in a hail-prone area. After a significant storm, a stronger roof can spare you the cost of replacement materials and labor for repairs.
In some states, you can also qualify for significant discounts to your home insurance premiums by using qualifying impact-resistant roofing products. Check to see if your state is included for the roofing discount based on products used.
Reasons to consider impact-resistant roofing options
- Better resistance to impact from hail and flying debris than non-impact-resistant products
- Protection against fire — most products are Class A fire rated
- You may be eligible for an annual discount on your homeowners premium, especially if your current roof is made of wood shingles 2 3
- If you sell your home, the new owner may be eligible for a homeowners insurance discount, which can be a good selling point
- Less impact on the environment since fewer roofs will be damaged during a storm
To learn more about impact-resistant roofing materials, contact a State Farm agent today.