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Reign Roofing Blog

What Impact Ratings Mean for Roof Shingles


Hail is one of the biggest enemies of roofs in the Richmond area, and the amount of damage hailstorms can cause is immense. A single hailstorm in the city can inflict more than $3 billion in damages. When hailstones strike your roof, they can create cracks that allow water to leak into the roof and can even shatter shingles. 

Shingles can be constructed specifically to hold up against the impact of hail. These shingles are called impact resistant shingles, and they are constructed from material that is more flexible than standard shingles to lessen the effect of an impact and have a thicker base gauge mat. 

The durability of impact resistant shingles is measured in four classes. To determine if a shingle is Class 1, 2, 3, or 4, it undergoes the UL 2218 impact test—how much can the shingle withstand before it cracks?

Below we’ll go a bit deeper into what the impact ratings mean and our recommendations.

The Impact Test

During the UL 2218 test, metal balls of different sizes and weights are dropped onto the shingles from 20 feet above. If the shingle can withstand a 1¾” steel ball (approximately the size of a golf ball), it’s a Class 3 impact shingle. If it can withstand a 2” steel ball (a bit smaller than a tennis ball), it’s a Class 4 shingle. 

Our Recommendations for Impact Shingles

Class 4 shingles are the type of shingle that we recommend for most homes in the area, and it’s the highest designation. A Class 4 shingle has undergone testing to show that it can hold up against the impact of hail 2” in diameter. Class 3 shingles work well for most situations, and they’re the standard shingles installed in most roofs, but if you’re looking for even better protection, the upgrade to Class 4 is the best route. Although most hailstones are under 2” in diameter, we have experienced 2” hailstones before in the area, so Class 4 is thorough protection.

Along with their higher impact resistance, Class 4 shingles offer superior protection against wind, meet building codes, and offer insurance premium discounts from 3% to 15%. Although Class 4 shingles cost more than the other classes, you can expect to recoup the upfront costs through your insurance premium discounts in about five years. You’ll likely end up saving much more than that if your roof goes through a hailstorm.

Still, Class 3 shingles are effective for many homes and remain the standard—and they also offer discounts compared to using Class 1 or Class 2.

If you have questions about the right type of shingles for your roof, you can depend on our team. We not only know the technical details of how these shingles hold up, we’re familiar with the insurance industry and can help you determine how much you’re likely to save on insurance premiums. We also have done extensive repairs for hail damage in Richmond, TX, so we know what homes can go through.

Reign Roofing is Redefining the Roof Buying Process! Contact us today to learn more about your options for durable, impact and wind-resistant roofing materials.

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