Are Impact Resistant Shingles Worth It?

June 30, 2020

Metro City Roofing believes the answer is yes!

Better Protection for your Roof

In Colorado, we experience hailstorms each year that do extensive damage to homes, businesses, cars, trucks, and more.

Most homeowners have limited experience with the roof replacement or roof repair process. At Metro City Roofing, we are experts in the new roof replacement and insurance claims process and help customers across the Front Range, from Fort Collins to Denver to Colorado Springs.

Some asphalt shingle products offer better protection than others. The Class 4 Impact Resistant shingle is typically a worthwhile upgrade when replacing your roof.

What is an Impact Resistant Shingle?

Impact resistant shingles are also known as IR shingles or Class 4 Impact Resistant shingles. For this blog post, we will use them interchangeably. These hail impact roof shingles are manufacturer designed, and UL rated to withstand extreme weather and hail damage better, although no shingle is hail proof, and there is no such thing as a hail proof roof.

Class 4 shingles are manufactured with an SBS (styrene-butadiene-styrene)-modified asphalt formula, which is also called rubberized asphalt. These impact resistant roofing materials earn an impact resistance rating by Underwriter Laboratories (UL), specifically the UL 2218 classification, which is the highest impact resistance rating. UL performed testing that involved dropping a two-inch steel ball into a shingle from a 20-foot height to simulate the impact of hail falling at high speeds and checking whether the product fractures or cracks.

The result is that homeowner roofs are more resistant to high wind and most hail damage.

A Brief History of the Class 4 Shingle

In 1996, several property insurance experts in North America partnered with the Institute of Business and Home Safety (IBHS) and the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) to develop the UL 2218 classification – the Standard for Impact Resistance of Prepared Roof Covering Materials. UL 2218 became the national standard for roof impact resistance with a material impact rating from Class 1 to 4, with a Class 4 rating the toughest. The result is based on a shingle’s resistance to impact testing with steel balls simulating 90-mph hailstones of varying sizes.

Roofing manufacturers began producing affordable Class 4 residential roofing materials, previously unavailable before 1997. Insurance companies within established hailstorm locations started an information campaign informing policyholders, agents, roofers, and state insurance departments about the advantages and impact of this new hail impact resistant shingles, which offered reduced roof maintenance and replacement costs. With an impact resistant asphalt shingle (also called a modified asphalt shingle), the rubber-like quality prevents hail from fracturing the fiberglass mat and eliminates early deterioration. Further, the flexibility increases wind resistance, making it harder for high winds to blow these shingles off a roof when properly installed.

Class 4 roofing shingles have been manufactured from aluminum, copper, plastic, and resin for years. The higher price has been the primary disadvantage for many homeowners and commercial property owners. With the modified asphalt shingle, many homeowners became able to better protect their roof and home against wind and hail.

Steel ball simulation test

Underwriter Laboratories’ steel ball test simulates the impact of a hailstone using a steel ball on a shingle, focusing on the shingle’s most vulnerable areas, including the edges, corners, unsupported sections, and joints.

The simulation includes the following:

  • Steel balls are dropped – from 12 feet for a 1.25-inch ball and 20 feet for a 2-inch ball
  • Impact resistant shingles remained intact, even with the 2-inch steel ball
  • To successfully pass the UL 2218 standard, the roof covering, the exposed surface, the back surface, and underneath layers all must show no evidence of tearing, fracturing, cracking, splitting, or rupturing.
 description of Class 4 Underwriter Laboratories 2218 Impact Resistance test with a steel ball

Non-impact resistant shingles will endure cracks and ruptures from the same steel ball test. The shingles granules will be knocked off, leaving it exposed to harmful UV damage. Over time, UV rays will degrade a roof and make it vulnerable to leaks.

This hail simulation test is performed on new shingles – not aged shingles that may already be brittle with age or more susceptible to hail damage. Another factor to consider for your home is your roof’s pitch. Steeper pitched roofs are less vulnerable to most hailstorms than lower pitched roofs. Additional considerations include the type of underlayment used, the existing condition of the roof decking, tree coverage, and more.

Four different shingle ratings

The following lists the four impact ratings and the description of the sample’s impact.

4 different ratings and description from Underwriter Laboratories 2218 steel ball test, with a 4 rating being the more durable sample

There is no such thing as a hail proof roof or hail proof shingle, but the Class 4 Impact Resistant shingle offers the best protection for your roof.

Don’t just take our word, call your local insurance agent or insurance carrier for further details.

Today’s Class 4 Impact Resistant Shingles

Asphalt shingle manufacturers like Owens Corning, Certainteed, and GAF offer Class 4 Impact Resistant roof shingles and complete roof systems with beautiful style and quality, in various shingle designs. Many of these products have a 50-year rating compared to 30-years on a lesser asphalt shingle.

For homeowners and building owners with a flat roof, the International Building Code (IBC) requires that flat roofs must be impact resistant, according to section 1504.7, roof coverings installed on low-slope roofs (roof slope < 2:12) shall resist impact damage.

Manufacturers That Make Class 4 Shingles

Most asphalt shingle manufacturers make impact resistant shingles that meet the Class 4 rating. We’ll name a few here.

Owens Corning

Owens Corning is a leading asphalt shingle manufacturer in the United States, with corporate headquarters in Toledo, Ohio – and manufacturing right here in Henderson, Colorado.

Owens corning offers a Class 4 IR shingle called Duration Storm and recently added a Duration FLEX.


Certainteed offers a variety of IR asphalt shingles and beyond, such as slate or metal roofing tiles and shake. Asphalt shingles include Northgate IR, Landmark IR, Belmont IR, and Presidential Shake IR.


GAF has two impact resistant shingle options – Timberline Armorshield II and the Grand Sequoia. The Armorshield looks like a traditional dimensional shingle but with Class 4 impact resistance. The Grand Sequoia is a more premium wood-shake look with Class 4 impact resistance.


Tamko offers a Heritage IR shingle. Heritage IR is a laminated, fiberglass asphalt shingle featuring an additional polyester mat, which reinforces the entire shingle.

Homeowner Benefits and Insurance Claims

Impact resistant shingles may cost more, but they deliver a strong return on investment, providing increased damage resistance and reduced maintenance costs. Homeowners may eliminate a costly roof replacement with a future hailstorm too. And, promoting your home has a Class 4 Impact Resistant roof is a selling point when selling a home.

Further offsetting the expense of a roof replacement with a premium Class 4 shingle, many insurance companies offer insurance premium discounts to justify this added expense of a Class 4 new roof. Loss mitigation becomes a homeowner-insurer partnership, where both parties share in the responsibility and associated real savings.

Are Impact Resistant Shingles Worth It?

Impact Resistant shingles cost more but are typically worth the investment with better protection for your roof and long-term savings on your insurance company’s homeowner policy.

Also, a Class 4 Impact Resistant roof system can increase your home’s value. Any discount a homeowner receives for a Class 4 roof can be applied to a new owner. The new owner simply needs to validate the Class 4 IR shingle roof with his/her insurance company. At Metro City Roofing, we work with all insurance companies, from Allstate to State Farm to USAA.

The need for impact resistant shingles, however, largely depends on where you live. In a hailprone area like Colorado, homeowners need this type of roofing product.

Following a hailstorm, you may notice your impact resistant shingles have some minor damage and granule loss. The real value that an impact resistant shingle delivers is its design for strength in these extreme weather conditions. They are much less likely to crack and for water from entering a home than traditional shingles.

As we’ve stated above, benefits of a Class 4 impact resistant shingle include savings from maintenance and repairs, premature roof replacement costs, and possible discount to your insurance premium.

At Metro City Roofing, we tell our Colorado customers that no roofing shingle is hail proof, but there are many options for Impact Resistant shingles.

Class 4 Shingles Installation

Installing a Class 4 Impact Resistant shingle is the same as any asphalt shingle. According to the International Building Code (IBC), asphalt shingles must be fastened to solidly sheathed decks. Asphalt shingles can only be installed on roof slopes of 17% of greater (2 units vertical in 12 units horizontal). Fasteners for asphalt shingles can be galvanized, stainless steel, aluminum, or copper with no less than four fasteners per strip shingle. For areas of high wind, additional fasteners may need to comply with the manufacturer’s requirements.

Beyond only a Class 4 Impact Resistant shingle, we recommend installing the matching Impact Resistant ridge cap.

Why Metro City Roofing?

Metro City Roofing is your hassle-free answer to professional roofing services – residential roofing, commercial roofing, restoration, and roof repair. We are hail damage and wind damage roof system experts and have perfected the insurance claim and roof restoration process where you only pay your insurance deductible. Our staff is state-licensed independent adjusters, which allows us to evaluate your property with the same lens as an insurance adjuster. Our professional roofing services staff will settle your hail or wind insurance claim directly, including possible code-related requirements, to ensure that you receive all funds owed to you.

Metro City Roofing provides the best professional roofing industry services in metro Denver, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, Boulder, Highlands Ranch, and across the Front Range. We install the highest-quality roofing materials, such as Class 4 impact resistant asphalt shingles, and aim for homeowner and building owner complete satisfaction at every stage of the new roof replacement process. As a professional roofer, we aim to deliver outstanding customer services and approach every home improvement and roofing project we manage like it is our own home.

Our professional staff is experts in all types of roofing systems, including asphalt shingle roofs, metal roofing (standing seam, metal roof shingles), wood shakes and wood shingles, tile roofs (slate tiles, concrete tiles, clay tiles, synthetic tiles), and flat roof materials (modified bitumen, TPO, EPDM), and more.

We are family-owned and operated and live year-round in the same Colorado community as you and proud to call the Rocky Mountains home. We do not apply high-pressure sales tactics like some scammers and do not descend like vultures following the latest hailstorm anywhere in the United States. Metro City Roofing takes pride in our approach to quality partnerships and associations. Metro City Roofing is an Owens Corning Preferred roofing and general contractor, accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), the Colorado Roofing Association (CRA), and many local Chambers of Commerce. We are a professional roofing company that carries General Liability insurance and Workers Compensation insurance to provide peace of mind for your roof replacement, roof installation, or roof repairs.

We are a roofer that continually strives to differentiate from our competitors in the following ways:

  • Licensed inspectors who inspect your roof and property with the lens of an insurance adjuster; all commercial roof inspections include an evaluation with an infrared camera
  • Professional insurance claims experts who settle your hail damage or wind damage claim successfully
  • Expert sales representatives help customers select the best new roof for their home or business, whether for re-roofing or a new build
  • Quality project managers who provide expert supervision on every roofing project
  • Experienced roof installers who are certified, fully insured and committed to delivering highquality craftsmanship with many years of experience
  • Management staff that understands International Building Code (IBC) and International Plumbing Code (IPC) requirements, along with local code requirements
  • Long-term warranties that cover roof material and quality and are backed by manufacturers

Metro City Roofing is a roofing and building contractor that has worked diligently to earn essential credentials, certifications, licenses with national and local governments and local building departments, and a roofer you can trust.

While there’s no such thing as a hail proof roof or hail resistant shingle, homeowners who opt for impact resistant shingles get a hail resistant roof.

Following a recent storm, consider the professionals at Metro City Roofing.

Contact Metro City Roofing today to schedule your free roof inspection.