What are impact resistant shingles?

When you’re talking about home improvement, there’s nothing more important than a sturdy roof. It’s the first line of defense against all that nature throws at you (especially in the South, where hurricanes often have a field day with weaker roofs throughout the summer and fall). Every homeowner needs a roof which will hold up against the elements – after all, who wants to replace their roof every three years because leaks have turned their living room into a private swimming pool? This is where impact-resistant shingles come in. In this post, we’ll cover how these shingles work, why you need them, and what you ought to look for when you’re planning to buy — all so that you can get the roof you deserve.

What exactly is an impact-resistant shingle?

In short, impact-resistant (IR) shingles are those which have been reinforced some way to allow them to hold up against Mother Nature, often through a reinforced polymer-based mesh placed under the shingle’s traditional asphalt. This blend makes the shingle exceptionally durable, yet still flexible enough to accommodate substantial tension, striking a crucial balance between rigidity and stretch which allows your roof to be extremely resistant to failure under heavy under heavy pressure. Consequently, IR shingles are some of the best roof shingles on the market, insulating your home from hail, sleet, and heavy rain.

Why do I need impact-resistant shingles?

Of course, some of the benefits of that level of insulation are far more wide-reaching than you might at first believe. IR shingles are crucial when it comes to:

Roof longevity: When your shingles aren’t made to withstand inclement weather, it only takes a few years for hail and sleet to start producing tears in your roof, small enough to go unnoticed until you feel water dripping on your head in the middle of the night, seeping in through one of these openings. Once this happens, you’ll inevitably pay large sums of money to get your roof repaired (assuming you prefer a dry scalp), fixing the problem for the moment at a substantial cost. However, without IR shingles, you’ll only be putting a bandage over the deeper wound, and you’ll have to deal with those pesky leaks yet again in a few short years. However, if you start out with IR shingles, these repairs would be unnecessary, keeping you and your family comfortable for years – or even decades – longer. 

Market appeal: If you’ve ever tried to sell a home, you know how grueling the process can be. So, make it a little easier for yourself with IR shingles. Buyers love to know that they’ll be safe from the elements when purchasing a new home, so they’ll be far more likely to buy when they see IR shingles lining the roof.

Saving money: It goes without saying that the fewer repairs you need, the less money you’ll have to put toward your roof. Consequently, though impact-resistant shingles have a moderately higher upfront cost, they pay for themselves in no time due to their long lifespan. However, did you know that in addition, many insurance companies give their clients a discount if they can prove they’ve installed IR shingles? Homeowner’s insurance can often be painfully expensive, so every penny saved is worthwhile. Check with your provider to see whether you can save in this way.

Which shingles are the most impact-resistant?

So, how do you know which shingles are impact-resistant? Well, it’s pretty simple. Most shingles are evaluated for impact resistance using the steel ball test, an experiment in which a small steel ball is dropped onto the shingles from twenty feet above to simulate the damage done by hail. The results are then used to place the shingles into one of four categories:

Class Description
Class 1 The sample resisted being hit twice in the same spot by a steel ball with a diameter of 1.25 inches.
Class 2 The sample resisted being hit twice in the same spot by a steel ball with a diameter of 1.5 inches
Class 3 The sample resisted being hit twice in the same spot by a steel ball with a diameter of 1.75 inches
Class 4 The sample resisted being hit twice in the same spot by a steel ball with a diameter of 2 inches

So, if you want the most impact-resistant shingle on the market, you should definitely keep an eye out for a Class 4. The good thing is, most shingles which are marketed as impact-resistant are Class 4’s, though some Class 3’s may slip into that classification as well. Because of that, when in doubt, always check your shingle’s class rating to be sure you’re getting the best option available.

IR shingles truly are a game-changer in the roofing market, keeping your roof strong and sturdy for decades on end. So, if you’re interested in protecting your home while also improving its value and resiliency (and saving a little money along the way), they’re a worthwhile addition to your home improvement repertoire.

Still have questions? Baker Roofing is the trusted name in roofing all throughout the Southeast. Please don’t hesitate to contact our team to talk through your options and ensure you’re getting the roof you deserve.