Hail Resistant Roofing - Class 4 considered the standard for Calgary shingles

The next hail storm can hit when we least expect it – get your home protected by impact-resistant shingles. Impact-resistant roofing material is often referred to as “IR” roofing shingles, they are designed to help minimize roof damage during severe weather conditions. Hail resistant roofing shingles can more effectively extend the lifespan of your roof.

Hail can come at any time during the warmer months and can cause serious damages to your home’s roof. Calgary has had five damaging hail storms between 2010 and 2020 and is Canada’s No. 1 city for hail according to the Western Financial Group. Your choice of roofing shingles will play a critical role in protecting your home from the elements.

Let’s explore Hail Resistant Roofing available now – we will provide some opinions on specific materials and which one will protect your home from the elements. Impact-resistant shingles have a rating of Class 1 through Class 4.

Hail resistant roofing material in Class 4 impact-resistant rating is hitting the North American market by storm and has been tested to withstand the harsh impact hailstones can have on your home’s roof.

Here is the breakdown of the various roofing non-impact-resistant material shingles can be made of and how the engineering has evolved in the materials used. As a result you will know and understand more about the technology behind these impact-resistant shingles, how they will protect your roof, and what class of impact rating they possess.

Strength and Durability Depends on the Material

Commonly used non-impact resistant roofing shingles can be prone to damages when struck by hailstone or when hit by other debris during storms. Traditional asphalt shingles have come a long way and industry leading roofing manufacturers have engineered shingles that can withstand a greater impact.

Conventional Roofing Materials vs. Hail Resistant Roofing Materials

Even when you look at a clay tile roof you can admire how lavish they look but also you may consider the fragility of the clay shingles. For one they are a bit impractical for snow and hail prone regions and the on-going maintenance can lead to fractured tiles. So you can imagine the damage that hailstones at high-velocity winds can cause. Wood shingles and shakes better, but as wood ages it becomes more brittle and can split, making the roof more susceptible to hail damage, wind uplift, and moisture damages. Similar to wood, asphalt shingles initially fare well against hail, but shingles wear out quickly and become increasingly likely to damage from small hailstones.

Durability and longevity are essential components of a hail-resistant roof. This is why metal roofing is considered one of the best roofing materials for hail-prone regions. It’s also one of the main reasons metal is used so frequently on commercial buildings and industrial facilities. But industrial standing-seam or corrugated metal roofs lack the aesthetic elements that most homeowners require. The choice of material will also impact ease of installation. All asphalt shingles are reasonably easy to install for most roofers, along with rubber, while metal can be more technical.

Traditional Impact-resistant shingles are manufactured in two ways:

  1. A reinforcing, polymer-based mesh is added to the back of a standard asphalt shingle. This mesh is embedded into the asphalt and helps hold the shingle together, preventing the shingle from splitting when impacted by hailstones or other objects.

  2. Rubber-like polymers are added to the asphalt composition. The combination of the polymer blend with the asphalt produces a rubberizing effect, creating a shingle that is more flexible and capable of recovering from hail impact.

How Do Roofing Shingles Qualify for a Class 4 Rating?

In the mid-1990s – after a series of catastrophic hail storms across North America, the roofing industry developed a test to evaluate their products resistance to impact. This standardized test is known as the Underwriters Laboratory 2218 (UL 2218), and is also nicknamed “the steel ball test.” Based on the results of this test, UL assigns one of four ratings to a shingle, with Class 4 being the highest possible rating. The UL2218 Impact Rating is considered the national standard for roof impact resistance.
Small metal ball for hail proof roofing
Class 1

Shingles that can withstand steel balls that are 31.8 mm or 1.25 inches in diameter

Medium metal ball for hail proof roofing
Class 2

Shingles that can withstand steel balls that are 38.1 mm or 1.5 inches in diameter

Medium-large metal ball for hail proof roofing
Class 3

Shingles that can withstand steel balls that are 44 mm or 1.75 inches in diamete

Large metal ball for hail proof roofing
Class 4

Shingles that can withstand steel balls that are 50.8 mm or 2 inches in diameter

What are Impact-Resistant Roofing materials and how are they rated Class 1 - 4

Based on their resistance to the impact of steel balls dropped from varying heights. A UL2218 Class 4 Impact Rating is the highest possible rating for impact resistance.

During this testing method, a steel ball is dropped from a specified height onto an installed roofing shingle several times. The shingle is then turned over and inspected for any breaks or cracks that could potentially allow water to leak through.

The Class 4 test simulates the damaging impact of a 2” hailstone by dropping a 2” steel ball onto the same spot twice from 20’ high. In order to achieve a Class 4 rating, the roofing material cannot exhibit any signs of fracture.

While Class 4 is the highest rating for impact resistance, there are also lower ratings a shingle can receive, such as Class 3 and Class 2. The difference between the ratings is that Class 3 shingles withstand a smaller steel ball dropped from a lower height, and likewise for Class 2.

The best protection is found in metal, rubber and tile roofs, followed by those with Class 3 or Class 4 high-impact-resistant shingles.

Class 4 - Impact-Resistant Roofing Shingles

Class 4 is considered to be the most impact-resistant roofing shingle and If your home lands in the hail-prone area, you will want to consider installing UL2218 Class 4 roofing shingle. Calgary roofs are better protected by Class 4 roofing shingles and below we will outline what makes impact-resistant shingles the right choice.

What are the benefits of installing Class 4, Impact-Resistant Roofing Shingles?

Class 4 roofing shingles are considered to be a premium product and, therefore, may cost more than standard, non-impact resistant shingles. However, due to the various benefits of Class 4, impact-resistant shingles, the extra cost upfront may be a worthwhile investment if you live in an area where hail and wind storms frequently occur.

Class 4, impact-resistant shingles may:

  • Reduce the frequency or repairs or eliminate them all together which is common in non-impact shingles. This means you can relax a bit more knowing you have given your roof its best chance at holding up against the storms. Less damage means fewer unexpected repair expenses.
  • Extend the lifespan of your roof. Your shingles are your roof’s first line of defense. A roof with properly installed, undamaged shingles is better protected season after season.
  • Save you money on homeowner’s insurance and premiums. Contact your insurance provider to learn more!
  • Prevent your insurance premiums and deductibles from increasing at renewal time. Having Class 4, impact-resistant shingles installed may help you keep your existing rates and avoid future increases. Contact your insurance provider to learn more!

If you live in a hail-prone region in Central-Alberta such as Red Deer, Edmonton and Calgary, now is the ideal time to upgrade your roof to a more resistant material. We hope that this

Warranty and More to Know

Warranty is dependent on each manufacturer, but warranty on labour should be universal for all roofing contractors. As a homeowner it is important to know which material is best suited for your home and when it is time to upgrade from traditionally used non-impact resistant shingles we suggest doing it sooner than later. Springtime is a great time of the year to add the checking of the roof to the first on your homes to-do list.

Reminder: Always call a professional and never access your roof alone.

Hail Resistant Roofing Shingles in Calgary are available now to be installed to best protect your roof. We trust that we have provided some opinions on these innovative materials and which one will protect your home from the elements. Hailstorms come at any time and can cause destruction, consider installing Impact-resistant shingles in Class 4 rating.

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