What does impact resistant mean?
According to Underwriters Laboratories Inc., "The classifications for impact resistance are expressed as Class 1, 2, 3 or 4, which relate to a roof covering's ability to withstand impacts from 1-1/4, 1-1/2, 1-3/4 and 2 in. diameter steel balls, respectively." * A complete list of the criteria used to rate roofing materials can be found here.
Some rigid roof types (such as tile and stone) may be classified as impact resistant under FM Global's FM-4473 test standards, which uses ice instead of steel balls.
Where can I research impact-resistant roofing materials, manufacturers and dealers?
The best way to research UL-certified roofing material manufacturers is to first ask local roofers what UL 2218 Class 4 impact-resistant materials they have available for purchase, and what brands they would recommend.
Once you have a list of potential brands, visit the Underwriters Laboratories' online directory of UL-certified manufacturers here. The directory shows the name of the manufacturer, the corporate address, the name of the product that is rated and the specific UL rating.
For additional details about a particular product (i.e. color options), visit the manufacturer's website.
If you are completely replacing an asphalt composition or wood shingle roof, you may want to consider replacing your roof with a more permanent roofing material, such as metal, stone or tile. Many of these rigid roof types are impact resistant, qualify for insurance credits and may have coverage options which are not available to other, more common roof types.
How do I buy an impact-resistant roof?
If you have already selected a roofer:
Most roofing specialists who use impact-resistant materials should understand the phrase "impact resistant." To clarify your request, specify that you want materials that:
- Are tested and rated impact resistant for hail
- Are marked by the Underwriters Laboratories (rated and marked UL 2218 Class 3 or 4)
- Will give you a credit on your homeowners insurance
Ask the sales representative to provide you with the following information about the impact-resistant products that the company sells:
After you have received information about potential roofing materials from your contractor, visit the manufacturer's website to verify that they make that specific shingle and that it is rated impact resistant.
- Manufacturer (i.e. TAMKO®)
- Name of the Shingle or Roofing Material (i.e. "Lamarite® Slate Composite Shingle", "Lamarite Shake")
- Rating (i.e. UL 2218 Class 4 formed plastic shingles)
- Description (i.e. Color: Dusk Grey; Size: 5-, 7-, and 12-inch)
Once the roofing materials have been delivered, check to make sure that the packaging reflects the shingles you purchased. The name and color of the shingle, as well as the UL rating, should be on the factory label. Note that this information may or may not be printed on the individual shingles.
If you have chosen a roofing product you want, but you don't yet have a roofer:
Many manufacturers have lists of recommended contractors. For example, TAMKO has a tool on their website that allows you to search for distributors/dealers by ZIP code. Some manufacturers will even "factory certify" roofers. For example, a roofer can be factory certified to install Elk roofing products.
Once you have located a contractor, be sure to verify the quality of their work and check their references. Several large building supply retailers (i.e. Lowe's and Home Depot) hire out the actual labor for a job, so it is crucial to take the time to research the contractor that will be completing the installation of your roof. Verify that the roofer is licensed, insured and bonded and has no unresolved consumer complaints filed against them.
Finding a reputable roofer>>
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Roofing Information from the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS)>>