Impact (Hail) Resistance-Worth It?

March 24, 2021
TriVAN Roofing

When deciding on the specifications for your next roof, there are many different decisions to make. TriVAN has operated in Texas and Oklahoma since 2001 and a prevalent decision for our friends and neighbors is whether to install a roof that is hail impact rated or not.

The strength and integrity of a roof determines that of the whole building. A damaged roof can lead to large scale water damage and quickly rack up massive repair and maintenance costs. Two of the most common causes of roof damage are severe wind and hail events. Wind and hail related damages accounted for 41% of home insurance claims between 2014 and 2018, while racking up $13 billion in property damage. In 2018 and 2019, Texas was the worst state in the country for major hail events. We all know that roofing materials classified as “hail resistant” are more expensive than alternative options but, are they worth the cost? And what goes into these ratings?

In the 1990’s it was understood that certain roofing materials offered better protection from the elements than alternatives but a series of devastating hail storms forced the roofing industry to realize it needed to set a national standard for protection. Insurance experts teamed up with the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) and Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) to develop the UL 2218 classification. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a not-for-profit independent testing organization that provides verified, field tested information for optimal decision making.

The UL 2218 test sets the standard for resistance to hail through rigorous testing that results in a classification from 1-4. 1 being the least hail resistant, 4 being the most. The test involves dropping different sized metal balls from different heights. The metal balls range in size from 1.25 to 2 inches, and the heights dropped range from 12 feet to 20 feet. Any cracking, tearing, fracturing, splitting, or any other roof vulnerability results in a failed test. For perspective, if the same test was repeated on a 4 inch concrete paver, the paver would split in half. The test is meant to simulate 90 mph hailstones and a class 4 rating is only achieved if the material can withstand multiple drops of a 2 inch steel ball from 20 feet.

Hail impact resistant roofing materials, on average between commercial and residential applications, run about 10-15% more expensive than non hail resistant alternatives. The upfront increase in costs is almost always made up for and more through long term savings (especially in Texas and Oklahoma), making the decision to install class 4 rated roofing membranes a cost effective choice in the long run. The initial costs are recouped in 4 major ways:

For more information on Class 4 Hail Impact Rated roof systems or to schedule your very own roof assessment, give us a call at 877-487-4826!

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