What Roof is the Most Hail Resistant?

What Roof is Most Hail HERO (1)

With the unpredictable weather that we have here in Colorado Springs, many homeowners may be concerned if their roof will stand up to the elements. While wind, rain, and heavy snow are typically minor concerns, hail can be the biggest concern to homeowners and their roof. As a Colorado Springs homeowner, you may have questions about how hail resistant your roof is. In this article, we aim to answer some of your questions and better prepare you for hail season in Colorado.

How Hail Damage Shows on Different Materials

It’s important to know what hail damage to your roof looks like. Hail damage presents itself differently on different types of roof materials.

Asphalt Shingles

Hail damage on asphalt shingles often presents as small circular dents or divots. Where the hail impacts and creates this divot, you’ll notice some granular loss. This granular loss will either present as a dot or ring where the impact occurred. The actual shape of the granular loss will heavily depend on how large the hail was. 

Shingle Hail (1)Hail Damage to Asphalt Shingle

Metal Roofing

Hail damage on metal roofing can result in dents or creases in the metal panels. The damage can be subtle or very noticeable, depending on the size of the hailstones. The dents may cause the metal to buckle or bend, leading to water leaks. For larger hailstones, you may even see cracks in the metal of your roof at the impact points.

Clay and Concrete Tile

Hail damage on clay or concrete tiles can appear as cracks or chips on the surface of the tile. These cracks may not be easily visible, but they can allow water to seep into the underlying roofing materials.

Hail photo 5Severe Hail Damage to Concrete Tile

Synthetic Shingles

Hail damage to synthetic shingles often presents as cracks in the shingle at the point of impact. Oftentimes, these cracks at the point of impact will be nearly invisible, and you may not even know you have hail damage until a leak occurs. 

HailSynth04Hail Damage to Synthetic Shingle

It's important to note that hail damage can vary depending on the size, density, and velocity of the hailstones, as well as the age and condition of the roofing materials. It's recommended that you have a professional inspect your roof for any signs of hail damage after a storm.

Material Classifications

Roof material impact classifications are determined through standardized testing methods, such as impact testing using steel balls or simulated hailstones. Manufacturers may indicate the impact resistance class of their product on the packaging or in their technical specifications to help consumers choose the right material for their specific needs and geographic location. It's important to look into local building codes and insurance recommendations. When selecting a roof product don't forget to consider your climate and hail risk to ensure you are choosing the appropriate impact classification. 

Most roofing manufacturers offer a high impact rated roofing solution, often denoted as a “Class 4 Impact Resistant.”

Class 4 Impact Rating

Shingles with a Class 4 impact rating have the highest level of impact resistance and are designed to withstand severe hailstorms and other heavy impacts. To achieve a Class 4 impact rating, shingles must undergo rigorous testing procedures that simulate the effects of large hailstones and other heavy impacts.

The most commonly used testing method is the UL 2218 standard, which involves dropping a 2-inch steel ball from a height of 20 feet onto the material. The material must withstand two hits in the same spot without showing any signs of cracking, tearing, or other damage to achieve a Class 4 impact rating.

Materials with a Class 4 impact rating are typically made of heavy-duty materials such as metal, concrete, or asphalt with a reinforced backing layer to provide extra strength and durability. They are suitable for areas that experience frequent hailstorms and other heavy impacts and are an excellent choice for homeowners who want to minimize the risk of roof damage and costly repairs.

It's important to note that while materials with a Class 4 impact rating are more resistant to hail damage, they are not completely impervious to all forms of impact. Large, dense hail, strong winds, falling tree limbs, and other heavy objects can still cause damage to even the most durable roofing materials. Regular roof inspections and maintenance can help identify any potential issues and ensure that your roof is in good condition to withstand any potential impacts.

Hail Resistance Testing

Roofing materials are tested for hail resistance using various methods, including field testing, simulation testing, and impact testing. This testing helps manufacturers to determine the impact rating and durability of their roofing materials.

Field Testing

Field testing involves observing the performance of roofing materials during actual hailstorms. For this, manufacturers or testing agencies may install roofing materials on test homes and expose them to natural hailstorms. The performance of the materials is then evaluated based on the damage sustained.

Simulation Testing

In simulation testing, roofing materials are subjected to artificial hailstones in a controlled environment to simulate the impact of a hailstorm. The impact energy and size of the hailstones can be controlled to ensure consistency across tests. This method can be used to test a wide range of roofing materials and can provide valuable data on their performance.

Impact Testing

Impact testing involves dropping steel balls onto roofing materials from a specified height to simulate the impact of a hailstone. The roofing materials are rated based on the amount of damage they sustain. This test method is often used to evaluate the impact resistance of roofing materials.

In addition to these methods, some testing agencies may also consider factors such as material thickness, flexibility, and elasticity in their evaluation of hail resistance. By using these testing methods, manufacturers can ensure that their roofing products meet industry standards and provide adequate protection against hail damage.

What’s Next?

In our 44 years of business, we have found that there is no one roofing system that is the best in a hail storm. There are any number of factors that play a role in determining which roofing system is the most hail resistant. We hope that this article has given you some insight into factors that you may want to consider the next time you look to replace your roof in the Front Range area of Colorado.

Since 1979, Holladay Grace has handled every project as if it were our own home. If you’re local to the Colorado Springs community, we would be pleased to help you with all of your roofing needs.

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