Class 4 Rated Shingles

Class 4 Shingles By GAF

 As you start looking at the various roofing options that you have available, you will likely notice that some are class 4 rated. It is common to wonder what this means and whether you should opt for class 4 rated shingles. Of course, you can also ask your roofing contractor for more information on them. Most people, however, prefer to have some background information on various roofing materials. This lets you ask more informed questions and get a higher level of information; it also helps you fully understand what your roofer explains to you thanks.


What the Class 4 Rating Means


Glenwood Class 4 Shingle by GAFWhen discussing shingles and other rating materials, class 4 refers to the impact rating, letting you know that the roof in question has an exceptional impact rating.


These impact-resistant roofs are made using extremely durable materials that are high-quality and have a higher level of resistance to hail, wind, and other damage. This reduces the risk of your roof experiencing significant damage in extreme weather.


Essentially, by opting for impact-resistant construction materials, including class 4 shingles, you will improve the protection of your building from potential severe damage.


The UL 2218 classification from the Underwriters Laboratory and the Institute of Business and Home Safety goes together with the class 4 rating.




You can find class 4 shingles made from copper, resin, plastic, or aluminum.


Understanding the Classes


Roofing materials, including shingles, have four classes for impact resistance. Class 1 is the least resistant while class 4 is the most resistant. To test the various classes, the procedure is always the same with some variations. The tests involve dropping steel balls, with each class having its own size of steel ball. While the balls are two inches across for class 4, they are just 1 ¼ inch for class 1.


Keep in mind that each state’s building codes can specify requirements for homes or other buildings to have a certain impact rating. This will depend on where you live, but even if your area does not require a class 4 rated roof, it is always a smart idea.


Characteristics of Class 4 Rated Shingles


The Underwriters Laboratory is responsible for determining the impact rating of various roofing materials. This is done via rigorous tests to test the impact resistance. During the UL 2218 Class 4 Impact Rating test, the team drops steel balls of various sizes on roofing materials. They do so twice in each spot, dropping the balls from between 12 and 20 feet high and at 90 mph.


The classification of the roof or other material depends on how well it handles the impact test. Standard shingles will rupture and crack when the ball is dropped. By contrast, class 4 roofs will not show any signs of tearing or cracking even after the test is done.


To qualify as UL 2218 Class 4 shingles, the material needs to show no signs of stress or cracks after being hit twice by a steel ball measuring two inches in diameter. The entire test occurs in six different spots.


The goal of this test is to test the material’s resistance to hail of varying sizes.


Why Buy Class 4 Rated Shingles


Their impact resistance is the main reason to purchase and install class 4 rated shingles instead of lower-rated ones. Remember that this is the highest impact rating.


Withstanding Weather


Simply put, class 4 rated shingles offer your best chance at your roof withstanding hail with minimal damage. These shingles can also handle winds that reach 110 mph.




You can expect to pay around 10 to 20 percent more for class 4 impact resistance shingles compared to those with lower impact ratings, but even so, you will likely save money. After all, opting for these high-impact-resistant shingles will help you prevent early roof replacement or expensive repairs.



As a bonus, your insurance company may offer a discount if you have a class 4 roof. That can also help deliver long-term savings.


Reduce Future Stress and Wasted Time


By getting more durable shingles that are more likely to withstand harsh weather such as hail, you will also save yourself future stress. The next time a major hail storm comes along, you will be less concerned about your roof. You are less likely to get a leak immediately during the storm, and a roof inspection after the storm is less likely to show extensive damage.


Even if your insurance covers hail damage to your roof, you would still have to spend time finding a roofer, having them complete the inspection, and waiting for the repairs to be done. You may also end up wasting time making other decisions about your roof, especially if the damage is enough to require replacement. Just their ability to minimize the chances of needing to interact with your insurance company is enough of a reason for most people to opt for class 4 rated shingles.


Choosing Your Class 4 Shingles


As you browse, you will notice that most major brands offer class 4 impact resistant shingles, which can make it slightly overwhelming to choose among them.


Confirm the Classification


Start by ensuring that the roofing you choose is classified as UL 2218 Class 4. Some companies try to market their shingles as high-impact with achieving this rating, so look for the specific terms. If it is never directly stated, take this as a warning sign.




Of course, you will also want to think about the price that you pay for the shingles. This will vary by brand, but you should be able to find a reasonable price. Keep in mind that paying a bit more for class 4 shingles is worth it, since they will last longer than shingles with lower classes, saving you money in the long run. That will also save you time spent repairing or replacing your roof after a heavy storm.


Your roofers can give you even more information on class 4 rated shingles, or help you select and install them on your roof.

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