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Which Roofing Shingles Material Should I Choose? Pros & Cons

by Mike Powell

in Roof Hail Damage, Roof Shingles

Pros & Cons of Types of Roofing Materials

Select a roof cover for your home that will perform better in high winds and hail storms.

Step 1

Understanding the characteristics of roof covering materials

When choosing roofing to address hail and high wind risks:

Look for materials rated by UL 2218 or FM 4473 as Class 3 or 4, which indicates they have been tested and found to stand up to increasing levels of hail damage.

Make sure the roof cover you choose is rated for the wind speed in your area. For example, shingles meeting the ASTM D 3161 Class F standard are rated for wind speeds up to 110 mph, while shingles meeting the ASTM D 7158 Class H standard are rated for wind speeds up to 150 mph.

Proper installation is a critical step in ensuring optimal performance in high winds.

Asphalt Shingles:

Relatively low cost, light weight, and easy to install
Good fire resistance (usually Class A)
UL 2218 Class 3 and 4 impact resistance is available, should be used in hail-prone regions
Available with wind warranties up to 130 mph, if installed in accordance with manufacturer’s high wind requirements
Look for products that meet ASTM test standards for wind

Metal Roofing Material

Long life
Lightweight
Popular for low and steep-slope roofs
UL 2218 Class 4 products rated for impact resistance are available, but often receives cosmetic damage from hailstorms
Products available with Class A fire rating
Can be installed for high wind requirements

Slate Roofing Material

Very strong
High quality slate can outlast most other roofing materials
Requires special skill and experience for installation, which can affect cost
Heavy weight; your contractor should verify the structure can hold the weight if you are replacing another kind of roofing material
Can meet FM 4473 Class 3 or 4 impact resistance depending on slate

Look for products with a Class A fire rating

Tile Roofing Material

Solid, long-lasting product
Products available with FM 4473 Class 3 or 4 impact resistance
Can be more permeable than other products if exposed to blowing rain and requires a high quality, well sealed underlayment
Heavy weight; your contractor should verify the structure can hold the weight if you are replacing another kind of roofing material
Proper installation is critical in high wind areas
Look for products with a Class A fire rating

Wood Shakes

Better in dry climates
Special underlayment installation generally required in areas with high humidity
Thinner products can be susceptible to hail damage, especially after aging
Some building codes limit use because of wildfire concerns;
Some fire retardant treated products meet a Class B fire rating;
Class A “assembly” fire rating can be achieved using a Class B roof covering and fire resistant underlying materials
Often used in wrong climates for cosmetic reasons

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