Are Impact Resistant Shingles Worth It?

Are Impact Resistant Shingles Worth It?

As the American household’s average size starts to increase for the first time in over 160 years (Pew Research), there’s a greater motivation than ever to protect our homes from the elements. But what about your business, the source of your income, and that of your employees? There’s undoubtedly motivation to protect your commercial building too.

Impact resistant shingles. They famously provide a strong defense against wind and hail. But are impact resistant shingles worth it when it comes to your business? That’s where our discussion will focus on today.

We’ll examine:

  • Practical applications for impact resistant (IR) shingles in a commercial setting
  • Financial incentives vs. requirements for adopting IR
  • General composition and design of these enhanced materials
  • Key players in the IR shingles market

Let’s dive right in:

Impact Resistant Shingles Withstand the Trauma of Hail Strikes, Without Breaking.

What is Impact Resistant Roofing?

Commercial roofing systems face numerous hazards over their lifetime, both from natural elements and from human-made threats. However, apart from violent wind storms, few have the immediate and overwhelming destructive results as falling debris. Hailstones, falling branches, and other windborne hazards can strike a roofing system with enough force to break fiberglass and rupture shingles. 

Impact resistance is a material’s ability to withstand the force of an object striking it without breaking.

In roofing, an impact resistant shingle should be able to withstand the impact of a moderately-sized hailstone falling at up to 90 miles per hour. The specially crafted material distributes the force so effectively that it leaves the shingle without cracks. Such distinctions are what makes the rating system so crucial for both residential and commercial building protection.

Are Impact Resistant Shingles Worth It? TAMKO Thinks So!
A Look at IR Shingles From the TAMKO Heritage Line. These Feature Class 4 Impact Resistance.

How to Identify Impact Resistant Shingles

Like many building materials, shingles and other roofing products are rated by their impact resistance. Material rating specialists classify them on a scale of 1 to 4, with a Class 4 materials showing the greatest resistance. Keep in mind; not all materials are rated for impact resistance.

Two key organizations govern the rating system and submit classifications for new materials. These are Factory Mutual (FM) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Underwriters Laboratories is particularly famous for its testing and classification systems for impact and fire resistance. Their standard, UL 2218, created the Class 1 – 4 rating system. Most manufacturers follow this standard for rating their materials, and you can easily confirm classifications on their company websites.

So, are impact resistant shingles worth it for your business? Most likely, yes. Let’s take a look and discover why.

Key Benefits of IR Shingles

When it comes to commercial roofing, priorities vary from business to business. For some, energy-efficiency is everything. For others, security against the elements is all that matters. So how can impact resistant shingles help your business?

Leak Protection

Enhanced Weather Defense

When it comes to roofing damage, tattered shingles are the least of your concerns. It’s what comes afterward, water damage that causes the most heartache. While flat roofing installations have a reputation for water problems, cracked shingles provide plenty of rain opportunities to infiltrate the rooftop and damage the interior.

Moisture from rain can lead to ruined insulation, weakened decking, mold growth, and other costly problems.

However, with enhanced impact resistant shingles, you can rest assured that your building has ample protection against both hail and would-be leaks. That means fewer visits from your roofing contractor and more occasional calls with your insurance agency. Of course, there are also thousands of dollars in savings.

Premium Life

Extended Shingle Lifetimes

Your average asphalt shingle comes with a lifetime of 15 to 20 years. That’s assuming the material endures years of solar radiation, hail trauma, pests, and other threats. On the other hand, impact resistant shingles often last up to 30 years. That’s a decade more of additional protection.

If your business prefers to make longer-term investments, IR shingles could be a great call. Their hardened exterior makes them much more likely to last the full length of their estimated lifetime too. Compare shingles from different manufacturers to find the maximum investment impact you desire.

Cost Savings

Improved Cost Effectiveness

Combine a longer estimated life cycle and superior weather protection, and you have the makings for some impressive cost savings. While impact resistant shingles may run 10 to 20 percent higher than traditional asphalt varieties, that cost spreads over a longer lifetime. Since only the most severe storms can inflict significant damage, your chances of early replacement during those 30 years are wonderfully slim.

If your building insurance company offers rewards for high-grade IR shingle installations, you can add even more savings into the equation. Many insurance agencies publish a list of roofing materials that qualify for credits. Here’s an example from State Farm. So, are impact resistant shingles worth it from a financial point of view? If your business can afford the upfront, premium material costs, then yes.

Understanding IR Shingle Design

One thing to keep in mind, shingles may incorporate any number of alternative materials for added strength. Some of the most commonly found additions include:

  • Plastic
  • Specialized resin
  • Copper
  • Aluminum

Alternative Materials

Copper is One of the Many Durable Materials That an IR Shingle May Employ. Source: Owens Corning

Metal shingles are incredibly popular for their outstanding defense against weather threats. In lighter colors, they produce a reflective barrier against sunlight. With the subsequently reduced heat gain, business owners (or homeowners) earn incredible energy savings during the daylight hours. Are impact resistant shingles worth it when it comes to the premium cost of metal? That’s up to your company budget, but the 50+ year lifetime of commercial metal roofing is indeed impressive.

Are Architectural Shingles Impact Resistant?

Many building owners will be familiar with the impressive design of architectural shingles. Their laminated installation approach creates stronger cohesion across the entire roofing structure. They also incorporate thicker, heavier material that counteracts heavy winds (some can withstand wind speeds of 120 miles per hour). Architectural shingles’ unique installation method also makes them particularly suited for roofing slopes too steep for traditional asphalt styles.

Now, are architectural shingles impact resistant? In many cases, yes.

Practically any material can be tested and rated for impact resistance, so many manufacturers advertise their laminate shingles as impact resistant. GAF’s Timberline® ArmorShield™ II SBS Modified IR Shingles, for instance, are advertised as an impact resistant architectural product. With that said, you should always confirm with your contractor (and perhaps the manufacturer’s website) if you aren’t sure whether Underwriters Laboratories standards certify a particular solution. Be sure to check with your insurance agency too, and see whether they acknowledge the product in their incentives program.

Not all architectural shingles will be rated for Class 4 resistance, though thicker material will make many of them eligible for lower ratings.

Key IR Shingle Manufacturers

There are quite a few roofing material manufacturers out there in the world. Some are worth your company’s investment, while others are better left alone. If you’re going to make the deeper investment into more resilient commercial roofing, it pays to buy from a reputable brand. While there are plenty of names to choose from, below are four of the most prestigious IR shingle roofing brands.


TAMKO Building Products

A historically dependable brand, TAMKO announced a brand new addition to its Heritage IR shingle line in early February this year. These TAMKO shingles utilize a polyester mat for additional reinforcement against impact trauma. The extra mat also strengthens the common bond areas and sawtooth of the shingle. The seasoned company offers a Limited Lifetime Warranty, plus a 10-year coverage period to repair or replace any shingles with manufacturer defects. 

Find more information about the 10-year Full Start specifics here.

Owens Corning

Owens Corning

A world-renowned manufacturer in roofing and other building industries, Owens Corning knows how to create dependable products. Owens Corning shingles from the Duration STORM line feature polymeric backing for more robust protection against impact trauma. Their SureNail Technology also produces a much firmer grip than the average commercial shingle, offering great defense against uplifting wind force. 

Owens Corning shingles come in a variety of colors, from Antique Silver to rich Brownwood. Like other top manufacturers, the company also provides a Limited Lifetime Warranty for its IR shingle products. Finally, the Duration STORM IR shingles come with algae-resistant StreakGuard, a very helpful feature in consistently high humidity areas.



Institutions often recognize CertainTeed for its generous warranty provisions and as a trendy brand among residential and commercial property owners. The company offers a limited lifetime warranty (transferable), like most manufacturers. Not to be outdone by TAMKO, CertainTeed shingles in the Landmark IR line also come with a 10-year SureStart warranty, covering any incurred labor and replacement costs due to manufacturing defects. On top of that, CertainTeed also offers a 15-year warranty for wind-resistance (up to 130 miles per hour).

CertainTeed’s fiberglass design also comes with a Class A fire-resistance rating (the best) from Underwriters Laboratories, making it an attractive option for security-conscious business owners.


GAF (Timberline)

One of the unique features of architectural shingles is the three-dimensional aesthetic they provide. GAF takes the design further with its unique feathering technique, which instills a stronger feeling of depth to a commercial rooftop. GAF’s ArmorShield II SMS Modified IR Shingles incorporates this beautiful “shadow band” element while maintaining a powerful shield against impact trauma. The result is an equally stylish and robust rooftop.

This line of GAF shingles also features StainGuard protection against algae growth, keeping your roof vibrant and stain-free. ArmorShield II boasts a 4.3/5 contractor rating on Research Roofing, with exceptionally high marks for durability and longevity. 

Consider Whether Durability, Longevity, Customization, Color Options, or Aesthetics are Most Important to Your Business.

Choosing Your IR Shingle

As always, we come back to the question, “Are impact resistant shingles worth it?” Ultimately, answering that question and finding your ideal shingle depends on your company’s priorities. There are a handful of qualities that we need to consider before we deliver the final judgment.


Design and Color Options

Asphalt shingles are a well-established solution among homeowners and commercial organizations. Because of their popularity, manufacturers may produce dozens of attractive options that cater to your exact color tastes. They also come in many different styles for a more visually stimulating appearance. When your business wants to stand out from the rest, a stunning roof can be a real asset.

With impact-resistant shingles, however, manufacturers often have limited options available. Of the four brands we mentioned earlier, each company offers less than ten color schemes. Architectural shingles provide a sense of depth but again face the same color restrictions.

Are impact-resistant shingles worth it from a purely visual design standpoint? Maybe not.


Storm Resistance & General Durability

Impact resistant shingles are remarkably tougher than your garden-variety asphalt products. If you install one of these enhanced roofing systems, you can expect little to no damage during moderate hail storms or windstorms. That also means a reduced likelihood of rooftop leaks, a costly water damage source for businesses around the country. 

Are impact resistant shingles worth it in terms of raw strength and protection? Absolutely. The peace of mind and added defense for your building are certainly worth the premium.


Price Vs Payoff

From a financial perspective, paying 10 to 20 percent more during your next roof replacement may feel like a challenging investment. With that said, IR shingles typically last a full decade over traditional asphalt shingles. They also have fewer (if any) instances of damage requiring early replacement. Your company may also qualify for incentives with your building insurance company.

Are impact resistant shingles worth it from a financial perspective? Yes, especially in a long-term cost-analysis.

Find a Local Contractor

Are you looking for insight on your next commercial roof replacement? Our team at Roofer’s Guild would love to help you connect with a trusted professional in your community. Our roofing contractors come with the essential certifications, ratings, and experience you need for your most important commercial projects.

Call (877) 532-3852 To Discuss Impact Resistant Shingles