As the average size of the American household starts to increase for the first time in over 160 years (Pew Research), there’s 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 certainly motivation to protect your commercial building too!
Impact resistant shingles. They famously provide 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.
- 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!
What is Impact Resistant Roofing?
Commercial roofing systems face numerous hazards over their lifetime, both from natural elements and from manmade threats. Apart from violent wind storms however, 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. This is what makes the rating system so important for both residential and commercial building protection.
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 clearly 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?
Enhanced Weather Defense
When it comes to roofing damage, tattered shingles is actually the least of your concerns. It’s what comes afterwards, water damage, that causes the most heartache. While flat roofing installations have the reputation for water problems, cracked shingles provide plenty of opportunity for rain to infiltrate the rooftop and damage the interior.
This could lead to ruined insulation, weakened decking, mold growth, and other costly problems.
With enhanced impact resistant shingles however, 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 fewer calls with your insurance agency. Of course, there’s also thousands of dollars in savings.
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!
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 is spread out over a longer lifetime. Since only the most severe storms can inflict significant damage, your chances of early replacement during that 30 year period 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
So how do shingle manufacturers make IR products so durable against weather hazards? For starters, they usually deal away with the typical asphalt formula. GAF shingles often combine asphalt with styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS), a rubber-like polymer, for higher durability and crack resistance. CertainTeed shingles, on the other hand, utilize two layers of laminated asphalt on top of reinforced fiberglass.
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…
- Specialized resin
Metal shingles are particularly 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 some amazing 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 certainly 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 the force of heavy winds (some can withstand wind speeds of 120 miles per hour). Architectural shingles’ special 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 being said, you should always confirm with your contractor (and perhaps the manufacturer’s website) if you aren’t sure whether a particular solution is actually certified by Underwriters Laboratories standards. 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 their 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 brands in IR shingle roofing.
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 additional 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.
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 stronger protection against impact trauma. Their SureNail Technology also produces much stronger grip than the average commercial shingle, offering fantastic 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 areas with consistently high humidity.
A very popular brand among residential and commercial property owners, CertainTeed is often recognized for its generous warranty provisions. 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.
One of the prized features of architectural shingles is the three dimensional aesthetic they provide. GAF takes the design further with their special 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 strong and stylish 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 particularly high marks for durability and longevity.
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 judgement.
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 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 offer 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
Put simply, 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 source of water damage 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 point of view, paying 10 to 20 percent more during your next roof replacement may feel like a tough investment. With that being said, IR shingles typically last a full decade over traditional asphalt shingles. They also have fewer (if any) instances of damage requiring early replacement. You company may also qualify for incentives with your building insurance company!
Are impact resistant shingles worth it from a financial perspective? Definitely, especially in a long-term cost-analysis.
Find a Local Contractor!
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 contractors come with the essential certifications, ratings, and experience that you need for your most important commercial projects.
To start your search, check out our Roofer Directory or call our office at (877) 532-3852!