Selecting the Right Roofing Material

To achieve optimum roof performance in high winds and hailstorms:

  • Look for roofing 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 severe hailstorms.

  • Make sure the roof cover 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:

  • 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:

  • Quarried in the Northeast and Virginia

  • Very strong

  • High quality slate can outlast most other roofing materials

  • Requires special skill and experience for installation, which can affect cost

  • It is a heavy material, so 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:

  • 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, requiring 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:

  • 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

Always consult with your local building department before installing a new roof to make sure you comply with all local requirements.