8 Types of Impact-Resistant Roofing Materials

Car covered in blankets during strong hail storm. Car protection against hail during stormy weather

Weather patterns and natural disasters are unpredictable, but a reliable and durable roofing system protects your home and family. Discover 8 types of impact-resistant roofing materials designed to take a beating from Mother Nature and protect you in the most challenging environments.

Why it often pays to choose an impact-resistant roofing material: Impact-resistant roofing materials withstand hailstorms, falling debris, and other external forces, saving you money on repair and replacement costs.

What Are Impact-Resistant Roofing Materials?

Impact-resistant roofing materials enhance a roofing system’s ability to absorb and distribute the force of impacts without sustaining damage. Impact-resistant roofing materials withstand hail, debris, falling branches, and prevent cracks, fractures, and structural issues. 

By withstanding damage, impact-resistant roofing materials lessen the cost of repairing or replacing your roof. For example, the cost to repair a hail-damaged roof ranges from $2,500 and $21,000.

Impact-resistant roofs are important for regions prone to extreme weather, like hailstorms, high winds, tornadoes, or hurricanes.

The key features of a hail-resistant roof are: 

  • Durable materials: Sturdy materials are hail-proof and withstand the force of impact without breaking or cracking. 
  • Enhanced construction techniques: Roofing contractors use specialized installation techniques and roofing products to attach the materials securely to your home’s structure. 
  • Reinforcement: Some materials, like certain types of shingles, require reinforcement to absorb impacts and resist hail damage. 
  • Insurance benefits: Many insurance companies, like State Farm, give discounts to homeowners with roofing materials that have an impact resistance rating. Homeowners can make insurance claims for impact damage, and these policies often come with lower insurance premiums in regions prone to severe weather.

8 Types of Impact-Resistant Roofing Materials

Impact-resistant materials encompass a range of types with unique properties, benefits, and drawbacks.

1. Metal Roofing

metal roof of a house
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Metal roofing can withstand harsh weather, hail, heavy rains, and strong winds. It is a popular roofing solution due to its durability and easy installation. Metal roofing is lightweight, energy-efficient, and fire-resistant. 

One of the key features providing impact resistance is the metal’s durability. Steel, aluminum, and copper are strong metal roofing materials that absorb force without cracking or breaking, though dents can occur. Metal roofs last 40 to 80 years or more, and are recyclable.  

Manufacturers design metal roofing materials with a smooth, hard surface that minimizes damage from flying debris. There are several types of metal roofs, including standing seam metal panels, corrugated sheets, and metal shingles that mimic traditional materials like slate or cedar shake roofs.

2. Slate

completed slate roof
Photo Credit: Bryn Pinzgauer / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Slate roofs are made of natural stone and are a high-end option with a high price tag and exceptional durability. Slate roofs last 60 to 150 years or more, and their strength comes from the slate’s unique geological composition. It is a robust and dense stone capable of handling impacts from hail or debris. 

Slate enriches outdoor aesthetics with its distinct colors and textures. Slate is fire-resistant but requires a sturdy framework to support its heavy weight. Slate roofs are low-maintenance and naturally energy efficient. 

3. Clay Tiles

tiles on a rooftop
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Terracotta clay tiles are the oldest roofing material. Manufactured with a rounded, convex shape, clay tiles absorb and disperse hail impact across their surfaces, providing high-impact resistance. Like slate, clay tiles last 100 years or more and are fire-resistant.  

Terracotta tiles resist fading from UV and salt exposure but may darken with age. Clay tiles are one of the heaviest roofing materials on the market and require adequate structural support. Clay tile roofs are naturally energy efficient, making them ideal for tropical climates like Southern California and Florida.

4. Concrete Tiles

stacked concrete tiles on roof
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Concrete tiles offer the same qualities as terracotta tiles for half the price. Concrete tiles provide modern aesthetics and high-impact resistance due to their composition. They comprise cement, sand, and water. Concrete tiles form an interlocking structure that absorbs and distributes the energy of impacts, making the material an ideal roofing material choice for areas prone to hail storms and inclement weather. 

Concrete tiles are available in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and profiles and are extremely durable. Concrete tiles last 100 years or more and are fire-resistant. They also boast energy efficiency and reduce heat transfer, saving you money on cooling costs.

5. Composite Roofing

A house with Synthetic composite slate installed
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Composite roofing fuses durability and design. Manufactured from a blend of materials like asphalt, recycled plastics, polymers, and fibers, composite roofing offers strength, aesthetics, and sustainability.

Composite roofing’s layered composition provides shock absorption and impact resistance. This durable material lasts between 40 to 50 years with proper roof maintenance and is typically well-insulated. 

Composite roofing is lightweight and available in many colors, textures, and styles. It provides the same benefits as asphalt shingles without granule loss and is UV- and fire-resistant

6. Asphalt Shingles

shingles covering the roof
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Asphalt roofing provides an all-climate and economical solution and is the most popular roofing material in the U.S. Shingles are comprised of asphalt, fiberglass, and mineral granules and offer a protective shield against Mother Nature. 

Hail-resistant shingles have a layered construction that is reinforced with a fiberglass mat and styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS), a rubber-like polymer, to withstand impact energy. Hail-resistant shingles safeguard your home from hail, debris, and moderate windstorms. 

While impact-resistant asphalt shingles are less durable in high winds than some roofing materials, they are a cost-effective solution that is available in a range of colors and styles. Asphalt shingles last approximately 20 years and many are Energy Star rated for energy efficiency. 

7. Rubber Roofing

worker installing rubber roof
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Rubber roofing offers high-impact resistance thanks to its flexibility. Rubber roofing is a unique and durable option composed of ethylene propylene diene monomer (EDPM) and works for a variety of applications, including residential and commercial roofing. 

Rubber roofing absorbs impact without cracking or breaking and is suitable for flat or low-sloped roofs. It has a seamless installation that minimizes leaks. The UV-resistant materials are budget-friendly and last 15 to 30 years while remaining low-maintenance. 

8. Modified Bitumen Roofing

Heating and Melting Bitumen Roofing Felt
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Modified bitumen roofing, also known as built-up roofing (BUR), is one of the oldest types of roofs for low-slope or flat roofs. It comprises multiple layers of asphalt and reinforcing material to enhance durability, flexibility, and impact resistance. 

Layers of fiberglass mat alternate with layers of modified asphalt to improve elasticity, making the roofing system resistant to cracking and damage from temperature fluctuations and impacts. Modified bitumen is UV-resistant and energy-efficient, lasting 20 to 30 years.

How Are Impact-Resistant Roofing Materials Rated?

Independent testing organizations like Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and Factory Mutual (FM Global) specialize in evaluating building materials for performance under various conditions. These organizations rate impact-resistant roofing materials on their ability to withstand impact under simulated real-world conditions.

They rate roofing materials by:

  • Impact testing: Underwriters Laboratories and other organizations use methods like the 2218 test to assess the roofing material’s ability to resist cracks, fractures, and damages. The test uses steel balls of varying weights and sizes dropped at specific heights. 
  • Class ratings: The laboratories place roofing materials into Class 1, 2, 3, or 4 based on impact resistance. Materials with higher class ratings withstand larger, more severe impacts. 

Class Ratings

It is important to select a class rating that aligns with the severity of weather conditions in your area. Classes 1, 2. 3, and 4 represent the four levels of impact resistance for roofing materials, with Class 4 being the best class. 

Impact RatingHail Size
11.25 inches in diameter, quarter-sized
21.5 inches in diameter, ping-pong-ball-sized
31.75 inches in diameter, golf-ball-sized
42 inches in diameter, approximately tennis-ball-sized

How to Decide if Your Home Needs Impact-Resistant Roofing Materials

Consider the following factors when determining whether your home needs impact-resistant roofing materials: 

  • Assess your climate: If your region experiences hailstorms, severe winds, tornadoes, hurricanes, or other forms of harsh weather, impact-resistant roofing might be beneficial. 
  • Evaluate your risk factors: Outside factors influence debris impact like nearby trees or structures. 
  • Understand insurance discounts: Check with your homeowner’s insurance provider to discover potential discounts relating to impact-resistant roofing in your area.
  • Review building codes: Many regions prone to inclement weather require impact-rated roofing materials. 
  • Consider long-term savings: Impact-resistant roofing reduces maintenance and roof repairs while offering longer lifespans. 

FAQ About Impact-Resistant Roofing Materials

What states have the most hailstorms? 

Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, and Missouri recorded the most major hail events in 2023.

What class rating are impact-resistant asphalt shingles? 

Most impact-resistant shingles fall into Class 3 or UL 2218 Class 4. 

Are there impact-resistant gutters? 

Yes. Impact-resistant gutters are available for regions prone to hailstones. Materials like aluminum, steel, vinyl-reinforced metal, and copper provide durability, wind resistance, and impact protection. 

Find a Roofing Contractor Near You

Impact-resistant roofing safeguards your home from hail, debris, and high winds. Whether you choose the versatility of composite roofing or the timeless aesthetics and strength of terracotta tiles, impact-resistant roofing offers increased protection and durability. 

If you are ready to fortify your new roof or next roof replacement with impact-resistant materials, Roof Gnome connects you with the best local roofing contractors near you, so you can determine which impact class is right for your home.

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Kimberly Magerl

Kimberly Magerl is a writer and data analyst specializing in home improvement, DIY, roofing, and solar technologies. She enjoys growing vegetables in her garden, getting outdoors, and transforming her space with DIY projects. A resident of Texas, when she isn't gardening, Kimberly enjoys trying new recipes and cooking with her home-grown herbs.