What Is A Class 4 Shingle? Are They Really Impact Resistant?

Posted on May 29, 2024

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Class 4 Shingle

When it comes to your roof, it is important to ensure that it can last and protect you from harsh climatic conditions. Hail storms are a rising issue in parts of the Midwest, and roofs must be created with tough materials that can withstand this severe weather. 

Class 4 shingles are a popular impact-resistant option for roofs. Our team at Kickapoo Roofing has installed Class 4 shingle roofs on many homes in the La Crosse, WI, area. In this blog post, we will discuss Class 4 shingles and how they increase the toughness of your roofs. 

What is a Class 4 Shingle?

Class 4 or impact-resistant shingles are a type of roofing material designed to withstand severe impacts from hailstones and other airborne debris. They are classified based on a standardized testing system developed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), which evaluates their ability to resist impact damage.

The UL testing process involves firing steel balls at various speeds and angles onto the shingles to simulate the impact of hailstones. Class 4 shingles are the highest rating in this classification system, meaning they can withstand the harshest impacts without sustaining significant damage.

How Do Shingles Qualify as Class 4 for Impact Resistance?

These shingles undergo a rigorous qualification test, generally known as the steel ball test or UL 2218 assessment, to earn the Class 4 impact resistance rating. In this test, a 2-inch diameter steel ball is dropped twice onto the shingles from a height of 20 feet, simulating the force of a severe hailstorm. If the shingles can withstand this intense impact without sustaining cracks, dents, or losing granules, they are deemed Class 4 shingles. These shingles are capable of providing exceptional protection against even the harshest weather conditions. 

The steel ball test is a stringent measure of a shingle’s durability and resistance, ensuring homeowners can rely on the superior impact-resistant performance of Class 4-rated roofing materials.

Are Class 4 Roof Shingles Impact Resistant?

Yes, Class 4 roof shingles are highly impact-resistant. As mentioned above, the tough testing process ensures that these shingles can withstand the severe effects of hailstones up to 2 inches in diameter. 

This level of robustness is achieved through special construction techniques and specialized materials, such as reinforced fiberglass mats, rubberized asphalt, or modified polymer, which provide increased flexibility and strength.

Additionally, some manufacturers incorporate impact-resistant granules or coatings on the surface of the shingles, further enhancing their ability to withstand severe impacts without cracking, denting, or losing granules, ensuring long-lasting protection for your roof.

What Are The Pros Of Class 4 Shingles?

Class 4 shingles come with numerous advantages that make them a good choice. Here are a few positive features of Class 4 shingles:

Improved Durability 

The primary benefit of Class 4 shingles is their ability to stand tough in severe weather conditions, including hailstorms, without sustaining significant damage. This increased durability can help prevent costly repairs or premature replacements.

Enhanced Appearance 

Many Class 4 shingles are designed with a unique and attractive appearance, featuring various colors, textures, and styles to complement your home’s aesthetic. These shingles provide an added premium look to your roof.

Increased Property Value

Installing impact-resistant roofing shingles can increase the overall value of your property and can be appealing to potential buyers.

What Are The Drawbacks Of Class 4 Shingles?


Class 4 shingles are typically more expensive than lower-grade asphalt shingles, which can be a con for homeowners on a tight budget.


The Class 4 shingles are heavier than standard shingles due to the additional layers and specialized materials. For homes that are older and have a lower weight capacity, this can be an issue. So, consult a professional contractor before you decide on impact-resistant shingles. 

Potential for Granule Loss

Over time, Class 4 shingles can experience granule loss, which can affect their appearance and potentially expose the underlying mat, reducing their effectiveness in protecting the roof.

Some Popular Class 4 Shingle Options

Here are some popular Class 4 shingle options available on the market:

#1 CertainTeed Presidential Shake® IR Shingles

Presidential Shake® IR shingles are an excellent choice due to their durability, luxury appearance, and layered construction for superior protection. These shingles are available in five colors: Classic Weathered Wood, Autumn Blend, Charcoal Black, Weathered Wood, and Shadow Gray.

#2 GAF Timberline® AS II Shingles

Gaf timberline® as ii shingles

The GAF Timberline AS II series is a range of Class 4 shingles that not only withstand hail but also protect your roof from wind and algae damage. With advanced adhesive strips, these shingles offer superior wind uplift resistance, firmly adhering to your roof and preventing potential blow-offs during high wind events. Furthermore, the algae-resistant properties help maintain the attractive appearance of your roof by inhibiting the unsightly streaks and discoloration caused by algae.

#3 Owens Corning TruDefinition® Duration Storm® Shingles

Owens corning trudefinition® duration storm® shingles

TruDefinition Duration Storm shingles feature WeatherGuard® Technology with a polymeric backing, providing industry-leading impact resistance and potential insurance discounts. Plus, Owens Corning’s patented SureNail® Technology ensures durability and gripping power.

#4 Atlas StormMaster® Shake Shingles

Atlas stormmaster® shake shingles

StormMaster® Shake shingles feature Core4® Technology for superior protection, enhanced with 3M Scotchgard™ Protector to resist black streaks, and 3M™ Smog-Reducing technology that fights air pollution, providing ultimate peace of mind against nature’s extremes. These shingles are available in various colors including, Aspen Grove, Grand Teton, Midnight Lake, Moonlight Beach, and Copper Canyon.

#5 IKO Armourshake™ Shingles

Iko armourshake™ shingles

IKO Armourshake shingles feature a tough, woven fiberglass-reinforced base mat, providing superior tear-resistance and durability. The Armourshake series is available in a variety of stunning color blends that replicate the natural beauty of cedar shakes, enhancing the curb appeal of any home. 

The Cost of Class 4 Shingles

One primary consideration when choosing Class 4 shingles is the cost. Due to the specialized materials and construction techniques, these impact-resistant shingles typically cost more than standard asphalt shingles. 

On average, the cost of Class 4 shingles is estimated to be $1 to $2 per square foot for materials alone. However, the upfront cost must be weighed against the potential long-term savings from reduced repair and replacement costs and any insurance discounts you may qualify for.

Class 3 vs. Class 4 Shingles

While Class 4 shingles offer the highest level of impact resistance, there is also a Class 3 rating for shingles that offer moderate impact resistance.

FactorsClass 3 ShinglesClass 4 Shingles
Hailstone DiameterUp to 1.35 inchesUp to 2 inches
CostModerate CostHigher cost due to specialized materials and extra reinforcement

It’s important to note that while Class 3 shingles offer some impact resistance, they may not provide the same level of protection as Class 4 shingles in areas prone to severe hailstorms or windstorms.

Call Kickapoo Roofing for Roof Replacements in La Crosse, WI

Kickapoo Roofing is a prestigious GAF Certified™ roofing contractor dedicated to delivering exceptional roofing solutions that stand the test of time. With our commitment to quality, we take pride in our skilled team of proficient roofers, who are trained to install high-quality roofs that enhance the aesthetic appearance of your property and provide durability and protection.

Whether commercial or residential, Kickapoo Roofing is here to cater to your unique requirements with custom solutions. We ensure that your roofing system remains in good condition throughout its lifespan.

Contact Kickapoo Roofing today to schedule a consultation with our expert team. With our exceptional roofing services, we can help you protect your investment and elevate the beauty and functionality of your property. Call us today at (608) 352-8688 for a free consultation or more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

A.Class 4 shingles are renowned for their durability, but no roofing material lasts forever. Their expected lifespan varies, but most manufacturers provide 20 to 50 year warranties.

While designed for extended service life, the actual lifespan of Class 4 shingles depends on specific circumstances, proper installation, and adherence to manufacturer recommendations. Environmental factors like extreme weather, UV exposure, and temperatures can accelerate aging and deterioration. To estimate an accurate lifespan, consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or a local roofing contractor.

A. Consider creating a color palette or consulting with a professional to ensure your chosen downspout colors will complement your home’s overall appearance. This will help prevent any color clashes and achieve a cohesive look.

Class 4 Shingle
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