How to Know if Your Roof is Impact Resistant

December 27, 2023

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How do I know if I have an impact resistant roof

Have you ever wondered if your roof could withstand a meteor strike? Probably not, but you may have asked yourself if it's built to stand up to more common hazards like hail, falling branches, and random debris blown about in strong storms.

So, how do I know if I have an impact resistant roof? You can determine if your roof is impact resistant by checking the shingle rating, thickness of the decking, age, and building codes for your home, inspecting for specialty features like reinforcement clips and asking previous owners, installers, or professionals about the materials and construction standards used.

Knowing how much punishment your roof can take gives you peace of mind that your home and belongings will stay safe and dry.

Check the Shingles

The roof shingles are your first line of defense against whatever the skies decide to throw your way. If you have asphalt shingles, peek under a corner or edge to see how thick they are. Thinner shingles around 1/8-1/4 inch thick offer basic protection. Heavier 3/8-inch ones indicate impact resistance. Fiberglass composition shingles also typically come in those two thicknesses.

If you’re unsure of your shingle type or thickness, grab a ladder on a sunny day (rainy weather makes roofs slippery), clip on your Superman cape for safety, and go up to investigate further. Just don’t x-ray vision any attic critters—that would be rude.

How Do I Know If I Have an Impact Resistant Roof? Examine the Roof Decking

The decking or sheathing is the solid base the shingles are attached to. Go into your attic with a flashlight to look for markings like “plywood” or “OSB” stamped on the boards. Plywood thicker than 1/2 inch or oriented strand board (OSB) 7/16 inch or greater signal impact resistance.

While you’re poking around under the rafters, check for signs of leaks too. It never hurts to kill two birds with one stone. Or, in this case, examine two roof components at once. After all, what good is an impact resistant roof if water is trickling through anyway?

Learn Your Roof’s Age

How long has your trusty roof been in service? A newly installed one has the advantage of modern impact-resistant building codes and materials. Florida started requiring upgraded wind and impact standards after Hurricane Andrew’s devastating 1992 landfall. So, if your house was built in early 1993 or beyond, you can feel reassured that stronger protection is likely in place.

Of course, a roof’s age doesn’t always correlate with its muscle power against storms. One from the ’60s or ’70s could still be going strong and exceeding expectations, like a senior athlete with medals in shot put and discus. Regular maintenance and repairs help roofs defy Father Time.

asphalt shingle roofing

Inspect for Specialty Features

Several elements boost a roof’s resiliency beyond the standard assembly of shingles, sheathing, and underlayment:

  • Impact-resistant shingles with ceramic coatings or embedded minerals to increase durability
  • Secondary water barrier for extra leakage protection
  • Reinforced roof deck attachments to tie the structure together against wind uplift forces
  • Wind or hurricane clips anchor the roof to walls and beams

Tracking down these special details requires making like Sherlock Holmes with a magnifying glass. So head back up on the roof, Watson, for careful sleuthing of any identifying marks hinting at enhanced impact resistance features.

Consult the Installer or Previous Homeowner

Trying to figure out if your roof meets impact standards on your own feels a bit like those guess how many jelly beans are in the jar contests. So why not just ask someone for the answer?

If possible, start with the installer or contractor who did the roof work. They can confirm the shingle rating, materials used, and building codes followed. The previous homeowners may have paperwork from the roof installation, too.

And if all else fails in getting to the bottom of the mystery, call in a local roofing company or inspector. Let a professional remove any lingering uncertainty over your roof's superhero-like powers to thwart heavy storms. They have ways of telling if a roof meets its kryptonite or not when it comes to standing strong against impacts.

Test Its Mettle in a Storm

The best measure of any roof’s impact defiance comes from seeing it in action under real-world extremes. Pay close attention the next time heavy weather hits. Does the exterior take blows in stride or end up battered and dripping?

Stand in the attic, not too close to the eaves, to check for sunlight peeking through. Also, look closely for water entry and movement of shingles after gusty rain or snow. A few missing or askew shingles aren’t too worrying. However, extensive damage indicates a roof getting tired and losing its grip. Time for replacement.

On the other hand, little to no disruption after a blustery bout shows your home’s helmet did its job protecting everything inside. Chalk up another victory for impact resistance.

A Resilient Roof Means More Stormy Weather Fun

Knowing your dwelling sports a properly hardened roof allows peaceful shelter when thunderstorms and hurricanes come calling. Tuning into emergency alerts still offers wise caution, though. But inside your abode, it’s safe to have popcorn, watch the drama outside, and even invite over neighbors with flimsier roofs.

And suppose an epic meteor shower ever zips Earth’s way. In that case, your sturdy shield overhead should also handle that while providing unobstructed views of the spectacular cosmic display. Because when it comes to a really impact-resistant roof, even a close encounter with a falling star just leaves a magical wish to be made.

contractors working on a roof

In Conclusion

Investing time to understand your roof’s impact resistance gives confidence that your home has a fighting chance against whatever severe weather comes its way. Check for robust shingle thickness, sturdy decking, wind clips, and other reinforcements. Factors in the roof’s age and maintenance history are also important. With a little sleuthing and asking around, you can determine if your roof is ready to spar with storm forces or needs re-bolstering to go the distance. An impact-resistant roof means you can rest easy knowing possessions and loved ones stay shielded on even the stormiest of days.

About The Newton Roofers

Our company has provided quality roof installations and repairs for homes in the local area since 2003. If you are unsure whether your roof meets current impact standards and want professional inspection or installation, give us a call at (617) 652-5999. The experts at The Newton Roofers are here to help you get peace of mind that your roof is ready to face any inclement weather Newton has in store.


Are Class 3 shingles impact-resistant?

Class 3 shingles are considered to be impact-resistant, though they offer moderate protection compared to the most durable Class 4 options. While Class 3 asphalt shingles are not designed to withstand the most extreme hailstorms, they provide adequate defense against everyday impacts from branches, debris, and average weather variability.

How much more expensive is an impact-resistant roof?

The cost increase for an impact-resistant roof compared to a standard one typically ranges from 10-50%. Factors like the roof slope, accessibility, materials selected, and additional reinforcements needed impact the overall price. For example, impact-resistant architectural shingles may run 50% more than a basic asphalt shingle, while adding plywood decking or clips to anchor the roof instead of using standard boards and methods could increase cost by 15-25%. Though premium impact-resistant roofs carry a higher price tag initially, they also provide better protection over time which can end up saving money through reduced maintenance and repairs after storms. The peace of mind alone from knowing your home and valuables are shielded well during extreme weather makes the extra investment worthwhile for many homeowners.

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