Class 4 shingles represent the toughest, most durable roofing material available. Receiving a Class 4 rating means the material has passed strict engineering testing by independent laboratories. Before Class ratings became the industry standard, stronger materials were not always used as customers balked at the high price tag.

However from the late 1990s into the early 2000s, an increased number of homes and businesses began opting for Class 4 shingles as the benefits of impact resistant materials became clear to customers. In Texas, the 1998 Insurance Commissioner required Texas insurers to issue premium discounts to policy holders who installed Class 4 roofs. And in southern Florida, building codes may soon require Class 4 roofing to ensure impact and wind resistance up to 100mph.

There seems to be more widespread recognition of the benefits a Class 4 rating offers. While a Class 4 roofing material may cost 10%-20% more upfront, the value is worth it in the long run. Possible long term benefits in investing in a more durable roof covering include:

-Insurance policy premium discount
-Reduced roof maintenance costs
-Prolonged the life of your roof and eliminating pre-term roof replacement
-Better resale value of home or commercial property

Engineering behind roof materials has gone even further in recent years. Even stronger roof coverings may become available soon as manufacturers experiment with substances that are new to the roofing industry but have proved durable in other applications. For example, shingles made from an “engineered polymer” make for a very light weight, high performing roof covering. The substance is 100% recyclable and holds up remarkably well within a wide temperature range. Enviro-Guard LLC is a Tulsa-based company working to develop roofing materials including engineered polymers. One Enviro-Guard employee notes, “They’re tough as nails. I don’t think a six-inch hailstone would penetrate them. The defense department was even considered testing materials of this type on military tanks.”