Class 3 vs Class 4 Shingles: Which is Best For Colorado Homes?


As a homeowner, you'll face many decisions, and choosing the right roofing material is among the most crucial. This is particularly true if you're residing in the hail-prone state of Colorado. This guide aims to simplify your decision by comparing Class 3 and Class 4 shingles - helping you select the best for your home.

Understanding Shingle Ratings: What Do Classes Mean?

The roofing industry developed a standardized test in the mid-1990s to evaluate the impact resistance of their products. This test, known as the Underwriters Laboratory 2218 (UL 2218) or the steel ball test, assigns one of four ratings to a shingle, with Class 4 being the highest possible rating.

The testing involves dropping steel balls of different diameters from varying heights onto the shingles to simulate hail pellets. As you might guess, a higher class indicates better impact resistance. 

A roof achieves a Class 3 rating if the sample remains uncracked when struck twice in the same area by a steel ball with a diameter of 1.75 inches. For a roof to receive a Class 4 rating, it should show no damage when hit twice in the same spot by a steel ball measuring 2 inches in diameter.

(Image source: CertainTeed)

Breaking Down Class 3 and Class 4 Shingles

Let's delve into the specific features of Class 3 and Class 4 shingles - key distinctions every Colorado homeowner should be aware of:

  • Durability: Class 4 shingles, with their superior impact resistance, are ideal for areas frequently hit by severe weather, like much of Colorado. Meanwhile, Class 3 shingles, while still robust, are better suited for areas with milder weather patterns.

  • Hailstorm Resilience: Colorado is in the heart of "Hail Alley," which experiences the highest frequency of large hail in North America. Class 4 shingles have the highest rating for impact resistance, making them an ideal choice to withstand hail damage.
  • Cost: Class 4 shingles carry a higher price tag due to their increased durability and lifespan. Yet, they may offer more value over time given their extended longevity and potential insurance benefits.

  • Insurance: It's worth noting that several insurance companies offer premium reductions for homes equipped with Class 4 shingles, thanks to their enhanced resistance to damage. Contact your insurance provider to learn more.

In Colorado, Class 4 shingles are often the most recommended for homeowners due to their superior impact resistance. 

Making an Informed Decision

The choice between Class 3 and Class 4 shingles hinges on your specific needs, budget, and local weather conditions. While Class 4 shingles may initially cost more, their durability and potential insurance benefits could make them a more cost-effective choice in the long run. However, if your area doesn't frequently experience severe weather, Class 3 shingles might be a more economically sensible option.

If you're looking for more information about roofing options in Colorado, make sure to check out our guide on Colorado Roof Types for more information. We’ll help you find the perfect roofing option for your home in Colorado – ensuring that it is up to the task of protecting your family from severe weather conditions.