BRAMPTON, Ontario — As weather patterns continue to change, the frequency of high winds and hailstorms is on the rise, and homeowners are paying attention to these storm threats more than ever before. Likewise, it should come as no surprise that building product manufacturers are also paying attention to the potential damage that severe weather conditions may inflict.
In the world of roofing, and specifically asphalt shingles, manufacturers like IKO are developing robust products, such as the Nordic line of performance laminate asphalt shingles, to address some of the most challenging conditions that a building may face.
Armed with a layer of polymer-modified asphalt designed to withstand potential damage from hail, IKO’s Nordic shingles have earned the highest marks in industry testing: a Class 4 Impact Resistance Rating on the four-level ANSI/FM 4473 scale.* Quite possibly the most resilient laminate shingles on the market, the Nordic line also features IKO’s ArmourZone® reinforced nailing surface and FastLock® sealant strips to resist high winds. And their ultraviolet (UV) resistant granules ensure that the roof can stand up in any weather conditions, no matter the season.
IKO’s ArmourZone nailing area and FastLock sealant are engineered to help Nordic shingles resist the force of 130 mph/210 kmh winds, reducing the risk of shingles getting damaged or blown off when high-winded storms strike.
The reinforced nailing area, which is wider than that of most competitive products, consists of a tear-resistant woven band on the underside of the shingle. It is marked on the top side of each shingle with lines to help installers put nails where they are most effective. Nails properly applied on or between the lines are less susceptible to the pull-through that some other shingles may experience when extreme force is applied.
Shingles that have been high-nailed above a manufacturer’s designated nail line are especially susceptible to blow-off from nail pull-through. Unfortunately, this issue often only becomes evident after a storm hits. A wide target along the nailing line, like ArmourZone, helps with nail placement and reduces the risk of improper installation.
While shingle blow-off is one of the more common concerns during wild weather, it is not the only threat that a roof system may be exposed to over its life span. As seasons change, the exposed section of the shingle will face UV rays, rain, snow and whatever else Mother Nature can muster up. One of the more potentially damaging weather conditions shingles may face is hail.
These small chunks of ice generally range between 0.2 and 6 inches in diameter, although one of the largest stones recorded in the United States measured in at 8 inches in diameter. Thankfully, hail of that size is not common.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration studies suggest that most pellets range from 0.75 to 1.75 inches in diameter in North America. Hail is, however, one of the most expensive causes of damage to vehicles and buildings. Insurance firm Aon reports that hail-related damages averaged between $8 billion and $14 billion a year in the U.S. from 2000 to 2019.
The coating of polymer-modified asphalt on IKO’s Nordic line of performance shingles acts as a shock absorber to cushion the roof from impacts from projectiles like hail. Nordic features the highest rating available with respect to impact resistance for rigid roofing materials, an ANSI/FM 4473 Class 4 designation.*
Testing for Resiliency
Impact ratings for rigid roofing products range from Class 1 to Class 4. Rankings are based on testing conducted in a laboratory setting on brand-new shingles, using one of two protocols. To earn a rating, roofing products are bombarded with balls of either ice or steel, depending on the test procedure being used. Under prescribed conditions, varying sized balls are launched at a roofing material installation designed to mimic real-world conditions. As shingles age, their resistance to impact forces may be reduced.
For example, the ANSI/FM 4473 protocol uses ice balls and is designed to simulate what a home may experience during a hailstorm. For testing, the projectiles are launched by an air cannon at kinetic energies based on the forces exerted by free-falling hailstones of each of the four specifically sized balls.
To pass the test, a shingle must survive two impacts within close proximity of each other without showing evidence of visible cracking or breakage. Locations targeted include edges, corners, unsupported areas, overlaps and joints — areas that are most vulnerable to impact damage.
Passing the test with a larger ball will result in a product earning a higher impact rating. Class 1 ratings indicate shingles that survive the test with a 1.25-inch ball. A Class 4 rating is earned by surviving impacts from a 2-inch ball.
Although damage from hail is not generally covered under a limited warranty, some property owners may be able to obtain a reduction in their residential insurance premiums based on the quality of the roofing products used on their homes.* When a new roof is considered, it may be worthwhile to have the homeowner speak with their insurance company to inquire if their home may qualify for a discount, especially if the reason for the reroof is because of storm-related shingle damage.
Protecting Against More Than Hail
Wind, rain and projectiles tend to top most lists of damage-causing conditions that a roof needs to withstand, but nice sunny days can also negatively impact a roof’s surface.
Holding the potential to fade shingle colors and foster the development of cracks, the sun’s UV radiation targets a roof from the first day it is installed and can take its toll on an unprotected surface. Nordic shingles feature surfaces with colored, ceramic-covered granules throughout the tops of the shingles. These help protect the asphalt from the harmful effects of UV radiation.
In snow-prone parts of the country, cold, wet weather can present a considerable challenge for a compromised roof system. Water has the ability to get into cracks and freeze, further compromising the structure and making it more susceptible to leaks when the ice thaws. Scheduling an inspection of a client’s roof will allow you to assess the state of the shingles and to repair or replace the roofing system before heavy rains, wind or snow can cause additional damage.
Too much sun can cause damage to some roofing materials, but a lack of sunshine doesn’t avoid potential problems either. Too much shade, rainy weather and humidity can all contribute to issues like algae growth.
Roofing product manufacturers have options available, however, like the special algae-inhibiting granules that IKO has added to its Nordic shingles as well as several of its other lines. These granules are designed to provide long-lasting blue-green algae resistance, preventing the tell-tale streaking and discoloration that often comes with the presence of algae.
A roof is the first line of defense against the fury that nature can display when weather turns foul. The time to prepare a home is before a storm gets brewing, and roofing product manufacturers, like IKO, have shingles and accessories designed to help. Products like IKO’s Nordic line of performance laminate shingles, which offer a Class 4 Impact Resistance Rating and reinforced ArmourZone nailing strip are engineered to stand up to some of the fiercest weather that a home can experience.
*This impact rating is solely for the purpose of enabling residential property owners to obtain a reduction in their residential insurance premium, if available. It is not to be construed as any type of express or implied warranty or guarantee of the impact performance against hail of this shingle by the manufacturer, supplier or installer. Damage from hail is not covered under the limited warranty. For further details concerning the FM 4473 standards, visit the FM Approvals website, www.fmapprovals.com.