Impact Resistant Asphalt Shingles:
A recent addition to the product lines available in the world of roofing is the impact resistant or IR4 asphalt shingle. These shingles are rated to withstand heavy hail impacts and are tested in laboratories using steel balls rather than hail stones. The makeup of the asphalt/fiberglass mat on these shingles is a bit different than that of regular shingles causing hail stones to bounce off of the shingles rather than dig in.
New products are always met with scrutiny and the reaction to the IR shingles is no different. We have seen some shingles behave better than others and have heard multiple stories of the shingles either withstanding hail, or failing despite their classification. Either way, these shingles are definitely hail resistant, not hail proof.
All in all, the IR4 shingles have become very popular. We recommend installing IR asphalt in the case that a discount is provided by the insurer on the homeowners premium. Though the product promises of hail resistance will all depend on the size, density and velocity of the hail that falls, the reduction in the price of home insurance is always welcome.
Below are some links to IR products that we install and have seen withstand moderate sized hail stones.
GAF Armorshield II: http://www.gaf.com/Roofing/Residential/Products/Shingles/Timberline/ArmorShield
Certainteed Presidential Shake IR: http://www.certainteed.com/products/roofing/residential/luxury/309016