High Winds and Roof Shingles: What Consumers Need to Know

New information classifies asphalt shingles according to wind zones

New York (November 28, 2005) – Consumers ready to re-roof their home, or choose a roof for a new home, typically have to decide on materials, colors, styles, and price. But back-to-back years of unprecedented hurricane seasons have added urgency to another consideration homeowners should not overlook when buying roof shingles: wind resistance. Asphalt roof shingles are not only available in numerous colors, shapes and textures — they now also meet new high-wind standards.

A simple-to-use Layman’s Paper titled, “New Wind Standards for Asphalt Shingles” makes clear what consumers need to know when buying wind-resistant shingle products. It includes a new wind-resistance classification system developed by the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA), based on 14 years of research and wind tunnel testing. This classification system is now incorporated in the International Code Council’s International Building Code 2004 supplement, used by builders and municipal inspectors.

According to ARMA, consumers and builders alike need to know the following before purchasing asphalt shingles:

  • The wind zone location of the building being roofed. This can be obtained from town or county building code enforcement offices. For most of the continental United States, the wind zone classification is 90 mph (maximum average wind speeds). Some coastal and inland regions, however, may have wind zone designations of up to 150 mph.
  • The wind classification of the shingle proposed for the building. Shingles are classified by letter corresponding to their wind zone ratings. The classifications are-as follows:

Up to and including 90 mph


Class D

Up to and including 120 mph


Class G

Up to and including 150 mph


Class H


It is also critical that shingles are properly installed to withstand occasional or sustained high winds, whether a contractor is doing the job or consumers are doing the work themselves. To assure maximum wind performance, notes ARMA, asphalt shingles must be applied to a properly installed deck following the manufacturers’ requirements for number, type, and placement of nails (For nailing methods, see the Technical Bulletin, “Nail Application of Asphalt Shingles,” available on ARMA’s Web site, www.asphaltroofing.org).

“These new wind standards are important not only for preventing hurricane damage, but also to protect homes everywhere from more common high-wind situations like storms and winter weather,” says Russell Snyder, ARMA Executive Vice President. “Wherever you live, it is important to have the proper wind-classified shingles on your roof, and asphalt shingles offer proven performance in high winds.”

For more information about ARMA or to interview an ARMA expert, please contact Dan Fernandez at (212) 297-2121.

-- # --