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Builders' Show: Boral's hail-resistant concrete roof tiles

Consumer Reports News: January 24, 2013 04:08 PM

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Even if you don't live in a part of the country prone to hail, such as the Great Plains and southeastern regions, you already know whether hailstorms pose enough of a threat to influence your choice of roofing. At the International Builders' Show in Las Vegas, Boral USA's announcements included its Class 4 Hail Resistant Roof Tile, a new concrete product that might qualify for a discount on your homeowners' insurance.

Boral's new roof tile, which we saw on display at the show, is tested to the highest standard for rigid roof material, called FM 4473. In this demonstration, a cannon shoots 2-inch ice balls at speeds up to 70 miles per hour. Ice balls of this size can't quite compete with the U.S. record-setter, an 8-inch whopper that fell in Vivian, South Dakota, in July of 2010. But because ice balls are generally harder and denser than hailstones, this largest size used for testing is intended to simulate the worst-case hailstone.

Spokespersons for the company, based in Roswell, Georgia, say the Class 4 Hail Resistant Roof Tile is brand-new but already available. It costs roughly $100 per square before installation—a "square" being 100 square feet—and Boral's tiles are sold in most states (curiously, not South Dakota). If your home isn't new and has only had asphalt roofing, the company encourages you to have your home inspected to ensure it can handle the extra weight of concrete. The tile is sold in four colors and two profiles: one slate-like and the other, the villa, curved and textured.

If you're interested in a discount on your homeowners' insurance, before buying the product check with your agent on whether a discount is available and under what conditions. While certain states, particularly Oklahoma, probably qualify no matter where in the state you live, qualification typically varies significantly within a state.

If you roof can't support the weight of a concrete roof tile, check the results of our roofing tests for the best laminated and three-tab shingles. We test them for strength and wind and weather resistance, among other factors.

For more news and trends from the Builders' Show including videos of new products, see our full coverage.

Ed Perratore

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