Category Archives: Asphalt Shingles

Tamko vs. Owens Corning Roofing Shingles: Cost, ROI – Definitive Guide for Homeowners

Owens Corning Roofing Shingles Display

Owens Corning and Tamko are two asphalt shingle manufacturers sharing the adage, “we’re second-best, so we try harder.” CertainTeed is the consensus leader for overall asphalt shingle quality. GAF is the largest producer of shingles, and its products get high marks. Right behind those giants are Owens Corning, certainly one of the most recognizable names in roofing products, and Tamko (or TAMKO), a brand that has its fans, too.

The Bottom Line from the Beginning

The bottom line, which all the details in this guide lead to, is that the Owens Corning vs. Tamko comparison is about as even as it gets in the roofing products industry. Both get ratings in the “good” to “very good” range from roofing contractors who install them every day and from home inspectors who have seen their share of durable shingles and shingles that have failed before they should.

What it comes down to is the quality of the installation. You’ve got two above-average shingle brands that can deliver superior durability for 20+ years, fail in just a few years or perform somewhere in the middle. What makes the difference is how well the installers do their job.

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More on the installation below. Along the way we’ll address where each brand has bragging rights. While OC and Tamko are close to equal in total score, each brand has strong and weak points.

OC vs. Tamko: Quality and Reliability

Quality is a product of the materials used and the production process. Here’s an overview of Owens Corning and Tamko shingle construction.

  • Owens Corning: OC makes three tiers of shingles in basic (Oakridge, Supreme), better (Duration, OC’s best-seller) and best (Devonshire, Woodmoor, Woodcrest, Berkshire) categories.
  • Tamko: This brand makes a very similar lineup with basic (Elite Glass-Seal), better (Heritage, Heritage Woodgate) and best (Heritage Premium, Heritage Vintage).

All shingles from Owens Corning and Tamko feature fiberglass mat bases saturated with asphalt and dressed with coated granules to resist the sun’s UV radiation. Each shingle is constructed with fused layers. When installed, less than half of each shingle is exposed. The result is that 3-tab roofs (OC Supreme and Tamko Elite Glass-Seal 3-tab) have 2-3 layers of coverage at any given point on your roof.

All other shingles from both brands are architectural style shingles with 4-5 layers of coverage. The result are shingles with wind ratings of 60mph for 3-tab products and 110/130mph for all others. The brands have the same ratings in most ASTM materials and fire rating tests. Both are on par or superior to most other brands including CertainTeed and GAF.

Bad shingles are often the result of production rather than the materials used. The production processes for these brands are similar. The processes are slightly tweaked, even from run to run (runs of shingle batches).

When errors occur, a bad batch of shingles, such as layers that don’t properly fuse, are produced. What makes a brand worth considering is the consistency of the quality from run to run. Owens Corning and Tamko deliver good consistency.

Advantage—Tie: We’re not afraid to take sides, but there’s no clear winner here. These brands are rated about as equal as you will find in terms of quality and reliability, especially the two most-popular series, the Owens Corning Duration and Tamko Heritage.

Owens Corning vs. Tamko: Cost

Since these brands compete aggressively head to head, their prices are comparable across all products (and are very competitive with GAF, too).

Here is a breakdown of the shingle series and their costs from both brands:

Prices are per square, which is 100 square feet of coverage (and 3 or 4 bundles of shingles, so check product specs for the bundles-per-square).

3-tab shingles:

  • OC Supreme: $70-$85
  • Tamko Elite Glass-Seal: $72-$77

Average architectural/dimensional shingles:

  • OC Duration: $110-$120
  • Tamko Heritage: $84-$100

Best-selling architectural/dimensional shingles:

  • OC Duration Designer, STORM & COOL: $105-$135
  • Tamko Heritage Premium: $90-$105

Premium, architectural/dimensional shingles:

  • OC Devonshire, Woodmoor, Woodcrest, Berkshire: $175-$280
  • Tamko Heritage Woodgate, Heritage Vintage: $180-$205

Advantage – Tamko: As you can see, Tamko offers better value in each tier of products. It always makes sense to get written estimates on the specific roofing materials you’re considering, to get a direct comparison of cost.

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Pros & Cons of GAF Shingles – Costs – Unbiased GAF Roofing Reviews

GAF is at or near the top of the best-selling asphalt shingles list. Is GAF’s enviable market share the result of consistent quality and performance, or is it driven by a large marketing budget that helps cover its flaws? Let’s explore.

GAF Woodland_Shingles Roof

via GAF

There are obvious things to like about GAF – the wide selection of asphalt shingle styles and colors are sold nationally, and if you need more of the same shingles five or ten years later, they will likely be available.

On the downside, it is well documented that GAF, like most other shingle manufacturers, sometimes denies warranty claims that seem legitimate. The company settled a major class action lawsuit over warranty claims on defective shingles manufactured from 1998 to 2009, primarily at one plant. Let’s dig deeper.

Are GAF Shingles the Right Choice for Your Home?

This investigative look at GAF shingles is for the homeowner that is familiar with GAF products and wants to do their due diligence before making a roofing material decision. It gives you the perspective of contractors that have installed GAF for decades, home inspectors that have inspected hundreds of GAF-covered homes and homeowners that live with GAF shingles on their roof every day.

Pros

Let’s look at GAF shingle pros from the three perspectives mentioned: Installers, inspectors and homeowners.

Why roofing contractors like GAF shingles: There are a couple reasons that most roofers are happy to install GAF products, and some swear by them.

  • The GAF complete roofing system: When you purchase mechanical systems, an HVAC system for example, it’s important that the components such as the condensing unit, indoor coil, gas furnace and the thermostat control are designed to work together. The result is optimized performance.

    Components of GAF asphalt roofing system

    GAF – The Lifetime Roofing System

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The Ultimate Guide to Getting a New Roof in 2017-2018 – Roofing Buying Guide

A new roof is a costly investment with practical and aesthetic implications – the roof is your home’s most important protection against rain and snow, and it can significantly impact the appeal of your home in the eyes of potential buyers.

GAF Timberline HD Shingles Roof

This guide will help you make an informed decision when it comes to reroofing (adding a new layer of roofing to the existing roof) or removing and replacing the old roof.

Seven Signs You Need a New Roof

Here are the indicators that your roof should be re-shingled or replaced to maintain your home’s defense against the elements:

  • Shingles are visibly worn: Are so many of the colored granules gone that your roof looks like it has bald spots? While the shingles might still be keeping moisture out, a lack of reflective granules allows excess heat into your home, raising the temperature inside your house and increasing your air conditioning costs.  Furthermore, once exposed, the underlying asphalt will soon dry out and crack, and then your roof will be susceptible to rain.
  • Shingles are cupped and curled:

    Curled-up old shingles

    This issue looks bad, but more importantly, it means wind-driven moisture can easily get under the shingles and into your roof deck where it might cause leaks and rot.

  • Shingles are cracked: The cracked areas aren’t keeping moisture off the deck, and the risk of leaks goes way up.

    Cracks or thermal splitting in asphalt shingles

    via Structure Tech

  • Your neighbors are getting new roofs: This is more than “keeping up with the Joneses.” When homes built about the same time as yours are being re-roofed, your roof is probably about due.
  • You’ve experienced multiple leaks: Your roof is an entire structure, not just the shingles. Deck paper, flashing, moisture barrier in valleys, starter shingles, vent stack boots and other components are part of an entire roofing system. As the roof ages and several of its components or locations fail, the roof should be replaced.
  • The roof has experienced major damage:

    hail damaged shingles

    via TJR Construction

    If more than about 35% of your roof is going to need repair due to wind or hail, especially if it’s already 12+ years old, the cost-effective decision might be to replace it all. Repair is costlier per square foot because it is more time-consuming to integrate new shingles into a roof “here and there” than to install them over the entire roof. Plus, a mix of old shingles and new just won’t look very good.

  • Your roof looks bad: Cosmetics do matter to homeowners and potential buyers. If your roof is worn, has algae staining that won’t clean up or has patches of moss on it, boosting its appearance with a new layer of shingles will make a very nice difference.

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If none of these reasons to get a new roof apply, then you’re probably done here! If you’re not sure about your roof’s condition, hiring a home inspector or roofing contractor to inspect it can be a preventative measure before a roof failure and the extensive and expensive damage it can cause.

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