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, with Owens Corning getting only a slight edge in the main architectural shingles category.
Owens Corning’s flagship Duration shingles outshine Tamko Heritage shingles in wind performance — thanks to the Owens Corning standard 130 MPH wind resistance design and warranty (even with the standard 4-nail installation method) compared to the standard 110 MPH wind performance warranty for Tamko Heritage shingles (with the standard 4-nail application method). However, this 20 MPH gap in the shingle wind-resistance performance can be overcome with a 6-nail enhanced installation method for Tamko Heritage shingles.
Both brands 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 the basic Supreme (3-tab shingle) and Oakridge (entry-level architectural shingle), better Duration (OC’s best-selling architectural shingle with a standard 130 MPH wind uplift rating and warranty), and best or premium category shingles in (Devonshire, Woodmoor, Woodcrest, and 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 in coated granules to resist the sun’s UV radiation. Each shingle is constructed with fused layers.
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 two brands have the same ratings in most ASTM materials and fire rating tests. Both are on par with 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.
Slight Advantage for Owens Corning: We’re not afraid to take; our general view is that both brands are as equal as you will find in terms of the overall quality and reliability. However, we give a slight edge to Owens Corning in the most important flagship architectural shingles category where OC Duration shingles outshines Tamko Heritage in wind performance.
OC TruDefinition Duration shingles come with a standard 130 MPH warranty thanks to the OC SureNail, triple-reinforced nailing fabric and widened nailing zone(for faster and more precise installation).
Tamko Heritage shingles come with a standard 110 MPH wind uplift warranty for regular applications. A more costly enhanced installation method would be required for Tamko Heritage shingles to attain the 130 MPH wind uplift warranty.
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).
- OC Supreme: $75-$85
- Tamko Elite Glass-Seal: $72-$77
Flagship (most popular and best-selling) architectural/dimensional shingles:
- OC Duration: $90-$120
- Tamko Heritage: $84-$100
Other popular architectural/dimensional shingles including specialty sub-lines:
- OC Duration Storm, Flex, and Cool (CA): $115-$130
- Tamko Heritage Premium: $90-$120
Premium Designer architectural/dimensional shingles:
- OC Devonshire, Woodmoor, Woodcrest, Berkshire: $175-$280
- Tamko Heritage Woodgate, Heritage Vintage: $180-$215
Advantage – Tamko: As you can see, Tamko offers a slightly better value in terms of costs in each tier of products. It always makes sense to get written estimates on the specific roofing materials you’re considering so you can get a direct comparison of costs and product attributes including features and benefits.