GAF and CertainTeed combine for a huge piece of the roofing shingle market. This comparison hits all the important factors in deciding – Quality, cost, styles, pros and cons of each option, warranties and more. Our guide also addresses the return on investment and explains when either GAF or CertainTeed shingles are a better choice for a homeowner.
Let’s put the comparison into perspective right from the start:
Today, you have more attractive house siding options than ever before. This buying guide details the top 10 siding materials to help you decide which type will give your home the look and durability you want, while staying within your budget.
Did you know? Most other online estimates of house siding costs are unrealistically low. Many other resources take the cost of the basic material and add the “base” installation costs to reach their total. — This approach fails to consider accessories like trim, supplies and fasteners that can add $1.50 to $2.50 per square foot.
Vinyl siding is made from polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, a plastic. It is blended with pigment to give the siding color. Acrylics are added for strength and fade protection.
The material is extruded into panels. Most panels are textured like rough-hewn wood siding, but smooth panels are produced too.
What we like:
Vinyl siding is known for its relatively low cost and durability. — That combination produces good value. The material can easily last 30 to 40 years, depending on the quality and thickness of panels.
Vinyl offers excellent styles and color options:
Horizontal vinyl siding is made to look like wood boards from 3” to 8” wide in Dutch lap, beaded and clapboard styles.
Vertical panels are produced in board & batten and flat styles.
Architectural panels are formed like wood shingle and shake siding. Most products are offered in colors from white to deep browns and dark grays.
Vinyl siding is light and easy to install. — This helps cut down costs when hiring a professional and makes a DIY option more viable for handy homeowners.
Maintenance is minimal: Lightly power wash it to remove dust and dirt.
What we don’t like:
Vinyl lacks the authenticity of wood: In neighborhoods where homes are sided with natural wood, stone and brick veneer, vinyl often looks inferior.
Vinyl isn’t as eco-friendly as metal: While vinyl siding can be recycled, most of it ends up in landfills.
Warping, crackingand water penetration are frequent problems with bad installation.
The installed cost of basic vinyl siding is $5.50 to $8.50 per square foot when horizontal and vertical panels are used.
Architectural vinyl siding panels with a layer of insulation will cost $2.00 to $4.00 more per square foot, depending the profile, with the total installed cost of $7.50 to $12.50 per sq.ft.
Cost factors are the quality of the siding material, insulation and trim details, and the complexity of the house on which it is being installed.
ROI (Value Recouped at Resale):
Vinyl siding has a recouped value of about 78% to 80% at resale. The ROI is the percentage of the cost homeowners recoup when selling their home while the siding looks new and is in good condition.
What ROI doesn’t necessarily capture are the intangibles such as the enjoyment value, improved energy efficiency with insulated siding panels, and the additional level of protection for your home from elements such as wind driven rain.
Did you know? Vinyl siding is the most common house siding in the US and Canada. It accounts for nearly 30% of all siding jobs. However, vinyl’s market share is slipping as other siding materials, such as fiber cement and wood composite gain popularity with homeowners wanting a finer and better value siding options.
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.
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 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:
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.