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.
Owens Corning Roofing Shingles Display
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 two 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).
- 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.