Category Archives: Home Improvement

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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Top 5 Energy Efficient Home Improvements and their Costs – Green Home Ideas

Are your ready to make your home greener and more energy-efficient? If so, consider the following five home improvement upgrades that can be completed by a professional remodeling contractor, as well as by an experienced DIY enthusiast working collaboratively with a handy friend. 😉

1. Cool Roofs Vs. Traditional Asphalt and Dark EPDM Rubber

amazing-custom-home-with-standing-seam-metal-roof

Dark roofs make houses hotter, light roofs make houses cooler. To achieve these benefits a specialist applicator can coat your roof with reflective materials, some of which are applied like paint, sprayed directly on the surface of an existing roof. Of course, this is often, but not always, a one-season solution.

More Info on Cool Roofs: https://energy.gov/energysaver/energy-efficient-home-design/cool-roofs

Energy conservation wizards are currently working on tiles that will go from light to dark as needed — they can cut the sunlight absorbed into your house by 80% when they are white and slice heating costs by 20% and more when they turn black.

You can find a cool roof coating formulated with acrylic polymers, resins, fillers and titanium dioxide pigments for about $100 for a 4.75 gallon container (Via GreenHomeGuide.com).

If rather than applying it yourself, your would prefer to hire a professional, expect to pay anywhere from a few to several thousands of dollars to properly apply a liquid roof coating. You should know that most liquid roof coatings are only suitable for durable membrane-based flat roofs and aging metal roofs.

Surely, cool liquid roof coatings can also be applied over asphalt shingles, but the results will not be as good, because asphalt shingles have a tendency to chip and crack. Thus, a complete re-roofing application may be a better option for an aged asphalt roof.

Energy Efficient, Solar-Reflective PVC membrane on a flat roof

PVC membrane installed by: New England Metal Roof

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If you have a flat or low-slope roof that is starting to show the signs of age, and may thus require replacement soon, then consider installing one of the following membranes; white, energy-efficient and solar-reflective PVC membrane, TPO membrane, or white EPDM rubber roof. Expect to pay from $4.50 to $6.00 per foot for EPDM rubber membrane installed. A PVC or TPO membrane will cost about $5.50 to $7.50 per square foot installed.

2. Metal

A standing seam metal roof on the house

Today’s metal roofs have come a long way from the tin shacks of yore. Modern metal roofs are as likely to look like cedar shakes or clay tiles or asphalt shingles as sheet metal. A metal roof won’t blow off in hurricane-force winds and is fireproof.

Metal roofs will cost more to purchase and install than traditional asphalt roofs, but will still be on the job half a century from now, while two or three asphalt roofs are clogging landfills. 😉

Steel Shingles Roof

Expect a metal roof comprised of interlocking shingles to run around $3.50 to $4.50 per square foot for materials including trim. With the installation, a metal shingles roof will cost about $7.50 to $10.00 per square foot.

concave-shaped standing seam roof

Materials for galvalume standing seam will cost about $4.50 to $5.00 per square foot. With the installation, a standing seam metal roof will cost about $10 to $12 per square foot, not counting the expense of a roof tear-off.

During winter, an energy efficient metal roof, such as standing seam or metal shingles will help shed the snow off the roof, before the snow has a chance to accumulate. It can thus be an energy-smart and elegant alternative to heat cables and/or snow rakes commonly employed to deal with the ice dams on the roof.

PV Solar Panels on Metal Roof

Speaking of home energy efficiency, another major advantage of a standing seam metal roof is that it is solar roof ready. Meaning that it can be simply and elegantly combined and integrated with PV solar panels by means of simple metal clamps via a bracketing systems attached to the seam. This method does not require drilling any holes (potential future sources of leaks) in the roof

3. Energy Efficient Window

Windows are among the biggest culprits in creating high energy bills. But no one wants to live in a house without windows. Double-pane windows are one solution; they will retain room heat in the winter and prevent heat gain in the summer. At the same time the double-panes will keep your house bright and sunny. And a little quieter as well — the extra layer of glass helps prevent outside noises from penetrating the windows.

Most average-sized double-pane windows will cost anywhere from $500 to $700 installed.

There is more to double-pane windows than two pieces of glass. Low-E glass, filled with argon gas provides the ultimate in insulation over a single-pane window. Expect to pay about $40 extra per window. But more is not always better when it comes to window panes. Triple-panes can be a help in the harshest climates, but they come at a cost of reduced clarity in looking to the world outside.

4. Green Frames

The frames your windows live in are opportunities for the green-minded remodeler. Wood offers the best insulation but may deteriorate prematurely in a rainy climate. Plus, they are going to need new coats of paint every few years. If that means latex paint, that will douse your interior air with a bucket of noxious petrochemicals (there is a reason paint requires special disposal techniques). Eco-safe paints are getting better every year with more durability and a wider variety of people-pleasing colors. And they are less costly at the cash register as well.

It is hard to beat the look of wood on windows and that preference can trump green tendencies when it comes to alternatives such as vinyl or aluminum. Vinyl is budget-friendly (from $450-$600 as opposed to between $800 and $1,000 for the installation of wood windows) and no trees are destroyed, and aluminum can be a good choice in rainy climates.

5. Insulation

attic insulation

Seal and insulate, seal and insulate, seal and insulate. That is the manta of energy-efficiency, but green-minded homeowners can take this basic Eco-friendly chore one step beyond. Spray insulation or traditional batting insulation is loaded with chemicals. Soy foam works the same insulating magic without the environmental downsides.

Home insulation is where the true green converts are separated from the wanna-bes. Closed-cell spray foam is a pricey insulation option, costing between $3.00 and $3.50 a square foot in walls and another $1.00 per square foot for attics. Soy foam will work as well as cheaper and more readily available fiberglass-based batting insulation, but not so much better that it will be a boon to your pocketbook in the long run. You won’t recoup the costs of hidden soy insulation at resale. This is one financial bullet you will be taking for the good of the planet. 😉


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How to Winterize Your Home: Top 10 Home Weatherization Updates to Do Before Winter

Before frigid winter temperatures arrive in your neighborhood, take the time to prepare your home for the unexpected. Even if you live in a moderate climate zone, where low temperatures are rare, winterizing your home can improve its durability, energy efficiency, and help prevent common and costly winter emergencies such as burst pipes and flooding inside your home or basement.

Home Weatherization in a Nutshell:

Winterizing your house is all about sealing and eliminating unwanted air drafts, ensuring adequate insulation and ventilation to prevent energy losses and ice dams related issues, checking roof and gutters, insulating exposed pipes, sealing air-ducts, checking water heaters and furnaces, and boosting your home’s energy efficiency.

Below are the main items to address to make sure your home is properly-protected, cozy, and warm, even when the weather outside is frigid and frightful:

1. Roof Inspection and Maintenance

Common Roof and Home Exterior Inspection Areas. 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

An inspection of your roof (and gutters) should be an annual job. While this is a doable DIY job, knowing what to look for is vital:

  • Moss and Algae Growth
  • Loose, Missing or Damaged Shingles or Tiles
  • Major Cracks in Roof Shingles or Tiles
  • A Large Portion of Curled-up Shingles
  • Flat Roof Seams Coming Apart or Becoming Unglued
  • Damaged or Improper Chimney Flashing, Skylight, Roof Vent and Pipe Flashing
  • Dips and Swales in Roof Surface
  • Roof Ventilation Issues
  • Evidence of Roof Leaks – Water Stains Around Walls and Ceilings – Wet Insulation in the Attic

Roof Inspection Cost: A professional roofing contractor may charge between $150 to $250 for an inspection, depending on a number of factors. Most of the time, the cost of a roof inspection can be counted towards the price of a roof repair or getting a new roof.

Note: you should be getting a written report outlining roof performance issues for a stand-alone inspection.

Caveat on Roof Inspections: If you end-up having to ask a professional roofer to climb on your roof after the cold, icy weather has set in, expect the cost of the inspection to go up.

Post-Inspection Maintenance and Repairs:

A roof inspection will determine the need for a roof cleaning, especially if moss build up is normal in your region. If the inspection report shows that some maintenance or repairs are necessary, the costs will vary depending on the extent of repairs:

Minor Repairs: $150 to $400 for minor repairs, which is where a roof cleaning job fits in.

Moderate repairs can cost in the range of $1,000 and typically include fixing or replacing any loose or missing shingles and tiles, and sealing and re-flashing chimneys and skylights on the roof.

Major repairs are generally large sections of the roof needing extra attention and may cost as much as $3,000 or higher. Beyond this, and it’s time to consider re-roofing or replacement.

More info on roof repairs: https://www.roofingcalc.com/roof-repair-cost/

Complete re-roof or replacement may be required if a large portion of the roof has old or damaged shingles. A new roof provides opportunity to increase the lasting value of your home. A new roof can also be an insurance against roof leaks, water damage, and a costly roof failure in the middle of winter.

Cost Recouped: A typical roof replacement has an average cost-to-value return (cost recouped at the time of sale) of about 70%. A metal roof has an average cost-to-value return of about 90%.

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