Category Archives: Home Improvement

GAF vs. CertainTeed Roofing Shingles: Cost, ROI – Definitive Guide for Homeowners

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:

CertainTeed, by every measure, is the premier manufacturer of exterior building materials and a winner of the Professional Remodelers Best in Class award.

CertainTeed Landmark series Shingles Roof in Weathered Wood

While most of its lines are upmarket, CertainTeed has begun making less expensive lines like the Landmark Series to compete with the value-priced asphalt shingle brands.

GAF, the largest manufacturer of residential roofing materials, makes mostly good-quality shingles with a few premium lines like Camelot II Shingles that are exceptional.

GAF Premium Asphalt Shingles: Camelot Williamsburg Slate

CertainTeed didn’t appear worried about the cost a decade ago, and it still dominates the “best” category of roofing shingles, though competition is certainly increasing.

Most GAF shingles are cost-conscious products that compete with Owens-Corning, IKO, Tamko, Malarkey and similar brands for “basic and better” ranges — niches it ranks first in.

  • CertainTeed: Mainly high-end, high-cost products with some affordable lines.
  • GAF: Mainly affordable shingle lines with some high-end products.

Here are some important qualitative and quantitative details to consider within the larger scope of CertainTeed vs. GAF shingles debate:

Continue reading

Tamko vs. Owens Corning Roofing Shingles: Cost, Pros & Cons, ROI

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.

Need a Roofer? Get 4 Free Quotes From Local Pros:

Enter Your Zip Code:

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).

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.

Continue reading

Marvin vs. Milgard Windows Cost 2020: Styles, Pros & Cons

Marvin operates in the premium end of the window market, making each product to order, one at a time, customizing windows to the exact specifications of the customer.

Marvin Casement Windows

Milgard primarily focuses on the mid-range window marketplace with its vinyl windows available in four different series.

Milgard Ultra Series single hung windows with colonial grids

The company has spent much less time competing in the high-end slice of the new construction and window replacement markets. Milgard currently offers two high-end lines, the fiberglass Ultra Series and the wood-clad fiberglass Essence Series.

Milgard Windows Cost

Milgard’s bottom-of-the line Style Line series standard 48-inch x 60-inch double pane, double hung vinyl windows run between $300 and $400, depending on the window-specific options.

Milgard single hung aluminum window will cost between $200 and $250 per unit.

Moving up in class, additional series of Milgard vinyl windows are offered in the $550 to $650 price range.

The Essence Series is Milgard’s entry into the premium window market. It is constructed with Douglas fir, pine or primed pine on the interior and fiberglass, with 15 colors, on the exterior. Quotes typically run between $40 and $50 per square foot, or between $800 and $1000 for the standard double hung window.


Marvin Windows Cost

Marvin’s go-to double hung window is its Ultimate Windows series. Prices range from $350 to $700 per window.

For Marvin’s top-of-the-line Infinity Series classic double hung window in Standard, Cottage or Oriel style, you can expect to pay between $1,200 and $1,500, depending on your location.

Marvin Infinity Ultrex fiberglass windows feature color matched and neutral dark components with bronze and ebony interior finishes. An easy tilt finish makes cleaning a breeze.

Note that window pricing can vary considerably as manufacturers often run discounts and incentives on their lines.

Did you know? Final cost can also vary depending on the design options like premium materials, locks and hardware, opening control devices, and the like.

Installation costs depend on whether replacement windows can be installed directly into the existing frames or whether new carpentry is required.

It is not unusual for a new window with options and installation to add many hundreds of dollars to the unit price.


Continue reading