Owens Corning vs. GAF Roofing Shingles: Cost, Plus Pros & Cons, and More

GAF and Owens Corning own the largest share of the asphalt shingle market in America, and apart from CertainTeed, another major player in the fiberglass shingles market, no other manufacturer comes close.

Most homeowners choose between GAF Timberline and Owens Corning Duration shingles. However, both brands make additional lines of shingles across the traditional and premium categories that are also worth considering. GAF offers an impressive 20 lines of asphalt shingles to choose from compared to 12 main lines of shingles from Owens Corning.

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Did you know? Independent roofers are often happy to install either brand – especially the bread-and-butter lines such as GAF Timberline HDZ and OC TruDefinition Duration shingles.

What we cover in this guide: This is a complete Owens Corning vs. GAF side-by-side comparison across all the main categories that matter to homeowners. We analyzes, head-to-head, the most popular and prominent roofing shingle options, quality, prices, warranties, and specialty shingles including those with Energy Star, Cool Roof, and Class 4 Hail Impact Resistance ratings.

Let’s put the comparison between these two popular brands into proper perspective right from the start

Owens Corning focuses mostly on the mid-range architectural shingle products, although it also makes low-cost 3-tab Supreme shingles rated for 60 MPH winds, and a few premium lines like Berkshire and Woodmoor.

GAF covers the spectrum more completely with a couple of 3-tab options like the Marquis Weathermax with an 80 MPH wind warranty and seven premium designer lines like the classic Camelot II and the beefy shake-designed Grand Sequoia available in standard and Class 4 Hail Impact rated shingle options.

In this guide:

In each major category, we pick a winner to help you choose shingles that will beautifully and effectively serve your home over the next couple of decades or longer.

  1. General Quality
  2. Costs
  3. Performance and Value
  4. Hail Impact Resistant Shingles
  5. Energy-efficiency: Cool Roof Shingles
  6. CA Title 24, LA County Green Building Code Roof Shingles
  7. Warranty Comparison
  8. Bottom-line and Takeaways

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

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 did not 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, Atlas, 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:

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Best Roofing Materials for Homes: Costs, Plus Pros & Cons

This comprehensive guide to roofing materials is all the research you’ll need to evaluate the top choices for residential re-roofing and new construction projects.

What to Expect: In this guide, we’ll cover the following most common roofing options: asphalt shingles, cedar wood shingles and shakes, metal shingles and standing seam metal roofs, concrete, clay, and fiber-cement tiles, natural stone and faux slate/synthetic shingles, and the latest BiPV solar tile options.

A new asphalt shingle roof with PV solar panels

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For each material, we cover the following topics:

  • An overview including how the roofing is made
  • Pros and cons including maintenance, repair, durability, options, home styles they work with and more
  • Cost for materials and installation
  • Choosing your roofing material: The “bottom line” summaries of each type
  • How to save money on a new roof

Types and Styles of Roofing Materials

The material options presented below cover more than 95 percent of all residential roofs in the United States. So, unless you’ve got something unusual in mind like BiPV solar tiles – oh, wait, we’ve included those – or a vegetative green roof, the options you’re considering are likely discussed below

1. Asphalt/Fiberglass Composition Shingles
2. Wood Shingles and Shakes
3. Metal Roofing
4. Concrete and Clay Roof Tiles
5. Natural and Synthetic Composite Slate Tiles
6. BiPV Solar Shingles and Tiles
7. Low-sloped and Flat Roof Options

Asphalt/Fiberglass Composition Shingles

More than 75 percent of all single-family homes in the US are covered with asphalt shingles, though that number is slowly shrinking thanks to the more energy-efficient and durable options like metal.

Average Roof Replacement Cost:

Low End

$8,500

Mid-Range

$10,500

High End

$14,500

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Asphalt (composition) shingles dominate the market because they are affordable, offer a variety of attractive options, and do a good job protecting homes from the nature’s elements.

There are two main types of asphalt shingles:

  • Fiberglass shingles start with a fiberglass mesh mat that is covered in asphalt and topped with granules that provide color and reflect some of the sunlight. Shingles made with fiberglass are lightweight and resist tearing.
  • Old-school organic asphalt shingles (almost non-existent today) would normally have paper, an organic material, saturated in asphalt and covered with granules. The shingles are heavier and harder to work with than fiberglass, but they generally offer better stability in high winds. Although you can still see them on many roofs, organic shingles have been mostly phased out or discontinued over the course of last decade. Why? Manufactures have stopped making organic shingles due to their tendency to dry out, become less-waterproof and more prone to excess moisture absorption.

Pros and Cons

The advantages of asphalt shingles are:

  • Fiberglass shingles offer good fire protection
  • Look good on most any style home
  • Shingles are often the most affordable roof covering option, especially in good/better ranges
  • The best asphalt shingles are a 30-year roof solution installed on homes located in moderate climates
  • The cheapest 3-tab shingles are an affordable way to dress up a home before putting on the market
  • Broad selection of colors and styles including affordable three-tab and architectural shingles that mimic shakes and slate
  • DIY asphalt shingle installation is possible for those with good skills, experience, and equipment
  • No support beyond standard roof sheathing is required for shingles
  • 3-tab shingles are rated for 60-70 MPH wind uplift, while standard architectural shingles are rated for 110 MPH winds; high-wind shingles are rated for 130 MPH
  • High-impact shingles such as the ones manufactured by GAF should be used for heavily wooded locations and areas where large hail is possible
  • Some shingle repairs are easy and cost-effective

A few words of caution:

  • The lifetime cost of shingles is higher than metal, tile, or slate, because composition shingles must be replaced more frequently
  • Cheaper or low-end asphalt shingles like 3-tab or strip shingles may only last some 10-15 years in hot, sunny climates like Arizona and Texas
  • Rapid temperature changes can cause asphalt shingles to crack prematurely
  • A poorly vented attic will trap heat and significantly shorten asphalt shingles’ lifespan by cupping or cracking them
  • While the asphalt shingle industry boasts that its products can be recycled for paving, few recycling facilities take asphalt shingles, and they are among the least eco-friendly roofing options
  • After a second layer of shingles needs replacing, all layers must be torn off the roof, creating extra expense and a lot of potential landfill waste
  • Mold or algae can be a problem on shingles in shady areas, unless treated with anti-algae/anti-stain treatments
  • Organic/felt shingles are heavy; getting them to the roof in bundles can be a challenge
New Shingle Roof

$7,500
Average price
New Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
New Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

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Wood Shingles and Shakes

Wood delivers a natural dose of beauty to any roof. Cedar, redwood, cypress, and pressure-treated pine shingles and shakes are available.

How are wood shingles and shakes different?

  • Wood shingles are machine-cut and feature cleaner edges and a smooth surface to produce a more uniform appearance.
  • Wood shakes are hand-cut from blocks of wood, so have a more rustic appearance. They’re thicker too, so slightly more expensive than wood shingles.

Pros and Cons

The advantages of wood shingles and shakes are:

  • Wood has natural beauty that ranges from rustic shakes to handsome, neat shingles
  • Cedar and redwood contain oils that make them naturally resistant to moisture and insects
  • Treated wood shingles have a Class A fire rating
  • Cedar shingles and shakes can last 5 to 10 years longer than asphalt when properly maintained, which makes them competitively priced with asphalt over their lifespan
  • Wood has an insulation value twice that of asphalt shingles. However, your home’s insulation levels including walls and attic are far more important than the R-value of the roof covering
  • Many shakes and shingles are made from salvaged trees – those that have fallen over from age or were toppled by storm
  • Wood is recyclable into wood chips, mulch, or compost
  • They enhance a range of architectural styles including Tudor, Victorian, Cape Cod, bungalow and cabin/cottage

Keep these potential disadvantages in mind:

  • Non-treated materials have a Class C fire rating, but wood can cedar shingles and shakes are also available as a more-costly treated option
  • Wood roofing is prohibited in some areas prone to wildfire, so be sure to check with your building department first
  • Untreated wood shakes and shingles are high maintenance – they need to be cleaned consistently to prevent the growth of algae or moss, and debris needs to be cleared to allow the wood to breathe
  • While DIY installation is possible if you have good experience, faults in the installation can lead to quick deterioration of the roof which often includes serious leaks
  • Staining of the shingles and shakes might occur as natural factors cause tannins to be released from the wood
  • While wood is quite durable, but repairs will be expensive if they are required

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