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.
While most of its lines are upmarket, CertainTeed has begun making less expensive lines like the Landmark Series to compete with value-priced asphalt shingle brands.
GAF, the largest manufacturer of residential roofing materials, makes mostly good-quality shingles with a few lines like Camelot that are exceptional.
CertainTeed didn’t appear worried about cost a decade ago, and it still dominates the “best” category of roofing shingles, though competition is growing.
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:
Quality and Reliability
While many want to know about style first, savvy homeowners focus on quality. You can find products from any brand that will look good on your home when first installed; what the shingles are made of determines whether they’ll look good 15-25 years from now.
Quality in roofing shingles is determined by how much material is used and how the shingle is constructed.
CertainTeed: All the shingles are fiberglass-reinforced asphalt (SBS modified bitumen) shingles constructed in fused, laminated layers. Most provide 4 or 5 layers of coverage over the entire shingle field. Many CertainTeed products weigh more than 250lbs per square (100 square feet), and the very top lines like Arcadia Shake (450lbs), Grand Manor (425lbs) and Carriage House (355lbs) are extremely robust.
While weight isn’t everything, anyone who says it doesn’t matter is trying to sell you something. More material, when as well-constructed as CertainTeed shingles are, leads to better resistance to wind, impact, cupping and cracking.
If there is one downside to this, it is that very heavy roofing materials MUST be properly installed on steep roof decks to prevent sections of shingles from pulling loose.
GAF: These are also fiberglass-reinforced asphalt shingles made in fused layers. Properly overlapped installation guarantees 3 or 4 layers of coverage.
The heaviest GAF shingles are the Grand Canyon shake line at 450lbs per square, but most lines, including the best-selling residential shingle Timberline lines, weigh less than 240lbs per square. — This is one of the reasons GAF warranties are not as long or comprehensive as CertainTeed’s (see details below).
On Par: Both GAF’s and CertainTeed’s best shingles have 110MPH wind ratings and warranties that can be boosted to 130MPH with enhanced installation practices including extra nails, matching starter shingles and caps. They’re Class A fire-rated and have similar ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) certifications.
Advantage — CertainTeed: We’re arguing very good vs. best here, not junk vs. quality. GAF became the best-selling shingle brand because it makes good products. CertainTeed owns the premium shingle category because it makes outstanding products.
CertainTeed vs. GAF: Cost
The average cost of CertainTeed shingles is higher than the cost of GAF products, though the price differential is not as large as it used to be 10 years ago. — CertainTeed wants a bigger cut of the market, so it has reined in prices on its middle-of-the-road products.
GAF shingles are sold wherever roofing materials are available for sale. CertainTeed prefers to sell through wholesalers to roofing contractors, though you’ll find a few wholesalers like Reese in Indiana that sell to the public.
Here are the current sample prices to compare. All prices are per square, or 100 square feet:
- GAF Royal Sovereign shingles: $62-$78
- CertainTeed XT25 shingles: $70-$85
Average architectural (dimensional) shingles:
- GAF Timberline shingles: $115-$125
- CertainTeed Landmark Premium shingles: $128-$140
Best architectural (dimensional) shingles:
- GAF Timberline Ultra HD shingles: $120-$145
- CertainTeed Independence shingles: $165-$180
Specialty or Premium shingles:
- GAF Woodland shingles: $150-$160
- CertainTeed Highland Slate shingles: $147-$165
Advantage — GAF: Cost-conscious consumers will choose GAF most of the time when provided with written estimates on comparable GAF and CertainTeed products.
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Shingle Style Selection
Both brands make a large selection, so finding several good-looking options to fit your home’s architecture, style and setting won’t be hard.
GAF Shingle Styles
As the largest manufacturer of residential shingles, GAF has the best selection. While we hesitate to list its offerings because they are subject to change, here is the current lineup:
GAF Timberline Architectural Shingles: The best-selling shingle line in North America comes in these sub-categories, each produced in 8+ colors:
- Ultra HD with a wood-shake look (best)
- American Harvest (better)
- Standard HD and Natural Shadow (basic)
- Cool Series (Energy Star)
- ArmorShield II (Impact-resistant)
- HD Reflector Series (Title 24 Cool Roof requirements in California)
GAF Lifetime Designer Shingles: This is where GAF is taking a bite out of CertainTeed’s large piece of the high-end shingle market with quality products with lifetime limited warranties:
- Grand Canyon key-cut wood-shake style shingles with a rustic look
- Camelot slate-look shingles in elegant designs
- Glenwood triple-layer wood-shake look shingles
GAF Value Designer Shingles: These affordable dimensional shingles are a good choice for 15-18 years in most climates:
- Camelot II – like Camelot, but lighter and cheaper
- Sienna old-fashioned style shingles
- Slateline slate-shaped but thin with little dimensional contrast
- Grand Sequoia key-cut shingles
- Grand Sequoia ArmorShield impact-resistant shingles
- Woodland shingles with hand-cut European looks
GAF Three-tab Shingles: According to GAF, these offer basic protection for projects on a limited budget:
- 30-year Marquis WeatherMax shingles with classic design (not available everywhere)
- 25-year Royal Sovereign shingles
CertainTeed Shingle Styles
As you browse CertainTeed shingle styles, it’s obvious that upmarket designs are still the top priority for this brand.
Grand Manor: Thick, randomly cut slate-style, high-contrast shingles in 10 colors and 425lbs/square.
Advantage — Tie: GAF offers more options in Basic and Better ranges; CertainTeed still has the most to offer in the Best category or roofing shingles.
CertainTeed vs. GAF: Warranty
Manufacturer warranties tell you what the brand thinks of its products.
GAF and CertainTeed both have a range of warranties covering their various products. Shingle warranties are notorious for having loopholes that let the manufacturer off the hook for issues like faulty installation (and they’re very picky), poorly ventilated roof decks and attics, shingles installed in cold weather that don’t properly seal, airborne chemicals and more.
GAF’s warranties are more stringent than CertainTeed’s, so there are more reasons for the manufacturer to deny you warranty benefits.
Because warranty claims are often denied by all roofing manufacturers, you must do your due diligence in hiring an experienced installer to make sure installation follows manufacturer guidelines.
If you’d like, use our Need a Roofer/Free Quotes tab to get estimates from your job from several of the top installers in your area. They are pre-screened, licensed and insured, and they know they’re competing for the work.
Also, always get a warranty for the installation from the roofer; don’t rely on the manufacturer to cover installation-related issues.
Have the roofer check your roof deck and attic. Ask, “Are there any defects that would void a shingle warranty?” If there are, and you want the best warranty protection, fix the issues before roofing your home.
GAF Warranty Options
Currently, GAF offers three warranty options. See individual products for which warranty applies or is optional as an upgrade.
- Material defects are covered for 3 years on 25-year 3-tab shingles and for 5 years on 30-year 3-tab shingles
- GAF’s warranty isn’t prorated for the first 10 years. The amount of coverage drops yearly until year 40 when it is 20% for the remainder of the warranty.
- To receive the full benefit of a GAF lifetime limited warranty, you must install two other “qualifying GAF accessories” such as GAF Cobra attic ventilation, GAF Deck Armor roof deck underlayment, GAF starter strip shingles and GAF ridge cap shingles. In other words, if you’re adding a second layer of shingles to an existing roof, the warranty doesn’t apply.
- GAF StainGuard warranty covers shingles against staining for 10 years in temperature zones and 5 years in tropical zones.
CertainTeed Warranty Options
This brand also offers 3 warranty options as detailed in this table:
|Base System Warranty||Better System Warranty||Best System Warranty|
|Name||Base||System Plus||Golden Pledge|
|Material Defects||10 years||50 years||50 years|
|Material Defects 3-tab||3 or 5 years||20 years||20 years|
|Labor Covered||10 years||Lifetime||Lifetime|
|Labor Covered 3-tab||3 or 5 years||25 or 30 years||25 or 30 years|
|Workmanship||None||2 years||25 years|
|Workmanship 3-tab||None||2 years||20 years|
|Tear-off cost included?||No||Yes – material defects only||Yes-materials and workmanship|
|110MPH Wind Coverage||15 years||15 years||15 years|
|130MPH Wind Upgrade||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Wind Upgrade 3-tab||No||No||No|
- CertainTeed doesn’t distinguish between 3-tab and architectural/dimensional shingles. It is the warranty you possess that matters.
- CertainTeed StreakFighter warranty covers shingles for 10 or 15 years, depending on the product and where it is installed.
Return on Investment: The Cost to Value of Roof Replacement
Replacing shingles brings an average cost-to-value return of 69%. That means if you spend $10,000 on your roof, you will be able to raise and get an asking price by about $6,900 higher than before replacing the shingles. That’s what the national data says for 2017. However, your percentage of the total cost recouped could be lower or higher depending on how appropriate the roofing system you choose is for your particular situation.
Did you know? A new roof can help you sell your home, because home buyers can’t afford to or don’t want the hassle of replacing the roof on a home they just purchased.
There’s a general principle that moderate upgrades bring a better cost-to-value return than high-end upgrades. It applies to kitchen and bathroom remodeling, and it applies to roofing.
There’s no data on ROI for specific brands of roofing. However, a good-quality GAF Timberline HD shingles priced at $350 to $400 per square installed, for example, will likely bring a better ROI than CertainTeed Grand Manor shingles at $600 to $700 per square installed. When $10,000 becomes $20,000, that’s hard to recoup at the sale of your home.
More info on re-roofing costs here: https://www.roofingcalc.com/roof-replacement-cost/
When CertainTeed is a Better Choice
The bottom line on CertainTeed is that you pay more for comparable products to GAF’s, but get better quality. In addition, CertainTeed offers high-end shingles that are superior to anything GAF currently makes. Buy CertainTeed when:
- Using the best products available is important to you
- You’re choosing a high-end shingle because that is where CertainTeed has the most expertise
- You have no plans to move
- You want a warranty with fewer loopholes in the fine print
- Can find an experienced roofing company with a good reputation that is certified to install CertainTeed products
When GAF is a Better Choice
There are many GAF products that are worth considering, though it’s 20-year and 25-year shingles should only be chosen for short-term fixups. Buy GAF when:
- You want a more affordable roof that still offers good quality and durability
- You’re installing a good-quality rather than high-end shingle, because it is in the middle tier of products that GAF has the best track record
- Moving in the next 10-15 years is an option, and you don’t want to pay more for a roof you won’t enjoy the lifetime benefit of
- You can find a well-respected roofer in your area that is certified to install GAF products
Never overlook the importance of proper installation. Reading the fine print on any roofing shingle warranty shows that proper installation makes or breaks a warranty. In 4 out of 5 warranty claim denials, faulty installation of the roof deck or roofing materials is the cause.
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