Owens Corning vs. GAF Roofing Shingles: Cost, 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.

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. It analyzes head-to-head the 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

Quality

As the two top sellers of composition shingles, GAF and Owens Corning cannot afford to suffer quality lapses. In fact, most roofing contractors and home inspectors consider GAF and OC shingles quality as generally good across the board. Our view is that core products like GAF Timberline HDZ shingles and OC TruDefinition Duration shingles offer the best value for the money in terms of the overall quality and performance you can expect from either product with the right installation.

While most industry experts agree that both brands offer generally good quality and strong value for the money, our view is that GAF and Owens Corning are not necessarily the most premium or highest quality shingles, especially across the ultra-premium lines. We would consider CertainTeed and Malarkey purely for product positioning based on premium quality, thanks in large part to the overall very generous amount of asphalt content that CertainTeed and Malarkey use in their products. That said, both CertainTeed and Malarkey are positioning their products in the premium quality shingles tier, and the pricing of their premium shingle lines reflects that.

An important caveat: When evaluating an asphalt shingle product on the basis of quality, “premium product” doesn’t automatically equal to a quality product. The quality of a true-and-tried standard shingle line can be higher than a newer and untested shingle positioned as a premium product.

Verdict: Both GAF Timberline HDZ shingles (previously Timberline HD, a number one selling asphalt shingle in the US) and OC Duration shingles have a proven track record of strong performance in various climates including high wind areas. Both products come with 130 MPH wind ratings thanks to the extra wide and reinforced nailing zones for faster nailing and more secure shingle installation. We have a virtual tie between these two top-selling architectural shingle products.

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Pro Tip: As much as high quality shingles can help extend the lifespan of a roofing system, the overall quality and soundness of the actual installation is by far the most important variable determining the overall lifespan of any roofing system. In other words, finding and hiring a trustworthy and conscientious installer is the best roofing choice you can make. The right installer will ultimately help you decide on the right combination of roofing products for the best performance at the right price.

To ensure the highest possible quality final product, we recommend that your installer applies “breathable” synthetic underlayment and uses at least three components of the roofing system, such as starter shingles and hip-and-ridge caps from the same manufacturer.

Costs Comparison

Here are the retail shingle costs per square (100 sq.ft.) for GAF and OC shingle series across the 3-tab, architectural, specialty, and premium categories. We also show the average fully installed costs per square for a basic re-roofing job on a single-story house.

Shingle Brand & Type Retail (1)
Shingle Cost
per square
Cost Installed (2) Key Distinction
GAF 3-Tab
Royal Sovereign $75 – $96 $300 – $350 Top Selling 3-tab
Marquis Weathermax $115 – $127 $350 – $400 Best Quality 3-tab
GAF Architectural
Timberline Natural Shadow (NS) $87 – $105 $350 – $425 Traditional Shake
1 Energy Star Color (white)
Timberline High Definition (HDZ) $90 – $115 $350 – $450 HD Shake Design
Best Selling Shingles
Timberline HDZ Reflector Series (RS) $96 – $120 $350 – $450 Cool Roof (CRRC), CA Title 24, LA Green Building Code
Timberline HDZ Reflector Series Plus (RS+) $99 – $125 $350 – $450 Darker and Richer Shake Colors, Cool Roof, CA Title 24, LA Green Building
Timberline American Harvest (AH) $114 – $125 $350 – $450 Extra Dimensional Look
High Contrast Colors
Timberline American Harvest (AH)
Advanced Algae Protection
$114 – $125 $350 – $450 American Harvest with
StainGuard Plus Protection
Timberline Ultra High Definition (UHD) $128 – $150 $400 – $500 Ultra-Dimensional Wood-Shake
53% Thicker Shake Design (more durable/longer lasting), StainGuard Plus Advanced Algae Protection
Timberline (UHD) Reflector Series $132 – $150 $400 – $500 Ultra-Dimensional Wood-Shake
53% Thicker than Timberline HDZ (more durable/longer lasting), StainGuard Plus Advanced Algae Protection
Timberline (UHD) Dual Shadow $128 – $150 $400 – $500 Ultra-Dimensional Wood-Shake Look with dual shadow,
53% Thicker Shake Design StainGuard Plus Advanced Algae Protection
Timberline Cool Series (CS) $200 – $220 $450 – $550 Energy Star certified
Cool Roof (CRRC)
Timberline ArmorShield (AS) II $230 – $255 $450 – $550 Class 4 Impact Resistance and shingle flexibility
SBS modified asphalt formula
GAF Premium and Designer Series
Slateline $150 – $189 $400 – $500 Slate Look with Diamond Cut granules for extra dimensionality, UV Blocker granules for longer lifespan
Grand Sequoia $180 – $200 $450 – $525 Extra-large Tabs for Sophisticated look, diamond cut granules for more dimensionality
Grand Sequoia ArmorShield (AS) IR $224 – $244 $450 – $550 Class 4 Hail Impact Resistance and shingle flexibility with
SBS modified asphalt formula
Woodland $182 – $194 $450 – $525 Hand-cut Wood Look
Camelot II $188 – $219 $450 – $550 Slate Look
Grand Canyon $238 – $252 $450 – $550 Western Shake
Glenwwod IR $320 – $344 $550 – $650 Class 4 Hail Impact Resistance Triple-layer SBS Modified
Owens Corning
OC 3-tab
Supreme $75 – $96 $300 – $350 1 Energy Star Color
(Shasta White)
OC Architectural
Oakridge $75 – $99 $300 – $400 1 Energy Star Color
(Shasta White)
Double layer Nailing zone
TruDefinition Duration $90 – $120 $350 – $450 1 Energy Star Color
(Shasta White)
Triple Layer Nailing zone
TruDefinition Duration Designer $96 – $140 $350 – $450 Bright, bold, and brilliant colors
TruDefinition Duration Storm $115 – $126 $350 – $450 Class 4 Hail Impact Resistance rated
TruDefinition Duration Flex $120 – $130 $400 – $500 Class 4 Hail Impact Resistance
SBS Modified for flexibility
TruDefinition WeatherGuard-HP $96 – $115 $350 – $450 Contrast and Dimension
Class 4 Hail Impact Resistance rated
TruDefinition Duration MAX $128 – $150 $400 – $500 Class 4 Hail Impact Resistance
SBS Modified for flexibility
TruDefinition Duration Cool $115 – $125 $400 – $500 CRRC, CA Title 24, LA County Green Building Code compliant
TruDefinition Duration Premium Cool $240 – $280 $500 – $600 Energy Star Certified,
Thicker Shingle Design,
CA Title 24
OC Premium and Designer Series
Woodcrest $180 – $210 $450 – $550 Wood Shake Look
Berkshire $184 – $215 $450 – $550 Slate Look
Woodmoor $190 – $225 $450 – $550 Wood Shake Look

(1) The retail cost per square can be lower with bulk discounts for popular fiberglass shingles like GAF Royal Sovereign, GAF Timberline HDZ and NS, and OC Supreme, OC Oakridge, and OC Duration shingles. There is normally no bulk discount for specialty and premium shingle lines.

The retail cost per square is for 100 sq.ft. of shingles only. It doesn’t include the cost of starter shingles, hip and ridge shingles, trim and flashing details, underlayments and Ice-and-Water shield, and general roofing supplies like nails, tarps, etc.

Note that most re-roofing projects will require 5% to 10% more shingles than the actual roof coverage. More shingles will be needed for roofs with multiple dormers and valleys.

(2) Installed cost includes materials and supplies, building permits, site cleanup, professional installation, and workmanship warranty.

GAF 3-tab and Architectural Shingle Retail costs, fully-installed costs, number of colors, and warranty details
GAF Premium and Designer Shingle Costs
Owens Corning 3-tab, Architectural, and Premium Shingle Costs
GAF and OC Shingle Costs notes

Did you know? Fiberglass shingles are sold in “bundles,” and the advertised price for most shingles is the bundle price, not the price per square. For most lines of shingles, three bundles make up a square, so each bundle covers about 33.3 square feet.

OC OakRidge shingles for sale in bundles

Thicker dimensional and architectural shingles are sold in bundles with fewer shingles, and therefore less coverage per bundle. The result is that more bundles are required per 100 square feet. With thicker and heavier shingles, bundles cover 25, 20 or even just 16.667 square feet.

The Retail cost is the cost of shingles only. Shingles are normally priced by the “square” or 100 square feet of roofing coverage. To determine the true cost per square, multiply the bundle price by:

3, if sold in 33.3 square foot bundles (e.g. GAF Royal Sovereign 3-Tab, GAF Timberline HDZ, or Owens Corning Duration)

4, if sold in 25 square foot bundles (e.g. GAF Timberline UHD)

5, if sold in 20 square foot bundles (e.g. Owens Corning Berkshire)

6, if sold in 16.667 square foot bundles (e.g. GAF Grand Canyon, and Owens Corning Woodcrest and Woodmoor)

Pro Tip: Based on the above, don’t just take the “bundle price” advertised on Home Depot or Lowe’s websites and multiply it by 3 to get the “per square” price. Doing that might really throw off your pricing and budget for some of the thicker/heavier premium architectural shingles.

Be sure to know the coverage of the bundle before figuring the price per square! Most re-roofing projects will often require 5% to 10% extra shingles to account for cutting of the shingles and material waste associated with hips, valleys, and cut-up parts of the roof.

The Installed cost is the total cost for shingles, all installation materials, and supplies, and professional (warrantied) labor. Installation materials include ridge and hip shingles, and underlayment for all roofs. Building permits and site cleanup are also included in the total cost of a job.

Owens Corning ProArmor underlayment for sale at Lowe’s

If the old shingles are torn off prior to installing the new shingles, known as a tear-off, then the cost will also typically include starter shingles and trim, minor deck repairs, and Ice-and-Water barrier applied directly to the roof deck at the eaves and valleys of the roof.

The complete package is called a roofing system. Both manufacturers have total roofing systems and offer the option of upgraded warranties to homeowners selecting a complete system (at least three components of the system such as underlayment, starter shingles, and hip and ridge caps must come from the same manufacturer) rather than mixing and matching materials from various manufacturers.

What brand offers the best pricing:

Our view is that both brands have very similar pricing in the core category of architectural shingles between GAF Timberline HDZ and Owens Corning Duration shingles. However, as can be seen in the pricing table above, Owens Corning offers better pricing in the specialty shingles category for hail-resistant shingle products like OC Duration Storm and Flex.

New Shingle Roof

$7,500
Average price
New Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
New Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

See costs in your area Enter Your Zip Code

Shingle Performance and Value for the Money Comparison:

Each brand makes two shingle designs: 3 tab, single-layer shingles and laminated shingles that have multiple layers fused together to form a thicker roof with better protection against the elements. This second group is often broken down into labels like Dimensional and Architectural, and Designer or Premium, but frankly, the labels are somewhat arbitrary.

Basic Three Tab, Strip, or 3-Tab Shingles

Every manufacturer makes 3-tab shingles. Also called strip shingles, they are a single layer of fiberglass mat immersed in an asphalt mix. The lower half of the shingle is cut to resemble either three wood shakes or slate tiles. The tabs are covered in roofing granules typically made with ceramic to shed rainwater and reflect radiant sunlight.

The major advantage of 3-tab shingle is cost. These are the most affordable asphalt shingles with a starting retail price of about $75 per square (75 cents per square foot), and an installed cost starting at about $300 to $350 per square ($3.00 to $3.50 per square foot). Strip shingles have a very traditional appearance because they were the only shingle type for nearly 100 years. These are fine shingles for areas that don’t experience strong winds.

The disadvantages start with the degree of roofing protection – 3-tab shingles are thinner and lighter, so they do not protect as well against hail and wind. They are fine for rain, even torrential rain.

The 3-tab shingle limitations cause shorter manufacturer warranties. And wind warranties are 60 MPH or 80 MPH rather than the industry standard of of 110 MPH (4 nails) 130 MPH (with 6 nails) for most architectural shingles.

Aesthetically, 3 tab shingles don’t have the deeper shadowing that real wood and stone roofing offer – the kind of shadowing that is better imitated by dimensional/architectural shingles.

GAF 3-Tab Shingles vs. Owens Corning

With GAF, you have two options, and that’s an immediate advantage for GAF over the single 3-tab line from Owens Corning.

Royal Sovereign: These shingles are GAF’s value line, a cheap asphalt shingle that you can expect to look good and protect your home for 15-20 years depending on your climate. The 25-year general warranty and 60 MPH wind warranty are considered the bare minimum for the industry.

Insider Insight: Did we say a 25-year shingle might last just 15 to 20 years?

Yes. The 25-year warranty doesn’t cover loss of surface granules, staining after the first 10 years maximum, or cupping at the edges due to climate conditions or poor ventilation in your home’s attic, which will cause heat and moisture to wreak havoc on the roof covering, especially asphalt shingles.

Did you Know? While 13 colors are manufactured, not all colors are available everywhere. This is common for many shingle lines. Only 8 Royal Sovereign shingle colors are offered in Chicagoland, for example, and 6 in Houston. Climate plays a role in this. White/light shingles are more commonly sold in sunny regions where their reflectivity can help prevent the penetration of solar radiant heat into a home.

Marquis Weathermax: While preferred in quality, this shingle is produced in just 3 colors, blends of medium brown, dark blue and gray. Sure, GAF says it has passed ASTM 110 and 150 MPH wind tests, but it’s wind warranty is just 80 MPH! Say what you want. All that matters is what you will stand behind. Marquis Weathermax is backed by a 30-year warranty, which is as long a warranty as you’ll find for 3-tab shingles.

With Owens Corning, you’ve got one option – but it’s an option worth considering, in our opinion, when affordability is your prime consideration.

Supreme: The Owens Corning Supreme shingles are produced in 11 colors. One of them, Shasta White, is an Energy Star certified shingle, and might be eligible for energy cost rebates from your electricity provider.

Did you know? “ENERGY STAR certified (minimum 25 SRI score) and/or Cool Roof rated (minimum 20 SRI score), solar-reflective roofing products can help reduce the amount of air conditioning needed in buildings, and can reduce peak cooling demand by 10-15 percent.” The most reduction in energy use is enjoyed in sunny regions. Do the math! If you use an Energy Star certified shingles, it will start paying you back immediately. The question is, will your home look good in near-white shingles?

3-Tab Shingles: Advantage GAF

We give the advantage to GAF for two reasons.

1. The affordable Royal Sovereign asphalt shingles are ideal for cheap makeovers, and they’re available in about the same number of colors as the Owens Corning Supreme (a misnamed cheap shingle if there ever was one). Sure, Supreme offers an Energy Star certified color in Shasta White, but there are two Royal Sovereign colors that are nearly as reflective – White and Desert Sand.

Those colors meet LA Green Building Code for roofing that reduces energy consumption. We know most of our readers don’t live in LA, but we make the point because the LA Green Building Code certifies roofing materials including shingles that reflect heat and reduce summertime air conditioning demand and cost.

2. The GAF Marquis Weathermax gives you a higher-quality option with a longer warranty. It’s just a better shingle than the OC Supreme.

GAF Timberline (Architectural) Shingles vs. Owens Corning

These are the most popular shingles from either brand – and this division includes the very important GAF Timberline vs. Owens Corning Duration shingle comparison. Timberline and Duration are two of the top-selling shingle lines from any brand.

GAF: To stay consistent, we begin with GAF architectural shingles, and the list is based on the cost, starting with the most affordable GAF architectural shingles. The products in this section are all GAF Timberline shingles. One of the Timberline shingle series is Cool Series (CS) EPA’s Energy Star rated shingles. Cool Roof shingles are covered in greater detail within the Energy Efficient Shingles section below.

Each series comes with a Lifetime Limited Warranty against manufacturer defects plus the GAF StainGuard algae stain protection warranty. Most wind warranties are 130 MPH; the HDZ and AH shingles have an Unlimited wind warranty when you install a complete GAF roof system complete with starter strip shingles, ridge cap shingles, roof deck protection and either attic ventilation or leak barrier such as Deck-Armor.

Timberline Natural Shadow (NS): If you’re looking for a low-cost architectural shingle aka dimensional shingle, this is it. At about the cost of the GAF Royal Sovereign 3-tab shingles, it includes a prorated lifetime warranty. The Timberline NS shingles are designed to look like wood shakes.

Timberline High Definition HDZ: This shingle designed for value, dimensional looks, and top performance replaces the Timberline HD shingle, which was GAF’s top-selling shingle. The upgrade features an advanced Dura Grip adhesive strip and a larger reinforced nailing zone GAF calls the StrikeZone.

Both, the Dura Grip and StrikeZone features make the shingle more resistant to wind – so much so that GAF backs them with an Unlimited wind warranty – a first in the industry, to our knowledge.

These GAF architectural shingles feature color blends designed to give the look of authentic wood shake color variation, and they are produced in 16 colors matched only by the Owens Corning Duration shingles. Here’s GAF’s Timberline HDZ shingle video overview.

Timberline American Harvest (AH): These shingles are available in 7 vibrant colors and have the same construction as the HDZ shingles. Hence, these shingles are also backed by the Unlimited wind warranty when installed as part of a complete GAF roofing system featuring the accessories mentioned above. The GAF American Harvest shingles differ in appearance. The tabs on the AH shingles are slightly more varied, an appearance GAF calls “dimensional.”

Timberline Ultra High Definition UHD with Dual Shadow Line: GAF says these shingles are 53% thicker than most GAF architectural shingles, and they’re sold in 4 bundles to the square. The thickness gives these shingles a beefier look that better replicates wood shakes and produces more visually appealing shadows among the shingles.

The construction is similar to the other lines with the 130 MPH wind warranty. It has more bulk material/asphalt (making it more-durable and longer-lasting, all else being equal) than the Timberline NS line, so the cost is higher.

Timberline ArmorShield AS II: This is impact resistant shingle is made with SBS modified bitumen or asphalt, shortened among roofers as mod bit, a synthetic rubber material designed to give the shingle both strength and flexibility. As a result, they receive the highest UL 2218 Class 4 Impact Rating. Timberline ArmorShield AS II is GAF Timberline series most expensive roofing shingle at $75 to $100 per square more than a comparable product from Owens Corning, TruDefinition Duration Flex shingles.

Estimated Roof Costs (1,700 sq.ft.)
Asphalt Shingles
Metal Roofing
Flat Roof
$7,500
$14,500
$8,225
See Roof Costs in Your Area

Did you know? In the UL 2218 Impact Rating test, steel balls in various sizes are dropped onto the roofing material at 90 mph from 12 to 20 feet high, two times in the same spot. Depending on how much damage is done, the shingle will receive anywhere from a Class 1 to a Class 4 Rating. The ArmorShield AS II shingles showed no damage, and hence the Class 4 rating.

Hail resistance test

Owens Corning:

Again, the list is in order of costs. Duration shingles are at the heart of Owens Corning’s architectural shingle options.

Most have 130 MPH wind warranties. Two options, Oakridge and Woodcrest, have standard 110 MPH warranties; you can get a 130 MPH warranty only with the enhanced and more costly installation techniques that include 6 nails per shingle, and requirement to use starter and hip & ridge shingles from Owens Corning.

All Owens Corning architectural shingles have lifetime warranties and an algae stain warranty that OC calls StreakGuard. None of them have an impact warranty.

Here are overviews of the Owens Corning architectural shingles:

Oakridge: This entry level architectural shingle along with the TruDefinition Oakridge shingles (colors that are specially formulated with bold, high-contrast hues) offer up to 16 colors (depending on the region) and go head to head with GAF Timberline Natural Shadow shingles with 8 colors.

OC OakRidge shingles for sale in bundles

Shasta White is an Energy Star certified shingle. Oakrdge series feature a double-layer fabric nailing zone for improved fastener grip – but OC thinks they’re only worthy of a 110 MPH wind warranty with the standard four-nail application method.

The 130 MPH wind uplift warranty is available only with a 6-nail application and Owens Corning Starter Shingles application along eaves and rakes.

If you want a cheap/affordable architectural shingle and winds over 80 MPH aren’t common in your area, consider Oakridge. Owens Corning marks Oakridge shingles as a popular entry-level architectural shingle product known for its good looks and affordability.

TruDefinition Duration: This is the most popular architectural shingle from Owens Corning that competes with GAF Timberline HDZ shingle. It comes in up to 16 colors including Energy Star certified Shasta White.

The 130 MPH wind warranty for OC Duration shingle is the result of a three-layered fabric strip in the nailing zone (vs. two layers for OC Oakridge shingle), which OC calls, “unique.” Nowadays, most quality architectural shingles from other top brands also have a similar construction, such as GAF’s layerlock for the Timberline shingle series.

TruDefinition Duration Designer: The construction and shingle profile are exactly the same as the standard Duration shingle. The difference is in the colors. Instead of varied shades of the same color found in most of the Duration series, Duration Designer shingle features color contrasts such as blues, browns, and oranges in the Aged Copper choice.

If your home’s exterior is bland or monochromatic, then these are a good option. If the exterior already has several colors, these might make the whole color scheme seem too “busy”.

Duration Storm: This hail resistant shingle line, with 8 colors, takes a small jump in cost from those above. Like GAF’s Timberline (AS) shingle, it contains an “integrated polymeric backing” that boosts its impact resistance to the same UL 2218 Class 4 rating as GAF ArmorShield II – but OC Duration storm shingles are less than half the price. However, this shingle doesn’t contain SBS modified bitumen, so it isn’t as flexible in high winds.

Duration Flex: This is the line that competes most directly with GAF ArmorShield II shingles since it has the SBS modified asphalt construction. However, the price is still far lower compared to the GAF’s Timberline AS shingles.

The wind warranty is the same 130 MPH, but Duration Flex shingle does not include the hail impact warranty (neither does the GAF Timberline (AS) series, nor any other asphalt shingle manufacturer). The profile of the Flex line is the same as all the Duration series, and 7 colors are produced.

The Best Value Architectural Shingle: Tie. Specialty Lines: Cost Advantage for Owens Corning

So, which brand has the best architectural shingles for the money? A case can be made for both.

Value comparison:

For the top-selling GAF Timberline HDZ shingles vs. Owens Corning TruDefintion Duration Series, we have a tie based on the overall value and performance you can expect from these two top-selling products/brands.

However, when looking at the specialty lines of shingles, such as the Hail Resistant shingles from Owens Corning, TruDefinition Duration Strom and Flex series give you a better value for the money than GAF’s Timberline AS series. Strong Cost advantage for Owens Corning.

Warranty coverage: Duration shingles are backed by similar warranties, though we acknowledge a slight advantage to GAF with the two lines that boast an unlimited wind warranty. However, it’s a small niche of homeowners that ever need to take advantage of that warranty benefit.

Pro Tip: Know when the information was written when doing online roofing shingle research. Here’s an example of why this is important.

Duration vs. Timberline: Wind Performance Previously, we heard from a lot of contractors who gave OC Duration the edge in the wind performance category vs. Timberline HD shingles. Many contractors would point to the SureNail construction technology used in Duration shingles.

SureNail tech makes for a tough shingle for high wind areas. However, that feedback we received from roofing pros was prior to GAF introducing Layerlock, a new wind performance technology employing a tougher adhesive strip and a widened reinforced nailing zone for faster nailing on the Timberline HDZ and American Harvest lines.

These GAF features boost shingle performance in high winds and give GAF the confidence to move the wind warranty into the Unlimited category. While both are good options in windy regions, GAF now has a slight advantage.

More Choices: Another reason we chose Owens Corning is that it gives you more options – 7 architectural shingles to 5 for GAF – with a pleasing array of colors and styles. We especially like the nicely varied blends in the Duration Designer series from OC that compare most closely with GAF’s American Harvest lines.

Premium/Designer Shingles

There’s not much choice here – with only three designer/premium lines, – when it comes to Owens Corning. GAF makes 7 shingle series in the premium/designer category; OC offers only three.

GAF Designer/Premium Shingles: GAF Designer shingle lines range in cost from midrange to very expensive. We’d put the top lines on par with the best shingles from CertainTeed, Malarkey, Atlas, and other premium shingle manufacturers. All 7 lines are covered by limited Lifetime warranties that aren’t prorated in the first decade, 130 MPH wind warranties and algae stain warranties.

Slateline: This is an affordable yet handsome line of slate-looking tiles. The tabs are uniform in shape and size. If you’re looking for a roof with understated elegance to install above brick or stucco, this is a good choice. It might clash with stone or wood. The four colors are dark, which is typical of slate. It’s worth stressing that these are a good value in the Designer category.

Grand Sequoia: While the Slateline shingles seek to go unnoticed, the GAF Grand Sequoia shingles draw the eye to their muscular profile with oversized tabs that replicate wood shakes in 7 medium and dark hues of brown and charcoal gray. They’re a bulky shingle that produces more depth in the profile and can give your home better protection in heavy weather.

Woodland: The shapes of the GAF Woodland shingles are seemingly random compared to Slateline. It’s a very different – more rustic and creative – look. Edges are rounded for a relaxed appearance. Woodland is a beefy GAF shingle sold in 4 bundles per square. The extra weight should provide enhanced weather protection.

Camelot II: The look of antique slate is the goal – think European buildings of the 19th and early 20th Century. The look is artfully achieved with a differing lower-tab, upper-tab cut. Camelot II is offered in 5 dark and rich tones. Midrange in cost, it should give your home 20-30+ years of quality coverage depending on your climate and local site conditions.

Grand Sequoia ArmorShield AS: Possibly GAF’s best all-around shingles, the Grand Sequoia AS features SBS modified asphalt that gives it impact resistance among the best on the market.

A Class 4 Hail Impact Resistance rating can help homeowners obtain a discount on homeowner’s insurance where large hail or wind-blown debris are common. It’s not a cheap GAF shingle by any stretch, but the combination of beautiful appearance, quality, and durability, make it a very appealing roofing option for higher-end homes.

Grand Canyon: This is a thick shingle in 4 colors, and each “color” features a blend of hues that really produces visual interest. The criticism of the GAF Grand Canyon shingles is that the shape of the tabs isn’t natural – it doesn’t resemble either wood shakes or slate tiles. Take a look before you buy. Many homeowners choose Grand Canyon shingles for their unique appearance rather than their success in matching wood shakes or stone tiles.

Glenwood IR: The GAF Glenwood impact resistant (IR) shingles take SBS modified construction to the next level – or actually the third level, since it boasts triple layers of SBS modified material. It’s also the most expensive GAF shingle – by far – and not a realistic choice for most homeowners. Our view is that Owens Corning offers nothing remotely like this shingle.

However, if you have suffered a roof damage from large hail stones in the past, GAF Glenwood IR asphalt shingles will certainly provide far better protection from hailstorms than standard architectural shingles. Your homeowner’s insurance premiums can potentially also be lowered, thanks to the class 4 hail rating and the overall premium quality this shingle delivers.

Owens Corning Designer/Premium Shingles: This isn’t a battle OC has chosen to fight. The brand is very competitive in the architectural shingle market but has yielded the field of Premium/Designer shingles to GAF, CertainTeed, Malarkey, and a few other players.

Woodcrest: This wood shake style designer line costs 60% to 100% more than Owens Corning Duration lines, but less than the top GAF Timberline series.

The reason for the jump in cost is that these are heavier shingles with a lot more material. The result is a thicker profile that looks more like a wood shake than thinner shingles are capable of. It has more shadowing, and the tabs are cut to produce a staggered lower edge, unlike the Duration shingles, which form straight lower lines.

Note: Depending on the angle you’re viewing Woodcrest; it has an attractive appearance that resembles genuine shakes – or it can have a zig-zag style that looks unnatural and is off-putting.

Berkshire: This is Owens Corning’s premium slate-look shingle. It compares most closely to the GAF Camelot II, though the GAF Slateline is also available at a lower cost.

There are just 5 colors in the Berkshire series, but OC has done a good job imitating the varied color hues of natural slate thanks to the use of diamond-shaped granules. For improved longevity, Stateline shingles feature UV-protection granules.

This is a 5-bundle-per-square shingle, which gives you an idea of how thick it is. The 360 pounds per square makes it one of the heavier shingles (PDF) on the market.

Woodmoor: OC’s most premium Woodmoor shingles are a step up from Woodcrest. OC Woodmoor vs. GAF Woodland. That’s the battle – It’s a fair and balanced fight. Woodmoor loses, however, in the wind warranty category. While the GAF Woodland shingles can have a wind warranty of 130 MPH with the enhanced installation method, the basic warranty for Woodmoor is just 110 MPH. It takes enhanced installation, and hence higher costs to get the 130 MPH warranty.

The Best Premium/Designer Shingles: GAF

The OC Woodmoor Premium shake style shingles are quite good, as are the Berkshire Slate-style shingles (Lowe’s) – but that’s all you have to choose from in the upscale category.

GAF wins the Designer/Premium shingle division with a much larger collection of options.

Class 4 Hail Shingles AKA Impact Resistant Shingles

The word “impact” has been used many times to this point, but here are the specifics about impact ratings. Underwriters Limited, or UL, tests a wide range of materials for many performance metrics including impact. The UL 2218 tests for damage caused by the impact of large hail, falling branches, wind-blown debris, and similar dangers.

Both brands offer Class 4 Impact rated / hail-rated shingles:

GAF: Timberline ArmorShield II, Grand Sequoia IR II and Glenwood IR shingles pass the UL 2218 Class 4 hail shingles test, also called the Class 4 impact test.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a shingle more resistant to impact than the Glenwood (IR) shingles – though their cost is very high.

They rank right up there with the CertainTeed Northgate shingles discussed in our Certainteed Shingles guide here.

Owens Corning: Duration Storm, WeatherGuard HP, and Duration Flex shingles achieve the UL 2218 Hail Impact resistance rating of Class 4.

The Best Class 4 Hail Shingles: GAF and The Best Value for the Price in IR Shingles: Owens Corning

GAF has more impact-resistant shingles including the heavy-duty GAF Glenwood Impact Resistant/IR shingles, one of the best Class 4 hail shingles available today.

GAF’s Glenwood shingles are ultra-premium shingle product that most homeowners probably will not seriously consider unless they are specifically looking for an expensive high-end asphalt roof.

When looking at the more mainstream architectural class 4 hail impact resistant shingle lines, GAF Timberline ArmorShield (AS) and Owens Corning Duration Flex are far more similar than they are different. That said, Owens Corning Duration Flex shingles cost significantly less (almost 50% less) than GAF Timberline (AS) series shingles.

Bottom line: Two very similar products, but with a big cost advantage for Owens Corning Duration Flex.

Did you know? A UL 2218 Class 4 impact rating does not constitute a warranty. Even if you have Class 4 shingles on your roof and a major hailstorm destroys them, you’ll likely be making a claim to your insurance company, not a warranty claim to GAF or Owens Corning.

Energy Efficiency: Cool Roof Shingles

This is a growing sector of the market, driven by consumer demand for building materials that help reduce energy use. The asphalt shingle industry is striving to stay relevant to homeowners looking for green roofing options. The goal is to prevent further market share loss to metal roofing, primarily, but also to clay/concrete tiles, composite shingles, and other innovative products.

Reflectivity: To do this, brands like Owens Corning and GAF are producing energy efficient shingles. The key to an energy-reducing shingle is reflectivity – reflecting the sun’s radiant heat away from the roof rather than absorbing it into the attic where some of the heat will penetrate the house and cause the air conditioning to work extra hard – at an extra cost.

The goal is energy efficiency recognized by independent testing agencies including these prominent groups: The Department of Energy’s Energy Star program, the worldwide Cool Roof Rating Council, and the local but influential California Title 24. See more on Title 24 below.

Here are the energy efficient shingles from the two brands:

GAF

Timberline Cool Series CS: This is GAF’s “highly reflective” shingle that is certified by Energy Star (Solar Reflectivity Index or SRI of 25+) and the Cool Roof Rating Council. GAF Timberline Cool Series shingles are available in 3 medium-to-dark tones, and the dark hues don’t fit the popular notion of a cool/reflective roof.

Reflectivity vs. Color: The heat-shedding technology on the Timberline CS shingles isn’t about color. It is the reflectivity of the granules applied to the surface.

GAF says, “It used to be that only shingles with white roofing granules could pass cool roofing tests. But thanks to our proprietary cool granules and unique formulas, Timberline Cool Series Shingles have greater reflectance than our traditional shingles. Our specially designed granules reflect more light to lower the roof temperature and help reduce the transfer of heat to the space below.”

Other Certified CRRC Shingles: The Timberline Cool Series (PDF) isn’t the only GAF shingle series that meets these standards.

According to GAF’s CRRC rated, LA Green Building Code, and CA Title 24 compliance section, other certified CRRC GAF shingles are: Timberline HDZ Reflector Series, Timberline HDZ Reflector Series Plus (for richer and darker colors), Timberline Ultra HDZ Reflector Series, Timberline Cool Series, and Grand Sequoia Reflector Series.

That is an impressive lineup of CRRC rated, energy-saving, and AC cost-reducing shingles.

Owens Corning

A good number of OC shingles reflect enough UV to qualify as a cool roof/Energy Star product. Owens Corning calls these asphalt shingles its “Cool Roof Collection”.

Your options are all TruDefinition Duration Cool (CRRC rated and CA Title 24 rated shigles with SRI of 20+) the and OC TruDefinition Premium Cool shingles (Energy Star rated shingles with SRI of 25+), and the Shasta White color in Duration, Oakridge, and Supreme shingle lines.

The Best Energy Efficient Shingles: It’s nuanced

GAF wins by a sheer number of options that have CRRC ratings and hence meet CA Title 24 requirements. This gives you, the homeowner, a greater choice. Extend that choice over millions of homeowners that will roof/re-roof their home this year, and more energy-efficient GAF shingles will be installed than comparable shingles from OC. In short, GAF offers energy-efficient roofing options on a larger scale.

If you look strictly at the specialty Energy Star rated shingles (SRI of 25+) category from both brands, you will find that GAF Timberline Cool Series (CS) shingles cost approximately the same as the OC TruDefinition Duration Premium Cool shingles. However, Owens Corning recently stated on their website that OC Premium Cool shingles will be discontinued, which puts GAF ahead strictly in the Energy Star rated shingles category.

Our view is that most homeowners (especially those in California) wanting an energy efficient composition shingle roof will opt for either the Energy Star rated colors within the regular shingle series lines (GAF white or OC Shasta White — both colors are rated by EPA’s Energy Star) or will opt for more affordable GAF Timberline (RS) Reflector Series (CRRC rated shingles with SRI of 20+) or OC Duration Cool (CRRC rated shingles with SRI of 20+) that cost on par with each other.

Verdict: Strong Advantage for GAF but only within the specialty Energy Star rated (expensive GAF Timberline CS) shingles series because Owens Corning Duration Premium Cool shingles have recently been discontinued (although you can still buy them from many roofing suppliers).

For more affordable solar-reflective shingle pricing consider either the regular architectural shingle lineups with Energy Star rated colors (GAF White and OC Shasta White) and/or Timberline HDZ Reflector Series (CRRC rated shingles with SRI of 20+) or Owens Corning Duration Cool (CRRC rated shingles with SRI of 20+)

Timberline HDZ Reflector series shingles are priced similarly to the standard Timberline HDZ shingles. Thus, we recommend Timberline HDZ (RS) Reflector Series over Timberline (CS) Cool Series due to a significant difference in cost for little benefit in terms of the overall difference in performance.

California Title 24 Shingles from GAF and OC

The State of California leads the nation in the push toward energy efficient / net-zero buildings. Title 24 is designed to “reduce wasteful and unnecessary energy consumption in newly constructed and existing buildings.” Part 6 is specific to roofing. Here is information from GAF on Title 24 and what the company is doing to produce roofing materials that comply with the code.

Both Owens Corning and GAF manufacture Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) rated shingles that comply with California Title 24 and Los Angeles County Green Building Code requirements. As noted in the previous section, GAF makes more shingle lines certified by the Cool Roof Rating Council. All CRRC rated (SRI of 20+) and/or Energy Star rated (SRI of 25+) roofing products also meet CA Title 24 and LA Green Building Code standards. To review, they are:

GAF: Timberline HDZ (RS) Reflector Series, Timberline HDZ (RS) Reflector Series Plus (for richer and darker colors), Timberline Ultra HDZ Reflector Series, Timberline Cool Series (Expensive Energy Star and CRRC rated shingles), Grand Sequoia (RS) Reflector Series (CRRC rated shingles), and regular GAF shingles in white (Energy Star and CRRC rated color in regualr GAF shingles series like Timberline HDZ that won’t break the bank).

Owens Corning: TruDefinition Duration Cool (CRRC rated CA Title 24 shingles) and TruDefinition Premium Cool shingles (Recently discontinued OC line — These expensive Energy Star rated shingles are still available for sale), and the Shasta White (Enery Star rated) color in Duration, Oakridge, and Supreme shingle lines.

Verdict: Tie in Cost and Performance GAF Timberline HDZ (RS) Reflector Series (CRRC rated with SRI of 20+) and OC Duration Cool series (CRRC rated with SRI of 20+) are energy-efficient solar-reflective shingles rated by the Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) for CA Title 24 and LA County Green Building Code compliance.

Warranties Overview: Which Brand Has Better Warranties?

This chart provides an overview of GAF vs. Owens Corning warranties:

The three main areas in which asphalt shingle warranties protect you are for material defects, (installation workmanship defects in some warranty tears), wind damage, and staining mainly caused by algae.

Note that no warranty covers Hail Impact Damage, even if the shingles have class 4 hail rating. You can still obtain a discount on homeowner’s insurance premiums with the class 4 Hail rated shingles, but there is no warranty against hail from any asphalt shingle manufacturer.

If you must have a hail impact warranty on your roof, then consider exploring options other than asphalt, such as metal roofing and stone coated steel roofs.

Standard Shingle Warranties

The brands are similar when it comes to the standard warranty for workmanship and defects. The 3-tab shingle warranties aren’t as good as the warranties on architectural shingles and premium/designer shingles regardless of the brand. What’s worth noting with GAF and Owens Corning is that the 25- and 30-year warranties on 3 tab shingles can be upgraded to Lifetime warranties when a complete roofing system – roof deck all the way to ridge shingles – from the same brand are used.

The Best Standard Warranties: Even

The GAF and OC warranties are essentially identical. The key to having any roofing warranty honored is correct installation. Find a roofing contractor that has a proven track record of getting it right the first time – and making it right in the rare event something goes wrong, without charging you an extra cent.

Wind Warranties

We see some differentiation here.

GAF: The 60 MPH warranty on the Royal Sovereign is equal to the industry standard. The 80 MPH warranty on the Marquis Weathermax is better than what you will find on most 3-tab asphalt shingles. GAF has a clear advantage in the architectural shingle category. The Unlimited wind speed warranty on the AH and HDZ lines is the best available. If you live in a hurricane zone and can find a shingle with a better wind warranty, buy it. Pro Tip: You will not find a better warranty!

Owens Corning: The wind warranties are decent, but not among the best in the industry. The Oakridge, Woodcrest and Woodmoor 110/130 warranties are subpar, in our opinion. If you live where high wind speeds are potential from tropical storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, or straight-line winds are common, avoid these shingles, and consider going with either Owens Corning Duration or OC Duration Storm or Flex.

The Best Wind Warranty: GAF

A quick look at the chart will show that GAF has more confidence in the wind performance of its shingles than does OC.

The Best Algae Staining Warranties: Even

Both brands offer 10-year stain warranties across their product lineup. It’s even.

Extended and Upgraded Warranties: It’s Nuanced

Owens Corning and GAF roofing brands offer upgraded or extended warranties, but we don’t necessarily recommend them, unless the cost is only marginal in relation to other competing quotes. Why?

Two reasons:

First, most homeowners don’t make use of the warranty – they never make a claim – and so their money is wasted. What if you had car insurance, but never drove the car? Roofing companies make profit by offering enhanced warranties. They would not offer them if it weren’t to their advantage. That should tell us something.

Additionally, asphalt shingle manufacturers are notorious for finding ways to deny warranty claims. And to be fair, most problems are the fault of the installer, and not caused by shingle defects. If your shingles fall off, as ours have shortly after they were installed on a new construction home, you’ll have to go after the roofing contractor, not the manufacturer.

In the end, guess who wins with upgraded shingle warranties that you pay extra for? It’s not the consumer. Extended/Enhanced/Upgraded warranties, call them what you will, are expensive. And they mean big profits for GAF, Owens Corning, and all other roofing shingle manufacturers.

That said, we do recommend the middle of the road approach whereby you can get a somewhat extended warranty (beyond the standard), when installing at least three components of a roofing system from the same manufacturer. For example, having your contractor install Owens Corning shingles, OC underlayment, and OC starter shingles and/or hip and ridge caps, can entitle you to extended coverage from the manufacturer at no additional expense.

Pro Tip: You will want to make sure that your contractor actually registers the warranty on your behalf with the manufacturer. They will use the contract from the sale of the job as a proof of purchase.

If you’d like to review the GAF and Owens Corning standard and enhanced warranty programs to compare them, here they are:

Bottom-line and Takeaways

Owens Corning and GAF are very much on par in the standard and most popular architectural shingle offerings among the top shingle lines such as GAF Timberline HDZ and Owens Corning TruDefinition Duration shingles.

OC also offers more affordable products across the spectrum of 3-tab and entry level architectural shingles like Supreme and Oakridge, but these shingles will not necessarily last as long or be as durable as the OC TruDefinition Duration and GAF Timberline HDZ shingles.

In the specialty architectural lines of shingles, Owens Corning offers a rather significant cost advantage for very similar performance between the Owens Corning Duration Storm and OC Duration Flex vs. GAF Timberline ArmorShield (AS) impact resistant shingles.

For value-engineered roofs, Owens Corning entry level shingles such as OC Supreme (3-tab economy shingles) and OC Oakridge (affordable architectural shingles) are also well worth considering, as they are largely on par with comparable GAF offerings.

Our view is that significant cost advantages of OC over GAF manifest very strongly among the specialty shingle lines like the impact-resistant shingles. Thus, if you are specifically looking for a class 4 hail-resistant shingle that will not break the bank, then Owens Corning is the preferred choice in terms of value-to-price return.

For more premium roof protection at costs comparable to premium brands like CertainTeed and Malarkey, GAF shingles offer more overall product choices, especially in the ultra-premium shingle categories.

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