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.
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).
- 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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OC vs. Tamko: Shingle Style Selection
The clear winner here is Owens Corning with a much wider range of shingle styles and options.
Let’s explore each brand’s selection:
Owens Corning Shingle Styles
Starting with basics and moving to premium shingles, here are your Owens Corning shingle options.
Supreme: This is OC’s 3-tab shingle with a 25-year warranty. 60mph wind-resistance. 25-year shingle warranty to original owner and 10-year algae warranty. 14 colors.
OC Duration Series: The best-selling line from Owens Corning competes with the Tamko Heritage and Heritage Premium shingles, plus CertainTeed Landmark and GAF Timberline shingles. Duration shingles are produced in four lines:
- Duration: TruDefinition color platform for brightness and contrast, SureNail fabric nailing strip for better hold, 130mph wind-resistance with 6-nail instead of 4-nail installation, 10-year algae warranty and lifetime limited shingle warranty. 14 colors.
- Duration Designer: All the above in 7 colors.
- Duration STORM: All the above in 7 colors plus WeatherGuard technology using polymeric backing for Class 4 impact resistance
- Duration Premium COOL: All the features except WeatherGuard and TruDefinition since these are made in light colors to be solar-reflecting shingles. 4 colors.
Oakridge: Owens Corning’s value-line dimensional shingles in 14 colors with 110mph wind resistance that can be enhanced to 130mph with 6-nail installation. 10-year algae warranty and lifetime limited warranty to original purchaser.
Woodcrest: These are uniquely cut and textured shingles with wood shake appearance. Class A fire resistance. 110/130 wind-resistance, 10-year algae warranty and lifetime shingle warranty to original owner. 8 colors.
Devonshire: Cut to look like classic slate shingles with clipped tabs. 130 wind-resistance, 10-year algae warranty and lifetime shingle warranty to original owner. 4 colors.
Berkshire: Slate-look shingles with oversized tabs, ideal for large homes and a dramatic style. 110/130 wind-resistance, 10-year algae warranty and lifetime shingle warranty to original owner. 5 colors.
Woodmoor: Rustic shake-look shingles with thick layers. Class A fire rating. 110/130 wind-resistance, 10-year algae warranty and lifetime shingle warranty to original owner. 9 colors.
Tamko Shingle Styles
In like fashion, here are Tamko shingle options from basic to better to best.
Elite Glass-Seal: 3-tab, 25-year warranty, 60mph wind-resistance, Class A fire rating. 11 colors.
Heritage: Rustic-look dimensional shingles with 30-year warranty. Class A fire rating and 90mph wind rating. 15 colors.
Heritage Premium: A step up in thickness from standard Heritage. Class A fire, 110-130mph wind rating based on installation method. 50-year warranty. 13 colors.
Heritage Woodgate: Rugged wood shake appearance with bold contrasts and depths. Class A fire rating and 110-130mph wind rating based on installation technique. 6 colors.
Heritage Vintage: Wood shake appearance with angular lines. Class A fire rating, 110-130mph wind rating based on installation method. 50-year warranty. 5 colors.
Advantage – Owens Corning: If you like Tamko for other reasons, you’ll find several shingles you like. But for sheer size of the collection, OC has more choices in roofing shingles.
Owens Corning vs. Tamko: Warranty
Warranties tell you whether the brand believes in its products. Both companies offer a range of warranties that are comparable with one another and other leading brands.
As you research any shingle brand, not just OC and Tamko, you will find that issues with getting the manufacturer to back its warranty are easily the top criticism (and frustration) homeowners have regarding shingles.
As we said at the start, installation is a huge part of the overall quality of a roofing job. The point is emphasized by warranty issues. Therefore, take your time to find an experienced installer with a proven track record of quality installation and following specific manufacturer guidelines.
We can help ensure that you find some of the top installers in your area to get quotes from and discuss your roofing project. There is no cost or obligation for using the service.
All roofing contractors are pre-screened, licensed and insured for your protection. Plus, they know they are competing for your work.
In addition, make sure you get an installation warranty from your roofing contractor. The manufacturer warranties cover product defects, but not installation errors.
Owens Corning Warranty Options
OC offers 5 different warranty options:
- Standard: Suitable for first and second layers of shingles over any roofing underlayment. The non-prorated period is 5 or 10 years depending on the shingle.
- Total Protection Roofing System: This warranty requires the installation of Owens Corning shingles, Owens Corning Hip & Ridge shingles and two of these four: OC Ventsure roof vent, OC underlayment, OC starter shingles and OC ice and weather barrier. The non-prorated period is 5 or 10 years depending on the shingle.
- The System Protection, Preferred Protection and Platinum Protection are exclusive to the Owens Corning Contractor Network – roofing contractors certified to properly install OC shingles. They offer longer periods without the warranty being prorated. For the System Protection warranty, you must install 2 of the 4 products listed in the Total Protection warranty. For the Preferred Protection and Platinum Protection warranties, you must install 3 of the products with other qualifying factors too.
Details are found in the table below:
Did you know? All Owens Corning warranties can be transferred once during the lifetime of the warranty. If you sell your home during the warranty period, “the second Owner must contact 1-800-ROOFING within sixty (60) days after the date of the real estate transfer to obtain the benefits of this warranty.”
Tamko Warranty Options
Tamko’s warranties are quite straightforward:
- 25-year warranty: 300 months. The full-start period is 5 years during which the warranty is 100%. After 5 years, the warranty is prorated, so reduced by 5% per year over the next 20. The wind warranty is 60mph for 5 years and the algae cleaning warranty is 10 years. This warranty applies to Elite Glass-Seal shingles.
- 30-year warranty: 360 months. The full-start period is 15 years during which the warranty is 100%. After 15 years, the warranty is prorated, so reduced by 6.67% per year over the next 15 years. The wind warranty is 130mph for 15 years and the algae cleaning warranty is 10 years. This warranty applies to Heritage and Heritage Woodgate shingles.
- 50-year warranty: 600 months. The full-start period is 20 years during which the warranty is 100%. After 5 years, the warranty is prorated, so reduced by 3.33% per year over the next 20. This warranty applies to Heritage Premium and Heritage Vintage shingles. The wind warranty is 130mph for 15 years and the algae cleaning warranty is 10 years.
Did you know? Tamko warranties can be transferred once within two years (Elite Glass-Seal) or within five years (all other shingles). The warranty claims, “To transfer this Limited Warranty, the Original Owner must provide TAMKO with written notice within thirty (30) days after the transfer. The written notice must include the names of the Original Owner and the Purchaser, the address of the building upon which the Shingles are installed, the date of retail purchase of the Shingles, and the date of the transfer.”
Advantage – Owens Corning: While Tamko has fewer warranties that are less complex, OC has better warranties for two reasons. Warranty transferability is more flexible. Secondly, the warranties offered when you use a roofer in the OC Contractor Network, the proration of the warranty is eliminated or reduced.
Return on Investment: The Cost-to-Value Return of Roof Replacement
The 2017 average, according to a national survey by Hanley Wood Remodeling Magazine, for replacing an asphalt shingle roof is about 69%. That means if two otherwise identical homes are sold, the one with a new roof will bring a higher price – 69% of the cost of the roof.
Did you Know? A new roof is a huge boost to a home’s curb appeal, so will help you sell your home. Homebuyers are looking for homes that won’t require expensive updates and repairs in the next 5-10 years. A new roof gives them peace of mind.
Pro tip: Mid-priced roofing upgrades bring a better cost to value or ROI than expensive roofs. If you’re thinking of moving in the next five years or so, a shingle like OC Duration or Tamko Heritage will cost less and bring a higher percentage return than upscale shingles like OC Berkshire and Tamko Heritage Vintage (PDF).
When Owens Corning is a Better Choice
For the slightly higher cost of OC shingles (except for the costliest OC shingles where the price is much higher), you get slightly better quality. Choose Owens Corning shingles when:
- You plan to live in your home indefinitely
- You have new construction or are going to tear off all shingles and want the warranty advantages of a complete OC roofing system installed by an OC-certified installer
- You’ve had good experience with a roofing contractor, and the contractor recommends Owens Corning
When Tamko is a Better Choice
Tamko is a more affordable shingle in all tiers – good, better and best. The brand offers good quality and value. Choose Tamko when:
- You want to save money on comparable shingles
- You plan to move in the next 10 years, so are OK with slightly more limited warranties
- Your preferred roofing contractor recommends Tamko and is willing to give you a solid warranty on installation
Find a Qualified Installer
More than 75% of all roof failures are eventually attributed to installation errors. That’s why most warranties are careful to state that improper installation voids warranty coverage. Take time to interview installers to find one that is experienced and trustworthy.
Pro Tip: As a final tip, roofing warranties can also be voided if the roof deck has problems or the attic isn’t properly vented. Ask your roofing contractor to inspect the attic ventilation and roof decking and suggest any repairs that will help ensure the roof lasts longer and remains under warranty.
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