As you prepare for your upcoming roof replacement, it probably seems like there are a million things to consider. Between choosing a roofing contractor, your shingle color, and your shingle brand, things can get overwhelming— fast.
Luckily, you don’t have to go into the process blind. We’re here to help you learn more about two very common shingle brands: GAF vs. CertainTeed. Let’s explore the pros and cons of each to help you narrow down what’s best for your home.
GAF vs. CertainTeed: How They Compare in 5 Categories
GAF and CertainTeed are two of the biggest shingle manufacturers in the roofing industry. They join the ranks of other reliable names, such as:
- Owens Corning
CertainTeed roofing shingles are often thought to be a high-end brand. Most products lean to the more expensive side, with some more cost-effective options. GAF, on the other hand, is the world’s largest roof and waterproofing manufacturer. They offer many different shingles that focus on affordability, with a few premium offerings that are often considered best in class.
Even though GAF and CertainTeed are generally both dependable shingle brands, they each shine in different categories. Let’s break down how they compare in these five categories:
- Shingle quality
- Shingle selection
- Durability and longevity
1) Shingle Quality
A high-quality shingle performs well in the following categories:
- Wind resistance 🌬
- Fire resistance 🔥
- Layers of material 🧱
- Shingle weight ⚖️
🌬 Both CertainTeed and GAF shingles can stand up to 110 mph winds. However, if contractors use an upgraded installation technique for each brand, they can achieve a wind rating of 130 mph.
🔥 Both brands have a Class A fire rating, which is the best possible rating for fire resistance.
🧱 When it comes to shingle material layers, GAF offers three to four layers of coverage, while CertainTeed offers four to five layers.
⚖️ It’s often thought that a heavier shingle has more protective qualities and offers more resistance to wind and hail, but some roofing professionals will argue that a lighter shingle is best.
Most of GAF’s shingles weigh less than 240 lbs per square, although their Grand Canyon line weighs 450 lbs per square! Most CertainTeed products weigh more than 250 lbs per square, while a few lines exceed 425 lbs.
🏅 Winner: CertainTeed (But it’s close in this category!)
As we mentioned earlier, CertainTeed is a more premium shingle brand, and its products are more expensive overall. GAF typically has more affordable shingle lines.
In just about every category (3-tab, architectural, and designer shingles), CertainTeed is more expensive than GAF. The only category where GAF is a little more expensive than CertainTeed is when comparing standard GAF Timberline architectural shingles with CertainTeed’s Landmark architectural shingles.
However, as we get into CertainTeed’s Landmark Pro/Premium and GAF’s Timberline HD/Ultra HD, CertainTeed returns as the more expensive option.
🏅 Winner: GAF
3) Shingle Selection
CertainTeed and GAF both have a great lineup of shingle options to fit different design tastes and budgets. Finding a great option to fit your personal taste and home’s architecture will not be hard between these two brands.
Both brands offer numerous options for standard 3-tab, architectural, and designer shingles. GAF’s Timberline architectural shingles are actually one of the best-selling shingle collections in the country. The Timberline collection has seven sub-categories that each have 8+ color offerings.
CertainTeed also offers plenty of color options and sub-style categories for all of their main shingle lines. There’s no doubt you’ll be able to find something you like with either brand.
🏅 Winner: Tie!
Any reputable shingle manufacturer should offer some sort of warranty to demonstrate the confidence they have in their product. Both GAF and CertainTeed have three different tiers of warranties.
- Base Warranty: 100% coverage for 10 years with the cost of labor included. 3-tab shingles are only covered for three of five years.
- Tier 2 Warranty: 100% coverage for 50 years or 20 years on 3-tab shingles. The entire roofing system is covered. Labor is covered for a lifetime or 30 years for 3-tab shingles.
- Tier 3 Warranty: All the same features as tier 2 plus a 40-point factory inspection and disposal costs.
CertainTeed Warranty Options:
- Base Warranty: Material defects and labor covered for 20 years (or 3 or 5 years for 3-tab).
- System Plus Warranty: Material defects are covered for 50 years, and labor is covered for a lifetime. (3-tab shingles have 20-year material coverage and 25 or 30-year labor coverage.)
- Golden Pledge: Same features as the System Plus warranty + a 25-year workmanship warranty.
🏅 Winner: CertainTeed (Both brands offer impressive warranties, but since CertainTeed offers 20 years of minimum coverage, they get our medal for this category.)
Most roofing contractors will agree that both GAF and CertainTeed are high-quality roofing materials that both offer impressive durability. Even though both are credible materials, there are subtle differences between the two that impact overall longevity.
Let’s see how they compare in two categories that often affect durability: impact resistance and granule loss.
There are different class categories when it comes to impact resistance:
- A Class 1 rating requires a shingle to not crack after being hit twice in the same spot by a 1.25-inch diameter steel ball dropped from a 12-foot height.
- A Class 4 rating requires the shingle to withstand a 2-inch diameter steel ball dropped from 20 feet. This is the highest impact rating a shingle can achieve.
In terms of granule loss, some roofers claim that GAF shingles experience a lot of granule loss before removing the plastic from the bundles. However, there isn’t any data that shows long-term issues with GAF granule loss after installation. So, we can conclude that both brands experience pretty normal levels of granule loss throughout the lifespan of the roof.
🏅 Winner: Tie!
Explore Your Options Before Getting a New Roof
While the comparison between GAF and CertainTeed has CertainTeed slightly pulling ahead with the overall win, there’s no argument in the roofing community that both products are acceptable for most residential roofs.
Here at Gouge Quality Roofing, we actually prefer to work with the roofing manufacturer we think is best: Owens Corning. Thanks to our status as a Platinum Preferred Contractor, we’re able to offer exclusive extended warranties for complete roofing systems.
Our team ensures that you don’t walk into a roof replacement project blind. We’ll walk you through the entire process, educating you on all your options every step of the way. Reach out today with any questions!