Your 2019 Guide to Choosing Between GAF and CertainTeed Shingles
If you’re looking for new roofing shingles, there are two brands that you’re bound to run across in your search: GAF and CertainTeed. Both of these brands are reputable and very popular, and both of them can be good choices for many homeowners.
But each one has its own particular pros and cons. In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about making your decision between GAF and CertainTeed roofing shingles.
GAF vs CertainTeed: An overview
First, it’s important to understand a couple of key differences between these brands. Although they’re both very popular companies, they have noticeably different business models, and their product lines reflect that.
Think of it this way: GAF mostly sells “basic” shingles (although very good ones, at that), with a handful of premium, luxury product lines. Direct competitors to GAF includes brands like Malarkey, Tamko, and Owens-Corning.
CertainTeed, on the other hand, is a top-of-the-line brand through and through. It’s got a few product lines in a more affordable price range, but most are definitely at the higher end of the price spectrum. Not surprisingly, CertainTeed also consistently outpaces GAF in terms of durability and quality.
It’s worth mentioning, though, that the gap in terms of cost is smaller between the two brands than it was about a decade ago. As CertainTeed has expanded its share of the market, it has started to offer an increasing number of budget-friendly options. The Landmark Series is a good example of one of the company’s more affordable lines.
And just to further complicate things, GAF has also begun to sell some lines that can be considered premium products that are very close in quality to CertainTeed. For example, the Camelot line from GAF is widely regarded as one of the best product lines in its class.
With these generalities in mind, how do the two brands stack up against each other? Let’s take a look at the relative advantages and disadvantages of each one.
Why should I buy GAF?
Although GAF doesn’t have the same best-in-class reputation as CertainTeed, it’s still a worthy option for many homeowners. Here are a few things to consider about this brand:
- Among budget brands, GAF has an excellent track record of quality and durability.
- Unlike CertainTeed, which is typically only available to roofing contractors, GAF is easy to buy anywhere roofing materials are sold.
- In many regards, GAF stands up to CertainTeed despite a much lower price tag. For example, both brands hold similar certifications from the American Society for Testing and Material, and they’re both Class A fire rated.
- For most buyers, cost is the biggest advantage that GAF has over CertainTeed. Look at the two brands’ product lines for typical dimensional shingles: The Timberline shingles from GAF range from $115 to $125 per square (100 square feet), while the roughly equivalent Landmark Premium shingles from CertainTeed run between $128 to $140 per square.
- When it comes to shingles in the budget or mid-level range, GAF offers many more color choices than GAF.
When should you choose GAF over CertainTeed? If budget is a top priority, or if you have plans to move within the next 10 years or so, GAF is likely the right choice for you. Unless you plan to live in your house for the foreseeable future, CertainTeed simply may not be worth the upfront cost.
Why should I buy CertainTeed?
No doubt about it: On quality alone, CertainTeed is the superior brand. There’s pretty substantial evidence for this:
- It’s won numerous awards, including the Product Innovation Award from Architectural Products magazine for the NorthGate shingles line.
- Weight, as measured in pounds per square, is a key metric in assessing construction quality. CertainTeed offers several lines that are some of the heaviest in the business: The Carriage House line, for example, has a weight of 355 lbs, and the Arcadia Shake line clocks in at an impressive 450 lbs.
- Warranty is a major indicator of how much faith a manufacturer really has in its products. CertainTeed offers three tiers of warranty protection: Base, System Plus, and Golden Pledge. Offering 50 years of coverage for material defects, the Golden Pledge warranty option is one of the most generous you’ll find.
- Although not a measure of quality, it’s worth noting that CertainTeed offers many more color options for premium shingles.
Put simply, if you want the best of the best, CertainTeed is the way to go. Choose CertainTeed if you want to invest in shingles that will look amazing when they’re first installed, and will remain in excellent condition for many years to come.
For high-end houses, or for homeowners who want a warranty that isn’t chock-full of fine-print loopholes, CertainTeed is a perfect fit.
GAF vs CertainTeed: Final thoughts
Keep in mind that when it comes to the durability and quality of your roofing, installation is just as important as materials. If you’re on the fence between a top-tier GAF product line and a budget-friendly CertainTeed line, take a look at the contractors in your area. You may find a highly reputable local roofer who’s certified to install CertainTeed products but not GAF, or vice versa, and that could be a deciding factor.
Remember that new shingles are an investment that will affect the value of your home in a big way. According to Remodeling magazine’s 2019 data, roofing replacement with asphalt shingles has an average cost of $22,636 and an average value-add of $15,427. That’s a recouped cost of 68%— which makes it one of the more valuable upgrades you can make on your home.