Best Roof Shingles Brands 2021 and Worst to Avoid

Choosing a new roof can be a complex, overwhelming task when you realize how many different types and brands exist. How do you know which kind of roof shingle to pick? Which brand has the best reputation and customer satisfaction? Get comfy and read on to learn about the best roofing shingles from top roof shingles brands. We'll also introduce the different types of shingles. 

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most popular choice, primarily due to the affordable price and wide variety of selections. It's also easier to DIY or to find experienced roofers to do a proper installation. This type of shingle consists of a fiberglass mat covered with asphalt topped with color granules. 

A ton of brands produce asphalt shingles, with the most popular style being 3-tab shingles, also referred to as strip shingles. This style is the traditional style for home shingles, although other types are starting to offer stiff competition. The biggest downside is a shorter lifespan.

Here are two of the top brands for asphalt shingles - GAF and CertainTeed.

GAF - Largest Selection

GAF is the leader of roofing manufacturing, with 34 production plants and 3,700 employees. The massive inventory and wide availability make GAF one of the most popular brands, with over 10,000 shingles installed throughout North America. 

GAF is most popular for its 3-tab shingles, although they're also a fan favorite for their lines of architectural and designer shingles. Unlike most roofing manufacturers who only produce one line of 3-tab shingles, GAF offers two - RoyalSovereign (best seller) or WeatherMax.

The Royal Sovereign 3-tab line costs $0.81 a square foot (12" x12"), ranging between $75 and $96 a roofing square - 100 square feet. The cost of having your shingles professionally installed can cost between $300 and $350. In terms of price, this is the most affordable line that still gives you top quality.

CertainTeed - Premium Pick

Most professional contractors and roofing suppliers agree that CertainTeed takes first place as the best roofing manufacturer. However, this reputation does come at a higher cost than other brands. 

Initially, CertainTeed focused on high-end products. But they've since moved into more economical lines, including two 3-tab asphalt shingles - XT 25 or XT-30. CertainTeed also offers a large selection of architectural and designer shingles. 

CertainTeed products cost more in comparison with other brands. However, their 3-tab line is an economical choice that's cheaper than GAF. You can expect to pay around $0.74 a square foot or $70 to $85 per roofing square for the XT-25.

Brand

GAF

CertainTeed

Wind resistance

110-130 mph

60 mph

Warranty

25-year limited

25-year limited

Colors

9

9

Algae protection

No

Yes

Costs

$0.81 a sq ft

$0.74 a sq ft

Other great 3-tab asphalt shingle manufacturers

Brands to avoid: 

Architectural Shingles

Architectural shingles are a type of asphalt shingle that consists of multiple layers fused to make your roof have dimension. 

Most large roofing manufacturers will have one or more lines of architectural shingles. Many brands offer a signature line with variations for special features, like impact resistance or energy efficiency. And most companies also produce 3-tab and designer shingles.

Here are two of the best brands for architectural shingles - Owens Corning and Malarkey.

Owens Corning - Great Selection

Owens Corning knows a thing or two about producing great shingles, making it onto the Fortune 500 list since the first year. Although OC has shingles in all three tiers, they offer the widest selection in architectural styles. And best of all, OC's logo consists of the adorable Pink Panther. 

The signature architectural line for Owens Corning is the Duration. This product is the competitor of signature architectural lines from other prominent brands. It also comes in eight variations, although four lines (Flex, Cool, Max, and Cool Plus) are only available regionally. 

Another architectural line offered by OC is the Oakridge - available in 6 colors (and TruDef Oakridge - 9 colors), which come with a 110-130 mph wind rating and a limited lifetime warranty. Both lines have built-in algae resistance.

The Owens Corning Duration will set you back $80 to $115 a roofing square, whereas you'll pay $84-$120 for the Duration Designer, $110-$140 for the Duration Premium, or $140-$180 for the Duration Storm line.

Malarkey

Malarkey and CertainTeed have a constant battle for the top roofing manufacturer. Malarkey also makes roof shingles in all three tiers, although there are many more options for architectural styles.

Due to the high quality and popularity, Malarkey is more of a premium brand. It's not likely that you'll choose this brand if budget is a significant factor in your decision-making. 

Malarkey offers the Highlander Nex and Nex AR, the Vista and Vista AR, and the Legacy or Legacy Scotchgard for architectural shingles. All shingles have a lifetime warranty with a 7 to 15 year Right Start Period covering 100% of costs, transferable once.

In terms of colors, Malarkey offers multiple Energy Star Cool colors. The Legacy and the Vista lines have nine color options, and the Highlander has seven.

The Highlander NEX will run you $120 to $127 a roofing square (around $1.20 an sq ft), whereas the NEX AR costs $130 to $135 ($1.30 an sq ft). The Vista is $131 to $137, while the Vista AR is $139 to $143. You'll spend the most for the Legacy line, costing $142 to $147 a square or $148 to $155 for the Legacy with Scotchgard protection.

Brand

Owens Corning

Malarkey

Wind resistance

130 mph

110 to 130 mph

Warranty

Limited Lifetime

Limited Lifetime

Colors

9 (Duration line)

9

Algae protection

Yes

Yes

Costs

$80-$180

$120-$155

Other great asphalt shingle manufacturers

Brands to avoid: 

Metal Shingles

Metal is another common roofing material. Metal roof costs more than traditional asphalt shingles, but the longevity is two to three times as long. 

You'll recoup the expenses for a metal roof if you live in your home for more than two decades. Many people who install metal roofing won't need to replace their roof again during their lifetime. There are multiple types of metal with varying lifecycles. Some types can last up to 100 years or longer.

Let's look at two of the best metal roofing manufacturers - McElroy Metal and EDCO.  

McElroy Metal 

McElroy Metal produces affordable metal shingles designed to resemble cedar shake, slate, clay tile, or traditional shingles. They've been producing metal products for 50 years, giving them the experience to deliver quality roofing materials. 

There are three options for metal roof shingles - the Met-Tile, Milan, or Tilcor Stone. Or there's the Maxima, a standing-seam option. For a more economical solution, McElroy also has a variety of exposed fastener metal panel lines - Max-Rib, Multi-Rib, Mega-Rib, Mesa, R-panel, Multi-Cor & M- Cor, U-panel, or 5V.

Pricing can range around $3 to $5 a square or $30 to $50 a roofing square. This price is higher than asphalt shingles and other shingles materials.

EDCO

EDCO is another reputable producer of metal roofing, operating since 1946. All of EDCO's shingles have four-way interlocking systems, with wind ratings up to 160 mph, high impact ratings, and a coat of TRINAR finish to keep the multi-tone colors from fading.

You have three product lines to choose from - ArrowLine Enhanced (6 weathered colors), the Generations Metal Shake (9 weathered colors), and the Infinity Steel Shake (7 colors), which features a Whisper Quiet coating for sound dampening of outside noises.

EDCO is a premium brand, costing $4 a square foot and higher, depending on the product line. 

Both companies offer a variety of metal shingle styles in various colors. However, the multi-tones of the EDCO give them a slight advantage. McElroy does provide more selection at lower costs than EDCO. But EDCO has better wind and impact ratings.

Other great metal shingle manufacturers

  • MetalWorks (Tamko)
  • PermaLock
  • AlumaLock
  • InterLock
  • Matterhorn (CertainTeed)
  • Decra

Brands to avoid: 

  • Classic (great selection but may be challenging to find an affordable contractor in your area)

Wood 

Wood is another material you can use for your roofing. You can find wood roofing in a shake or shingle design. The difference between the two is manufacturing, and final look once installed. 

Shingles are machine cut with a tapered design. Cedar shakes are hand-split to provide a more rustic look. Due to the design, shakes don't lay flat when installed. Wood roofing is a pricier option and requires more upkeep than other shingle types. They generally last 20 to 25 years, which is less than materials like metal.

Certi-Label

Certi-Label has multiple wood shingles and shakes in its product lineup. This brand is by the Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau (CSSB). 

There are multiple lines offered - Certi-Split Handsplit Shakes, Certi-Sawn Tapersawn Shake (Premium or Number 1, 2, or 3 grade), Certi-Split Tapersplit (Premium Grade only), Certi-Split Straightsplit, Certigrade Cedar Shingles (Number 1 Blue Label, 2 Red Label, 3 Black Label).

Pricing for any of Certi-Label's roofing products varies by contractor and supplier. Shingles usually run between $2 and $3 a square foot, whereas shakes cost $1.75 to $3 a square foot. 

Pro Tip: When installing wood roofing on your home, it's crucial to check with your state and local building codes. Texas, Colorado, and California have bans against wood roofing due to fire risks. 

Slate Shingles

Real slate shingles consist of 100% natural stone with zero additives. Slate contains mica (up to 40%), which creates a low shine that makes it easy to identify in sunlight. 

While slate can make an appealing roof resistant to insects, water absorption, and rotting and is fireproof, this material is pricey. And because it's a natural stone, slate is heavy, making it unsuitable for all roofs. Slate shingles can weigh between 800 and 1,000 pounds a square. 

And best of all, slate can last over 100 years when installed properly. Due to the weight and installation requirements, slate is rarely a DIY job. 

Vermont Slate 

Vermont Slate Company is one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of slate, produced by cutting up boulders and making natural roofing that meets or exceeds ASTM C-406 S1 standards. 

This company has a wide range of available slate roof products, allowing for limitless designs. Some of the most popular lines include CUPA 7, 12, heavy 3, and 14, as well as many color blends. 

Slate is one of the most expensive materials, ranging from $10 to $30 (or more) a square foot and between $5,776 and $23,564 for a total roof install, including materials and labor.

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