Before You Begin: New to roofing? Check out our guide on asphalt vs. metal shingles roofing to help you decide which material is suitable for your needs. Plenty of factors can affect your outcome.
If you're shopping around for a new roof, you're sure to have come across the name GAF. Who is GAF, and why are they so popular that 25% of the homes throughout the US have GAF shingles? Some speculates run the rumor gambit that the success is due to the marketing budget, which is twice that of the competition.
Keep reading to find out if GAF's performance matches the hype.
Table of Contents
Is GAF a Reliable Roofing Manufacturer?
GAF is one of the top-known roofing manufacturers, offering stiff competition to other known brands like Owens Corning and CertainTeed. In terms of quality, they're top of the line.
This company is among the world's leading manufacturers for roofing and waterproofing products, with 34 manufacturing operations in 26 US locations and over 3,700 employees.
There have been class-action lawsuits filed against GAF between 1998 and 2009. However, GAF was not the only roofing company with claims filed against them, and all issues have been resolved that led to the suits.
GAF Roofing Shingles Product Lineup
When it comes to roofing shingles, GAF has an option for everyone, no matter your budget, color, and design preferences, or specific needs like extreme weather or impact resistance.
Like most shingles manufacturers, GAF offers 3-tab, architectural, and designer shingles.
Three-tab shingles offer a traditional shingle look that you see on most roofs. This type of asphalt shingle is the most cost-friendly and often has the most color options. GAF has two 3-tab strip shingle lines.
25-year limited transfer
The RoyalSovereign line comes in 13 dynamic color palettes. This line is so popular, more than 10 million shingles have been installed throughout North America. These shingles have a Class A fire rating and a Micro Weave Core resists splitting and cracking, allowing for a longer lifespan.
Bottom Line: Many people choose 3-tab shingles like RoyalSovereign when shopping on a budget and not interested in more stand-out roofs.
The Marquis WeatherMax line is a premium traditional 3-tab asphalt shingle, with a five-year Smart Choice Protection and a Micro Weave core. This budget-friendly shingle does not have algae protection or impact resistance for extreme weather. It has 3 colors.
Bottom Line: The Marquis WeatherMax is for those on a budget who prefer darker tones to complement lighter palette exteriors.
Architectural shingles cost more than 3-tab. GAF offers multiples lines of dimensional Timberline roof shingles, the #1 most sold shingle in the US. All GAF architectural shingles have a limited lifetime warranty, Class A fire rating, and a 130 mph wind rating.
Shadow wood shake
Wood shake (thicker)
Bottom Line: HDZ is for those on a budget who still wants an asphalt shingle with glorious color and performance in locations with fair weather.
It features even-toned wood shaker shingles with a classic, subtle shadow effect for an upscale feel. Advanced AP, Dura Grip adhesive seals, and 8 neutral color choices make this line a popular choice for HOA, historical homes, and houses where you don't want a lot of attention drawn to the roof.
Bottom Line: You'll want the Timberline NS shingles if you need an understated, classic shingle in a soothing color with natural shadows to add dimension.
This line is a step up from the previous, with a higher cost of $125 to $150 a square. It is 53% thicker, allowing for enhanced durability and lifespan. These wood Shaker-inspired asphalt shingles come in seven color options. However, it is not rated for extreme weather impact.
Bottom Line: Timberline HD shingles are the perfect addition to homes in humid and heavy moisture locations that need a dramatic roofline to increase curb appeal. However, they wouldn't be suitable in areas with heavy weather.
- Timberline AH (American Harvest)
This is the only GAF line with LayerLock technology and StainGuard Plus Time-Release algae protection. Available in four color pallets with contrasting tones for extra dimension, using colors found in America’s heartland. These shingles come with a no maximum wind speed warranty when installed with GAF accessories.
Bottom Line: Timberline AH line is suitable for those who enjoy the natural colors and want the extra protection of unlimited wind rating warranty and 25-year algae protection.
Specialty architectural shingles offer deeper dimension and depth to your roof while also providing extra protection for specific needs. GAF offers two specialty dimensional shingles.
- Timberline AS (ArmorShield) II
This is an SBS Modified Impact Resistant (IR) shingle rated Class 4, with proprietary shadow bands applied by a feathering technique. This feature gives the shingle extra depth and dimension. Algae protection, Dura Grip Adhesives, and seven color options make this line a customer favorite at $230-$255 a square.
Bottom Line: AS II line gives you maximum protection from impacts and severe weather in an eye-catching dimensional design.
Pro Tip: Some insurance companies offer discounts for Class 4 IR roofs. However, read the warranty closely before deciding on a company. Most warranties will not cover hail damage, despite a Class 4 rating.
- Timberline CS
If you’re in the market for an energy-efficient wood shaker dimensional asphalt shingle, you’ll want to check out this line. These shingles, available in only three colors, can help lower energy costs between 7%-15% due to high reflective technology. StainGuard protection and Dura Grip adhesives ensure your shingles stay in place and look great at $200-$220.
Bottom Line: CS line is for anyone who hopes to save money on heating and cooling by using a cool color roof. However, this line isn’t for extreme weather.
Did You Know: You may be eligible for incentives and discounts by your utility company when installing cool shingles.
Designer shingles are asphalt or fiberglass shingles designed to look like materials from nature, such as wood or slate. GAF offers five different Designer wood shakes and slate-inspired shingles, broken down into Premium (1) or Value collection (4). All designer shingles have a limited lifetime warranty, Class A fire rating, and 130 mph wind resistance.
Camelot II (VC)
Grand Sequoia AS (VC)
It comes in three colors formulated to accentuate the Artisan-crafted wood shaker design. These triple-thick designer asphalt shingles are heavier than others, with a Class 4 IR, with AP and Dura Grip Adhesive. They are also a higher cost of $320-$344 a square.
Bottom Line: This product line is ideal for customers in locations with significant weather conditions who want a more realistic wood look and don’t mind paying a higher cost. If you’re on a budget, designer shingles probably won’t be in your price range.
- Camelot II
It is available in five dark blends with contrasting shades that add unmatched depth and beauty in vibrant hues. Backed by a limited lifetime warranty (see warranty section below), this line of Artisan-crafted slate designer shingles has AP and Dura Grip Adhesive.
Bottom Line: This line is the perfect match for homeowners that prefer a dimensional roof that takes different hues throughout the day in climates that experience little to no severe weather. Choose this option if your home is a contemporary or modern aesthetic with clean roof lines and irregular frames.
- Grand Sequoia AS
An SBS modified asphalt shingle that’s Class 4 impact rated due to its flexibility, allowing for better wind resistance. StainGuard protects your roof from algae while a lifetime limited transferable warranty keeps you covered. Available in four colors, rugged wood-shake shingles are sure to add appeal to any roof.
Bottom Line: If you’re in the market for an impact-resistant wood shaker roof for locations with extreme weather, including hurricanes, hail storms, and high winds, check out this line. It goes perfectly with rugged mountain homes, log cabins, and heavy wood accents.
These hand-cut shingles resemble olden times with modern advancements like Advanced Protection Shingle Technology, StainGuard, and Class A fire rating. These Artisan crafted shingles have oversized tabs that provide sophisticated dimensions in two custom contrasting color palettes.
Bottom Line: The Woodland line is perfect for homeowners of European-style homes who want to keep the historical look of oversized, hand-cut shingles. This style looks superb on Victorian homes.
- Grand Canyon
It is another Artisan shingle, available in four custom dark colors that accentuate the shingle’s natural wood shake design with dimension and depth. These fiberglass asphalt shingles have algae protection and Dura Grip Adhesive.
Bottom Line: The Grand Canyon is for anyone who doesn’t mind spending top dollar on a superb designer wood shake shingle designed after nature.
It has four colors and resembles a natural slate shingle due to bold shadow lines and tapered cut-outs. At a fraction of the cost of the real thing, you can enjoy a dimensional shingle with Advanced Protection tech and algae protection.
Bottom Line: Slateline shingles are ideal for customers looking to achieve a slate roof without incurring the material costs in locations with mild to low occurrence severe weather. This product does well on modern and contemporary style homes with irregular roof shapes.
When debating whether GAF is suitable for you, consider these advantages, in addition to our product overviews above, to make a final decision.
- GAF Complete Roofing system
A significant advantage is the GAF-Lifetime Roofing System, which consists of six GAF roofing products to give your roof full protection. When you choose the GAF complete roofing system, you get:
- GAF Timberline Shingles (limited lifetime warranty)
- Cobra ridge vent and attic ventilation
- Roof deck paper by Deck Armor
- Starter strip shingles (necessary at the eaves, optional for the rakes)
- Weather Watch leak barrier for valleys
- Ridge cap shingles (non-vented ridges and attic vents)
Your roofer must use GAF shingles and at least three other GAF products to qualify for enhanced warranties, including any of these listed.
- Certified Installation
GAF doesn’t just make great products, but they also use experienced roofers who have received training on installing GAF products correctly. The GAF Master Elite certification gives peace of mind that the roofer meets the following qualifications:
- Insured and licensed
- Good craft reputation
- Receives ongoing professional training on the installation of GAF roofing
If you choose not to use a GAF Master Elite contractor, you will not be eligible for the enhanced warranties, including System Plus or Golden Pledge. See our warranty section for more on this.
- Superior Warranties
Since we’re on the topic of warranties, we want to list in the advantages section that GAF has some of the best warranties in the industry compared to competitors like Owens Corning or CertainTeed.
- Plenty of options
No matter your budget, preferred styles, special features (impact resistant, wind resistant), or location, GAF is sure to have a product that meets your individual needs.
Compared to other roofing brands, there aren’t that many downsides.
- Shortage of Master Elite roofers
You may find problems reaching a Master Elite certified roofer that’s received GAF training and certification. If you’re not interested in enhanced warranties, this issue won’t affect you. But remember that GAF requires a Master Elite roofer to install your roofing if you want advanced protection. Currently, only 2% to 3% of roofers have the desired qualifications and training.
When the layers of dimensional shingles start to separate, delamination can occur as a defect due to improper fusing of the layers during manufacturing. In most cases, this issue occurred while the warranty was still under 100% coverage. Delamination can occur with any brand of architectural shingles, so we’re not just picking on GAF.
- Warranty loopholes
Unfortunately, this area is a problem spot for many GAF customers. However, 90% of all GAF customers experienced zero issues with their roof, eliminating the need to test the warranty policies. This percentage is similar to that of Owens Corning or CertainTeed. If you have to file a claim, it can be a huge hassle, with multiple interactions while you have to “prove” the problem exists and is the responsibility of GAF to fix.
Company Pricing by Product
In terms of pricing, GAF’s amounts are fair compared to the competition. Below, we list the prices for each product line’s materials (per square or 100 sq ft) and the price with installation.
Royal Sovereign (3-Tab)
Timberline NS (Architectural)
Timberline HDZ (Architectural)
Timberline AH (Architectural)
Timberline CS (Architectural)
Timberline UHD (Architectural)
Timberline AS II (Architectural)
Grand Sequoia (Designer)
Camelot II (Designer)
Grand Canyon (Designer)
Glenwood IR (Designer)
Pro Tip: The cost per square (100 sq ft) does not include the cost of starter shingles, trim, flashing, hip and ridge caps, underlayment, or supplies (nails, tarps, etc.).
Did You Know: Fiberglass shingles come in bundles (1 bundle = 33.3 square feet), so the price may be based on the price of a bundle rather than the price per square. Most shingles require three bundles for one square (100 square feet).
As we stated earlier, GAF is at the top of the pack in terms of warranties. However, it would be best if you took the time to read all the fine print listed in warranties before choosing a product line. There are five warranties GAF offers, with differing terms for all shingles except 3-tab:
- Limited Warranty Shingles & Accessories
- Limited Warranty Roofing System
- System Plus
- Silver Pledge
- Golden Pledge
Tip 1: What is the rule on warranties?
A lifetime warranty will last for however long the original buyer owns their house. If a new owner buys the house, this person will qualify if the transfer happened during the Smart Choice Protection Period, which we’ll look at momentarily. However, if the shingles go on anything other than a single-family detached home, the warranty will only be valid for 40 years.
The limited lifetime warranty has a one-time transfer to new owners, who must provide a written notice to GAF within one year of obtaining the property for the transfer to be valid. Transfers that occur during the Smart Choice Protection Period get the same coverage as the original owner. If the period has ended, the warranty will only last two years past transfer to the second owner.
Tip 2: What is Smart Choice Protection Period?
Costs covered during the Smart Choice Protection Period include labor for repairs or recoveries of defective GAF products and the price for replacement parts (based on GAF’s decisions). The warranty does not cover the cost of tear-offs or roof disposal. Once this coverage ends, GAF will not cover the costs of labor. They only provide replacement parts or reimbursement, based on how long it’s been since the roof was installed divided by the time left under warranty.
Smart Choice Protection period for Manufacturer Defects
Smart Choice Protection Period
Timberline and Designer
Tip 3: What is the Wind Warranty Coverage Term?
The wind warranty only applies if your shingles were installed to GAF’s specific requirements and will not cover damage to starter strip shingles, including replacement and hand sealing unsealed pieces. This warranty reimburses the homeowner for costs of damaged or blown-off shingles. But does not cover flashing, metalwork, or underlayment.
Pro Tip: Your claim will be denied if damage occurs because the roof does not seal properly due to installation at the wrong time of year. Wait until late spring to summer when there is adequate solar heat. If you decide to have your roof installed when it’s cold, ask about hand sealing, which is time-consuming and additional costs.
Wind Speed Warranty Guidelines
Wind speeds (mph)
Timberline and Designer
110 (w/o special installation) -130 (w/ special installation)
The warranty will cover the max wind speeds with particular installation when there are six nails per shingle instead of four (LayerLock shingles only need 4 when using GAF Starter Strips on rakes and eaves). You also have to use GAF Starter Strip products for the warranty to cover max wind. When using GAF Ridge Cap shingles, the guarantee only applies if the installation was done to GAF standards.
Tip 4: Is there Algae Warranty Coverage?
The Algae Warranty applies to all GAF products featuring the StainGuard (or Plus) logo, which guarantees that your roof will not become discolored by blue-green algae during the protection period.
Algae Warranty Coverage Guidelines
Wind speeds (mph)
Timberline and Designer
Are you confused about color choice? Neutrals are always a safe bet, or you could choose to go with GAF’s most popular options of Charcoal, Shakewood, Weathered Wood, or Barkwood. Use the Virtual Remodeler tool to see how each color looks on your home before you buy.