GAF vs CertainTeed – Which is the Best Roofing Shingles

Before you begin: Want to know more about GAF and CertainTeed? Check out our individual reviews for each company. 

In the roofing shingle industry, no two names are more known than GAF and CertainTeed. This review compares GAF vs. CertainTeed side by side and declares a winner between CertainTeed vs. GAF for the best roofing shingle. 

GAF vs. CertainTeed - Who’s the Best?

GAF and CertainTeed are two of the largest and most known roofing manufacturers on the market. But as this review will demonstrate, these two companies are not equal. 

Both companies outperform the competition, including IKO, Tamko, Owens Corning, and Atlas. Malarkey is another top-tier brand that’s ranked next to CertainTeed for the “best” classification. GAF and its competitors fall into a “better” category, falling short of CertainTeed and Malarkey.

CertainTeed takes the lead as the best due to being the top premier exterior building manufacturer (with an award for the Professional Remodelers Best in Class in 2005). This company is more high-end, with most products being on the more expensive side, although there are a few budget-friendly options.

On the other hand, GAF is the world’s largest roof and waterproofing manufacturer. They offer 15 shingle lines, varying in price, composition, and quality. GAF’s primary focus is on affordable shingles with a few premium products, such as the Camelot II, said to be the best in its class.

Point for: The first point goes to CertainTeed for reputation, durability, quality, and selection.

 GAF vs. CertainTeed Price

The most significant difference between CertainTeed and GAF (and all other competitors) is price. As we’ve stated, CertainTeed is a premium brand with more expensive products, while GAF is more budget-friendly. 

The most similar line is between GAF Timberline HD vs. CertainTeed Landmark, which are in the same affordable category in terms of products. Although similar in price, Landmark shingles are only 3 to 5% higher, Landmark outperforms the Timberline series in quality and durability.

Both GAF and CertainTeed manufacture shingles in all 3 product lines - 3-tab (traditional), architectural (dimensional), and designer. 

Types

CertainTeed (100 sq ft)

GAF (100 sq ft)

3-tab

XT-25 - $70-$85

Royal Sovereign - $62-$78

3-tab

XT-30

Marquis WeatherMax $62-$76

Architectural

Landmark - $85-$100

Timberline - $115-$125

Architectural

Landmark Pro - $120-$130

Timberline HD/HDZ $85-$100

Architectural

Landmark Premium - $150-$160

Timberline Ultra HD/HDZ $125-$150

Premium Designer

Woodland $170-$194

Slateline $150-$189

Premium Designer

Presidential $450-$500

Grand Sequoia $250-$280

Pro tip: You can find GAF shingles at any home supply store such as Home Depot or Lowe’s, but CertainTeed primarily sells to wholesalers who only sell to professional contractors. If you’re DIYing your roofing, it’s cheaper to pick up your shingles at your local store than having to get them from a contractor, who may mark up the price to make a profit.

Point for: This round goes to GAF due to the broader selection of cheaper-priced shingles than CertainTeed’s more premium prices. When comparing quotes for both brands side by side, those on a budget will lean towards GAF over CT.

Shingle Quality

A high-quality shingle doesn’t just look great; it also performs exceptionally for many years. The quality of a shingle is due to the construction and the amount of material used.

CertainTeed and GAF both have standard 110 mph winds. But the wind rating can go up to 130 mph using upgraded installation techniques like using a 6-nail application rather than 4-nail and using the brand’s compatible caps and starter shingles.

Two brands have a Class A fire rating (best possible) with comparable American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) certifications.

GAF shingles are fiberglass-reinforced asphalt shingles formed by fused layers. When overlapped properly, GAF shingles give three to four coverage layers.

If weight is a factor for you, GAF has a few heavy shingles. The Grand Canyon line weighs 450 pounds per square. But the majority, including all of the Timberline series, will be less than 240 pounds a square.

Downside: The negative of a lower weight is that there are shorter warranties that are less inclusive than CertainTeed’s. See our warranty section below for more

CertainTeed shingles are laminated, fused layers of SBS modified bitumen (fiberglass-reinforced asphalt) that cover four to five layers (some may be less) along the entire shingle surface. 

A large portion of CT’s products weighs more than 250 pounds per 100 square feet - one roofing square - while premium lines like Grand Manor (425 pounds) or Arcadia Shake (450 lbs) provide the most robust construction. 

Heavier weight and more material provide the shingle with higher resistance to cupping, wind, cracking, and often hail impact.

Downside: There is a downside to the heavier weight of these shingles. Your roof structure must be sturdy and able to support excessive weight. And installation must be done correctly, especially on steep roofs, to prevent the shingles from breaking loose or becoming damaged.

Point for: CertainTeed gets another point for having slightly higher quality shingles across all tiers. But that’s not to say that there’s anything negative about GAF. The quality of these is fantastic too, so it’s still a wise choice for many.

Shingle Selection

CertainTeed and GAF both have a balanced lineup of shingles to fit all budgets, architectural styles, and personal design tastes. 

CertainTeed

CertainTeed offers shingles in a three-tiered system: Traditional/Strip (3-tab), Designer (Architectural), and Luxury (Designer architectural). 

  • 3 tab

CertainTeed offers two 3-tab (strip) traditional shingles, the XT 25 and the XT 30 IR.

The XR 25 comes in 9 vivid colors, including 1 Energy Star color (Shasta White), while the XT 30 IR comes in 7 (no Energy Star colors).

Both lines have a 10-year StreakFighter warranty that protects against blue-green algae, a 5-year SureStart protection plan, and a limited lifetime warranty against any manufacturer defects. The XT 25 LL warranty is for 25 years, while the XT 30 is for thirty years.

These fiberglass shingle lines are budget-friendly and Class A fire-rated. However, the XT 25 has a 60 mph wind warranty for 5 years, while the XT 30 5-year warranty is 70 mph-rated. The XT30 is also Class-4 impact-resistant, making it suitable for severe weather and hail.

Product

Colors

Warranty

Wind Rating

Special feature

XT 25

9

25-year Lifetime Limited

60 mph

EnergyStar color

XT 30 IR

7

30-year Lifetime Limited

70 mph

Class 4 IR

  • Architectural

CertainTeed’s architectural line - referred to as designer shingles (not the same as the standard classification for designer shingles, which are extra-dimensional architectural shingles) is the company’s best selling category. Pricing here can range from affordable options similar in price to GAF shingles up to the more pricey side.

The most popular product is the Landmark line, which comes in a few different variations. This line is comparable to GAF’s Timberline product series. Landmark shingles are dual-layered laminate over a fiberglass base. Ceramic-coated granule blends and shadow lines create dimension and popping colors.

Each line has a transferable limited lifetime warranty covering manufacturer defects, 10-year SureStart Protection, and StreakFighter AP (algae protection). However, with the Landmark and ClimateFlex line, you get a 10-year warranty, while all other lines have 15-year guarantees.

See our warranty section for more about CertainTeed warranties.

Product

Design

Colors

Wind rating

Weight

Landmark

Wood shake

24

110 mph

219-238 lbs

Landmark Premium

Wood shake w/ contrast

4

110-130 mph*

300 lbs

Landmark Pro*

Wood or slate

6

110-130 mph*

240-267 lbs

Landmark Climateflex***

Wood shake

6

110-130 mph*

240-267 lbs

  • Architect 80 is a double-brand for Landmark Pro and is limited to the Northwest region
  • Using CertainTeed starter shingles and hip and ridge caps
  • Climateflex is CLass 4 impact rated and suitable for cold climates due to modified asphalt

Pro tip: Your roof should have more than a 2” slope per foot to use these shingles. For low-slopes (2:12-4:12), you have to use extra underlayment. CertainTeed WinterGuard is waterproof and works for placement around the eaves and other places where ice dams occur.

  • Designer

CertainTeed also has a nice selection of designer shingles. But as mentioned, CertainTeed’s premium shingles are some of the highest on the market. These shingles come with a 15-year 110 mph wind warranty (up to 130 mph), 10-year SureStart protection, and 15-year StreakFighter AP warranty, and a transferable limited lifetime warranty against defects.

Brand

Design

Colors

Layers

Grand Manor

Slate

8

Five

Highland Slate

Slate w/ shadows

6

Single

Carriage House*

Cut corner scalloped edge slate

8

Four

Belmont

Slate

6

Two

Belmont IR**

Slate

6

Two

Presidential Shake

Cedarwood shake

6

Two

Presidential Shake TL

Wood shake

6

Three

Presidential Shake IR**

Wood shake

4

Two

  • Ideal for steep-pitched roofs (Victorian, Colonial gables)
  • Class 4 rated impact-resistant

 

GAF

No matter your design preferences, budget, or protection needs, GAF will have a shingle for you.

  • 3-tab

GAF offers two lines of traditional strip shingles. The most popular line (more than 10 million installed in North America) is the Royal Sovereign, which comes in nine colors. The Marquis WeatherMax is only available in three colors.

Brand

Warranty

Wind Rating

AP

RoyalSovereign

25-year

110-130 mph

Yes

Marquis WeatherMax

30-year

80 mph

No

  • Architectural

GAF offers the largest selection of architectural shingles, with the most popular line being the Timberline, which comes in different variations. Remember that we compared this product series to the CertainTeed Landmark products due to their similarities. 

All of GAF’s architectural shingles have a Class A fire rating, 130 mph wind rating, and a limited lifetime warranty. The chart below demonstrates the different specifications of each Timberline product. 

Timberline Series

Colors

Design

HDZ

16

Wood shake

NS

8

Shadow wood shake

UHD

6

Wood shake (thicker)

AS II*

7

Architectural

CS**

3

Architectural

AH

4

Architectural

  • Class 4 Impact Rated
  • Cool Colors pass CRRC (Cool Roof Rating Council) California Title 24 and LA Green Building Code compliance

Pro tip:Check with your insurance company about savings you may get from having a roof that’s Class 4 rated. You may also be eligible for benefits when using Energy Star colors.

  • Designer

GAF’s designer shingles fall into two categories - Value collection or Premium. All of these products look like natural elements, usually wood or slate. Each line has a Class A fire rating, 130 mph wind resistance, and a limited lifetime warranty.

Brand

Colors

Design

Collection

Glenwood

3

Wood shake

UP

Camelot II

5

Slate

VC

Woodland

4

Hand-cut European

VC

Grand Sequoia AS

4

Wood shake

VC

Slateline

4

Slate

VCVC

Grand Canyon

4

Wood shake

VC

Point for: In terms of how many products each brand offers, both brands offer a wide variety of shingle designs. However, CertainTeed has a marginally larger selection, making them the winner.

GAF vs. CertainTeed Warranty

A brand’s warranty is a sign of the company’s quality and the confidence they have in their product. When comparing CertainTeed and GAF, you see that both brands have multiple types of warranties.

However, both brands also have plenty of loopholes that can make it difficult and frustrating to get a claim approved. Common issues that will void a claim include improper installation (top reason for denial), airborne chemicals, shingles installed in cold weather, or poor ventilation of attics and roof decks. 

Given that GAF has more stringent warranties, there are more reasons for claim denials than CertainTeed. To have the best success at having a claim approved, be picky about choosing an experienced roofer that follows the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Pro tip:  To ensure you get the most protection, choose a contractor that also offers an installation warranty, which will cover any repairs or problems caused by installer error.

GAF Warranties

GAF offers three types of warranties that vary in availability by individual product. Some products allow for an upgrade by meeting specific terms. 

The base warranty covers 100% of costs (including labor) for ten years, except for 3-tab shingles, which only have a warranty of three to five years.

The next level of warranty offers 100% coverage (20-years for 3-tab, 50 years for all others). This warranty covers the entire system, with labor warrantied 20-30 years (3-tab) to a lifetime.

The top warranty level has the same features as the better warranty, plus a 40-point factory inspection and disposal costs.

A few things to know about GAF warranties:

  • GAF does not offer a prorate for the first ten years. Coverage reduces yearly until the 40th year when it becomes 20% for the final years of the warranty.
  • With 25-year 3-tab shingles, the warranty covers material defects for three years. The warranty extends to five years for 30-year strip shingles.
  • Two qualifying products are needed and the installation of GAF shingles to get the complete protection of the lifetime limited warranty. Qualifying products include Deck Armor underlayment, starter strip shingles, Cobra attic ventilation, or ridge cap shingles.
  • The StainGuard warranty protects against staining for 10 years (temperate zones only; 5 years for tropical zones). 

CertainTeed Warranty

CertainTeed also offers three warranty options on a three-tier system - Base (standard), System Plus (better), or Golden Pledge (best). 

Several factors affect CertainTeed’s warranty, including the model of shingle, ventilation, climate, and location (country) of installation. 

At a minimum, CertainTeed’s warranty offers coverage for 20 years (limited to the original owner) and covers defective shingles, labor costs, and the price of repairs or replacement.

Point for: In terms of warranties, CertainTeed has more comprehensive coverage, longer periods, and better options than GAF, making CT the winner for this round.

ROI During Resale: GAF vs. CertainTeed

Many people want to know the ROI (return of investment) from replacing the roof before selling their home. The average cost-to-value return is around 66%. 

But the actual percentage of recouped costs can vary higher or lower, depending on the roofing system chosen. While you can ask for extra money during a sale for having a new roof - and many times get the amount or a large sum back, you may lose some money if you choose to install an expensive designer roof. Many times, this style of roof will cause you to lose ROI.

Point for: Having a new roof installed on your house before putting it on the market can make your home sell quicker. Most homebuyers prefer to buy a home that will not require expensive updates or remodels for at least five years after taking ownership.

Conclusion

When choosing between CertainTeed and GAF roofing shingles, you really can’t go wrong with either choice. Both companies produce superior shingles in a wide range of styles, colors, and pricing. 

If budget is your main concern, GAF has a larger selection of affordable shingles, while CertainTeed has a few cheaper brands among many higher-priced lines. But if you’re going to base your decision on points scored, CertainTeed is the clear winner over GAF. 

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