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Which Brand to choose when replacing your Asphalt roof shingles?

Accurate Building Company - Roof Replacement

By. Robert Godwin

As a Licensed General Contractor with over 23 years of construction experience, I truly believe in having a quality product vs the cheapest option. In the Grand Strand & Myrtle Beach area, the weather conditions offer some of the most unique and challenging issues when it comes to making a roof watertight. I seem to be constantly asked the question which is the best brand of shingles. Part of my job as a roofer is to guide the homeowner in brand choices. I recommend CertainTeed asphalt shingles as I find the workmanship and materials are a much higher quality than with GAF asphalt shingles.

The GAF Materials Corporation was established in 1886. Since that time, they merged with ELK in 2007 and continue to manufacture both Elk and GAF brand shingles. They have approximately 15 different types of shingle styles that have vary in quality & composition.

CertainTeed was established in 1904. It began as the General Roofing Company. Saint Gobain acquired the company in 2008. CertainTeed won the Professional Remodelers Best in Class award for their superior quality roofing system.

So how do you decide between the two companies? They have both been in business for a long time. They both have many similar competing styles of shingles and many other roofing products.

#1. Warranties!

What does the company think of its product?

Your roof is going to be put through some of the worst conditions at the beach.

You should always have proper installation of your products performed by a certified installer of the brand of shingles you choose.  This is very important when it comes to the warranty. It is usually required that the installer be certified and if not, your warranty is then just a piece of paper. In most cases of warranty denial, it is found that the fault lies with the installation of the product and or other materials used on the roofing deck.

In order to get the Best warranty the Manufacturer has to offer. Make sure you have an installer that is certified by the manufacturer, as well, make sure the installer uses all the required Manufacturers shingles and accessories that go along with it. Such as. CertainTeed Landmark Architectural shingles, CertainTeed Roof runner synthetic felt, CertainTeed Swift start starter strip, CertainTeed Ridge Vent, and CertainTeed Shadow ridge cap shingles to finish it off. The combination of all of these products along with using a 6 nail pattern on the shingles will give you the strongest warranty available on the market with the least amount of loop holes.

Most warranties you get from the manufacturer are finely picked apart by the warranty departments of the companies, therefore you should do your homework when looking at warranty and deciding on the right product.

Find a contractor that has a great reputation and years of experience to help guide you on your choice. 

Comparing Warranties between GAF and CertainTeed

When buying asphalt shingle roof systems, you should always look for an installer that has been certified by the Manufacturer. This will mean that the roofing installer has taken the time to make sure that all the installers and supervisors have been trained on the manufacturers recommend installation procedures. This means the manufacturer will be willing to stand behind its warranty better than the average installer.

Both GAF and CertainTeed have a range of warranties coving their various products. Shingle warranties are notorious for having loopholes that let the manufacturer off the hook for issues like faulty installation (They are very picky), Poorly ventilated roof decks and attics, shingles installed in cold weather that don’t properly seal, and more.

GAF’s warranties are more stringent than CertainTeed so there are more reasons for the manufacturer to deny your warranty claim.  Once again because these warranty claims are often denied by all roofing manufacturers you must do your due diligence in hiring only an expert preferably certified roofing installer.

#2. Quality vs Reliability

Quality in asphalt roofing shingles in determined by how much material is used and how the shingle is constructed.

  • CertainTeed: All the shingles are fiberglass-reinforced asphalt (SBS modified bitumen) shingles constructed in fused, laminated layers. Most provide 4 or 5 layers of coverage over the entire filed. Many CertainTeed products weigh more than 250lbs per square (100 square feet) with some of the top line products more than weighing more than 450 lbs. per square.

    Anyone that says weight doesn’t matter is trying to sell you something less superior. More material when as well-constructed as CertainTeed shingles are, leads to better resistance to wind, impact, cupping and cracking.

  • GAF: These are also fiberglass-reinforced asphalt shingles made in fused layers. Properly overlapped installation guarantees 3 or 4 layers of coverage. The heaviest GAF shingles do weigh in at 450 lbs. per sq. But most lines including the bestselling residential shingle Timberline weigh less than 240 lbs. per square (100 square feet)

So the advantage goes to CertainTeed here. Please be clear we are arguing about very good vs best.  This is not a junk vs quality argument. GAF became the best-selling shingle brand because it makes good products. CertainTeed owns the premium shingle category because it makes OUTSTANDING shingle products.

When looking for the company we wanted to partner with and sell their products we choose to go with CertainTeed because of their amazing commitment to quality. In my opinion CertainTeed Asphalt shingles give you the best protection for your roof. No other company is going to stand behind it’s product like CertainTeed.

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