Blog #1- What shingle manufacturer should I choose ?
Many homeowners have no experience with shingles until it is time for a new roof. Maybe it was that dreaded leak after a heavy downfall or a massive winter snowstorm. Or maybe, your roof is 30 years old and it is just that time. There are many circumstances where homeowners need or want a new roof. Most likely, your next call-to-action is to contact your local roofer and get some estimates. But then comes the question, what shingles should you choose? Most of you will end up being persuaded by the clean cut salesman that tells you whatever you want to hear. I am hear to tell you, as a roofing business owner, to DO YOUR RESEARCH!!
There are many different shingle brands out there. In the Greater Lehigh Valley area, the main ones are: GAF, Tamko, CertianTeed, Owens Corning, Atlas, and IKO. I am probably missing a few smaller brands but those will be the main manufacturers you will come across. We are going to focus between GAF, Tamko, and Owens Corning. Nothing against the others, these three will be what most of the local roofers are selling.
They pretty much dominate every market. They have tv commercials, radio ads, ads at baseball games. They are EVERYWHERE! But, how good is their shingle? There are both pros and cons as with every shingle. Their main shingle, the Timberline HD shingle, tends to not seal properly in colder weather. To explain: every shingle has an asphalt strip that seals when the sun hits it. For some reason, GAF only has this strip on the back of the shingle. Therefore, it takes wayyy longer to seal than some other brands (Owens Corning). The High Definition shingle (HD) tends to be average to slightly above in weight and above average in appearance (I do really like the Weatherwood color). You will also find many legal cases filed online against the GAF corporation, which should raise some eyebrows as a homeowner.
OVERALL GRADE: C
Tamko is also a popular shingle in the Lehigh Valley. A lot of smaller businesses install the Tamko (Heritage) shingle simply because it is cheap. It ranges about $10 cheaper per square and for some companies that is the difference between winning and losing a job. The Tamko Heritage is actually very similar to the GAF HD Timberline. They are similar in weight but the appearance award between the two goes to GAF. I have also noticed, within the last year, Tamko has started to put an asphalt strip on the front side of the shingle. So I do commend them on that.
In late November 2015, we installed a Tamko Heritage shingle roof in an area that tended to be windy (Northampton, PA for those similar with the area) Let me tell you, it was a flat out disaster. Within two days, we had to return for shingles that had blown off the roof. There were some pretty heavy winds but I the shingles should not have torn off that quick. However, we did contact Tamko and got the situation resolved.
OVERALL GRADE: C
O.C is by far my favorite shingle to install (I am probably biased because we are a Preferred Contractor through Owens Corning) However, they are just flat out better than the others. We will start with the weight. The weight I would say is average like the first two we compared. The appearance of the Duration shingle (equivalent to the Timberline and Heritage) is by far the best in the market. Take a look through our Facebook page to see how the roofs "pop". They have a distinct color pattern unlike any other manufacturer. They also have Surenail protection (google it) This is pretty much a synthetic strip nail marker for installers as well as a sealer. Lastly, the durability is second to none. Sweeney's Reliable Roofing has been a Preferred Contractor for two years now and have yet had any warranty issues. Plus, Owens Corning offers us the option to give homeowners a 50 year warranty (YES, 50) which should tell you how they feel about their product.
OVERALL GRADE: A
That is all I got for today. Thanks for reading.