If you are looking for the best roofing shingles, the choice typically comes down to: GAF Timberline vs. Certainteed Landmark?
Both GAF and Certainteed are highly reputable manufacturers, and their products have a solid performance track record.
In terms of material and installation prices, Timberline and Landmark shingles are about the same:
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However, just like anything else under the sun, each of these shingles has advantages and drawbacks.
Here is a straight forward (no marketing talk) comparison of the two products. It is based on price, durability, longevity, ease of installation and warranty factors.
Certainteed Shingles vs GAF: which is cheaper?
Price is a huge determining factor for many homeowners. There is no reason to overspend, if quality and durability are similar. Overall, Certainteed Landmark are about 3-5% more expensive than Timberline Shingles. This difference usually depends on the supplier.
Lets take a closer look at pricing.
Both Landmark and Timberline have three lines of shingle products of different quality grades.
GAF offers Timberline Natural Shadow (good quality, cheapest); Timberline HD (better quality, more expensive); Timberline HD Ultra (best quality, most expensive).
Similarly, Certainteed offers Landmark (good quality, cheapest); Landmark Premium (better quality, more expensive); Landmark PrO (best quality, most expensive).
Here is a comparison chart of roof shingles cost per roof square (100 sq.ft).
|Better||Timberline HD||$82||Landmark Premium||$120|
|Best||Timberline HD Ultra||$140||Landmark Pro||$150|
Note, prices do not include installation or roof tear off costs.
From the chart, it is evident that the biggest cost difference is between the two medium grade products. Landmark Premium Shingles are 32% more expensive than Timberline HD Shingles. The basic products cost about the same. Landmark Shingles are only 3% more expensive than Natural Shadow Shingles. Lastly, Landmark Pro is about 6.5% more expensive than Timberline HD Ultra.
Thus, it is clear from this comparison that there is really no reason to overspend on Landmark Premium Shingles.
Many times, a roofer may try to talk a homeowner into getting a “premium” roof, basically trying to make money without providing any additional real value. Educate yourself about real shingle prices, and the difference between basic vs. premium products, so that nobody will take advantage of you.
Also, you can use our Roofing Shingles Calculator to get an accurate estimate for your roof.
Design and Color Differences
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and there is no objective way to judge which shingle product looks better. Some people find that Certainteed shingles have a more upscale look, because they are heavier. Others prefer the greater variety of colors that GAF has to offer. Overall, each company strives to provide options for every type of home, from smaller traditional style houses, to high-end contemporary style mansions.
GAF’s basic shingle line, Natural Shadow has 8 colors to choose from. The second step up, Timberline HD line has its own pallet of 14 colors. Similarly, HD Ultra line also has a unique set of 11 colors.
Note, that not every color you see in either the GAF or Certainteed catalog may be available in your area. Don’t get your hopes up for a particular color before you find out that you can actually get it where you live. Also, it is a good idea to have a back up color, just in case you cannot have your first choice.
Here is a more extensive guide comparing the design and color differences between Landmark and Timberline shingles.
Which Is More Durable?
Durability is a very important factor, because you want your new roof to last a long time. Both manufacturers offer overall comparable durability. Still, many roofers have their personal preference. This may be due to local weather differences, as well as particular installation methods of each roofer.
In terms of pure facts, Landmark shingles are about 30% more heavy than Timberline. Some roofers believe this extra weight makes Landmark more sturdy and less susceptible to wind blow off. Other roofers think Timberline shingles are just as sturdy. The extra weight in the Certainteed shingles is due to added limestone, which in their opinion is a useless filler material.
Another point of contention is granular loss. All shingles have small granules on the outside. They protect the shingle’s asphalt base from harmful UV rays. If the granules comes off, the shingle will be destroyed by the UV rays very vast. Moreover, the granules are painted to give shingles different colors.
Thus, if too many are lost, your roof color will change. Some roofers find that GAF shingles shed a lot of these granules literally right out of the box, where as Certainteed products don’t seem to have this problem during installation. At the same time, many roofers find that Landmark shed a lot of these granules after installation, where as Timberline shingles don’t do so as much.
Certainteed vs GAF Roofing System As A Whole
One thing that is very important for homeowners to realize is that shingles alone don’t not protect your house from the elements. In fact, the roofing system as a whole is a lot more important when it comes to overall longevity and durability. The system consists of such critical elements as the underlayment, roof deck, vents, ridge caps, ice and water barrier, etc.
Most roofers find that GAF has the best underlayment product. The company offers a high quality, economical breathable synthetic underlayment, called Deck Armor.
Roof underlayment is a very important component of the entire system, because it provides the second barrier of defense against moisture infiltration and other extreme weather conditions under the shingles. In fact, if shingles fail or are blown off, high quality, water-proof underlayment will protect your home.
In addition to providing protection from external elements, a breathable underlayment like Deck Armor, will also protect your home from trapped moisture in the attic, which causes mold, mildew and even structural decay. If you live in areas prone to high winds, ice dams, heavy rains, we strongly recommend installing only the highest quality underlayment.
Don’t confuse Deck Armor or other breathable underlayments with other synthetic products, which are usually none-breathable and act as a vapor barrier. These none-breathable synthetics trap moisture between roof sheathing and underlayment, which overtime can cause rotting of the roof deck.
When it comes to ridge caps, many roofers find that the Certainteed Mountain Ridge is the strongest shingle cap out there. It’s a high profile cap that uses 3 separate layers that don’t have to be bent out of shape to get them apart. By comparison, the GAF Timbertex ridge cap is made up of 3 separate layers of material, with 3 caps per shingle that are perforated. When you fold the bundle to separate the caps, the 3 layers will likely separate, depending on the temperature.
3 Tab shingles used for ridge cap
One common practice to be aware of as a homeowner, is that roofers often use 3-tab shingles instead of the specif ridge cap shingles. Doing this may void your “premium” warranty (it does not affect the basic material warranty). However, from a functional stand point, there is nothing wrong with this practice.
Different roof system components have various pricing, depending on their quality. Often times, a roofer may give you a very “good” low price, because he will be using cheap, sub-par quality components of the system. This is a very bad idea if you want your roof to actually last.
Installation Differences and Considerations
One of the most important things that will ensure the longevity of your new roof is the quality of installation. Even the best roofing shingles can fail prematurely if they are not properly installed. Another reason why installation is so important, is that a roofing manufacturer will not uphold their warranty, if they find the roof was not installed according to their manufacturer instructions.
Thus, you want to look for a product that is easy to install correctly. Although, we strongly recommend only hiring very experienced roofers, many homeowners will choose to go with a cheaper bid, because real pros charge a lot more for their services. Here is a more in-depth look at roof installation costs, and how roofers price their labor.
In terms of the installation process, Landmark shingles are easier to install correctly than Timberline. The nailing area on the Certainteed shingles is 1.5 inches wide. This width allows the installer a little bit more room for error to nail the shingle on the line properly.
Comparatively, the Timberline shingles have a narrow line of only 1/16 inches that a roofer needs to be able to nail the shingles to. The problem here is that most roofers have automatic nail guns, and they move pretty quickly, so it will be very challenging to get that level of accuracy.
Wind Uplift And Shingle Blow Off
When it comes to protecting your shingles from wind blow off, correct installation is critical. We recommend that you ask your contractor how many nails per shingle they use; 6 nails per row gives the Very Best protection against high winds. GAF specifies that if you want to extend your warranty coverage for wind blow from 110 mph (standard) to 130 mph, shingles need to have 6 nails. Otherwise, the warranty will be void.
Unfortunately, to save time, some roofers use only 5 nails, and some only use 4.
Thus, it is best for you to actually be home during the install, and make sure that the roofer you hire is doing a proper job. You don’t necessarily need to get up on the roof and watch them nail the shingles, but it is important that they know exactly what you expect, and realize that you are there. It is best to relay your expectations to the company owner and the foreman. Then, there is a lot less chance they will do a slack job.
GAF Shingle Warranty vs. Certainteed
Both manufacturers offer different levels of warranties for their products. If you are just getting the basic warranty, you do not need to have your shingles installed by a certified roofer. However, if you want to have a more comprehensive warranty, both GAF and Certainteed require that the installation is done by their certified contractor.
If you plan on getting the upgraded warranty with labor coverage for either product, it is very important to make sure that your contractor fills out and submits the warranty application. This is HIS responsibility. If he does not fill out the warranty, it DOES NOT EXIST!
|Coverage (none-prorated)||Full for 10 yrs of SmartChoice Period, Lifetime||Full for 10 yrs of SureStart Period, Lifetime|
|Coverage (pro-rated)||20% at 41 years and beyond||20 % at 40 years and beyond|
|Labor For Shingle Replacement||first 10 years||first 10 years|
|Wind-uplift damage||110 mph for Lifetime||110 mph during first 15 years|
|Blue Green Algae||10 years||10 years|
|Transferability||1 time during the first 20 years for full coverage||1 time during the first 10 years for full coverage|
|After, only 2 year coverage from date of transfer|
While both warranties are pretty much the same, there are a few important differences you can discover, if you carefully read the fine print.
Wind Uplift coverage: Certainteed offers wind uplift coverage only for the first 15 years, GAF does not specify any time period, so we assume that its for Lifetime.
Ventilation issues:Certainteed specifically states that if there is poor roof deck ventilation, manufacturing defects of the shingles will no longer be covered under this warranty. GAF’s warranty does not state this condition for coverage. Because most homes have roof deck ventilation problems, your warranty claim will likely be denied if you install Certainteed shingles.
Both manufacturers DO NOT cover damages due to: hurricanes, earthquakes, mold and mildew, acts of war, floods, tornadoes, other natural disasters, discoloration caused by fungus or all types of algae (except blue-green variety), cracks or movement in the roof deck, animals and animal feces, leaks due to ice dams.
When it comes to the question of which manufacturer actually does a better job upholding their warranty and standing by their product, the opinions are very inconclusive. There are many contractors and homeowners that have had good and horrible experiences with both brands. Each manufacturer has had law suits brought against them.
The best way to protect your roof is to follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions, carefully read the warranty details, and save all paperwork. Doing all this will make the process much easier and more likely successful in case you will need to file a claim.
Be Aware of Roofer Bias!
Every roofer has a favorite shingle product that they like to recommend to clients. They typically prefer the way it installs and have had no complaints about it form previous customers. As a result, they also often have the tendency to trash other brands, even though they may not be bad at all.
Thus, once you have a sense of which shingle you want to install, you should go with a pro who has positive experience with it. He will be able to do a far better job than someone who either has never installed it before, or does not think its a quality shingle at all.
It is also a good idea to ask the pros who will be giving your roofing estimate, which shingle performs best in the area where you live. This is an especially important question for people who live in harsh climates, such as excessive heat, or cold, ice dams, high winds, frequent rains, severe temperature fluctuations.
If you live in a mild climate, pretty much an shingle product that is correctly installed will work well. However, some shingles are better designed for certain types of climates. Only an experienced local roofer can give you this kind of perspective.
Can’t Make a Decision?
What should you do if after careful research and deliberation you still cannot decide which shingle would work for your roof?
In this case, the decision should come down to choosing between roofers bidding for the job. After all, the quality of installation will actually determine how long your new shingles will last. Hire the contractor who offers the best labor warranty, and has the best references. He should also be certified by the manufacturer whose product he will be installing.
Here is an in-depth look at how to get the best roof value, and what you are really getting when you opt for a cheap, vs. mid-range, vs high-end roof.
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