The market of asphalt shingles in the United States is huge. A dozen major manufacturers offer hundreds of models, and taking into account color variants, we have several thousand different combinations. Which one to choose? Is it worth paying extra for premium products? Let’s find out!
7. GAF Designer Series
Our list begins with a product from a company that probably everyone knows. GAF Designer is a series of asphalt shingles dedicated to those looking for a unique design inspired by nature. Of note are the Slateline and Woodland models, which are meant to imitate natural slate and cedar shakes. Although, up close, distinguishing them from the originals is not a challenge, the aesthetic effect is as satisfying as possible.
As with other GAF products, the Designer Series’ primary advantage is its build quality and durability. Although we have installed hundreds of roofs using this company’s materials, complaints from our customers are extremely rare. When thinking about GAF roofing shingles, it is also worth remembering their warranty policy – although it is a bit complicated, even the most basic variant of protection provides peace of mind for many years. The manufacturer takes full and lifelong responsibility for manufacturing defects, and also provides a 15-year warranty against damage resulting from winds of up to 130 mph, as long as certain conditions are met when installing the roof.
Asphalt shingles from the Designer Series are a good choice for people who want a unique look for their home. In exchange for an affordable price, you can get an interesting effect, and the roof itself should last for many years.
Pros of GAF Designer Series
- Unique patterns available;
- Affordable price (~$2.02 per sqft);
- Wide availability;
- Class A fire resistance;
- High quality of manufacturing.
Cons of GAF Designer Series
- Complicated warranty conditions;
- Wind resistance only up to 130 mph;
- Up close, asphalt shingles do not resemble the material they are intended to imitate.
You may also like: Why are asphalt shingles so popular in the U.S?
6. Owens Corning Oakridge
Asphalt shingles from the Oakridge series from Owens Corning are a basic but completely sufficient product that will satisfy most homeowners. Offering similar performance to our previous proposal, they cost about 30% less.
Oakridge offer a fairly average, typical asphalt shingles look. The series is available in 6 color variants, which give you a great deal of flexibility in the design of your roof, while still providing a great visual effect, even after several years. If you want good quality at a reasonable price and are not looking for bold solutions, Oakridge is a very good option.
Pros of Owens Corning Oakridge Shingles
- Pretty attractive price (starting at $1.35 per sqft);
- Very durable colors, even after several years;
- Limited lifetime warranty;
- One of the cheapest series of asphalt shingles that offer good mechanical properties.
Cons of Owens Corning Oakridge Shingles
- Fairly ordinary appearance;
- Slightly less popular;
- Wind resistance only up to 110/130 mph.
Interesting post for you: 7 popular questions about roofing
5. CertainTeed Presidential Shake
Of CertainTeed’s extremely wide range of products, we chose the Presidential model not so much for its mechanical properties, warranty or build quality, but rather for its aesthetics and popularity. Appearance is not everything, however – our customers greatly appreciate the above-average algae-resistance warranty (30 years) and CertaSeal technology, which consists of a proprietary sealing substance. CertainTeed certainly gives the feeling that Presidential Shakes are a premium product, but exactly the same can be said of the other series.
However, it’s worth remembering that many of the product’s parameters are exactly the same as those of its competitors. As with GAF and Owens Corning, the wind-resistance warranty is limited to speeds of 110/130 mph (depending on the starter shingles and other roof components used). Contrary to appearances, prices for the Presidential Shake series are not high – they are around $1.4 per sqft.
Pros of CertainTeed Presidential Shake
- Attractive price (starting at $1.4 per sqft);
- Above-average algae-resistance warranty (30 years instead of 25);
- Transferable lifetime warranty;
- CertainTeed is considered a premium brand, which can increase the value of the house when it is sold.
Cons of CertainTeed Presidential Shake
- Wind resistance only up to 110/130 mph.
Are you thinking about new roof? Pros and cons of copper roofing
4. GAF 3-Tab Marquis WeatherMax
Once again we are returning to GAF, and there is a reason for that. The asphalt shingles we have presented so far are generally considered premium products, dedicated to more demanding customers. However, what about when we are looking for a more budget solution? Marquis WeatherMax shingles come to the rescue!
As GAF declares, Marquis WeahterMax asphalt shingles can withstand winds of up to 150 mph, but the warranty is much more limited – protection ends at 80 mph. On the one hand, the 3-Tab shingles are positioned as GAF’s cheapest series of products, and the company emphasizes this in many places, and on the other hand, dealing with them, we don’t have the feeling of using something defective or poorly made. Of course, the Marquis WeatherMax comes with a much less comprehensive warranty than the Timberline HDZ or Designer series, but the quality is still very good. The minimalist design, neutral colors and relatively thin material make the product we describe perfect for more budget roofing projects.
It’s also worth remembering that the compromises have allowed a correspondingly low price, which is about $0.97 per sqft. With a large roof, the savings will really show. Keep in mind, however, that this type of asphalt shingles is not suitable for use in areas clearly prone to tornadoes and hurricanes.
Pros of GAF Marquis WeatherMax Shingles
- Very attractive price ( as low as $0.97 per sqft);
- Minimalist design;
- Fairly long warranty;
- The guarantee is transferable;
- Excellent price/quality ratio.
Cons of GAF Marquis WeatherMax Shingles
- Poor wind-resistance guarantee compared to other asphalt shingles (80 mph);
- Lack of algae protection technology;
- Lack of uniqueness;
- No Lifetime warranty.
Ask a proffesional: What is Roof Flashing?
3. Owens Corning Duration Series
Owens Corning Duration is an entry-level product in this company’s product line. In exchange for an affordable price, you get very well-made asphalt shingles with parameters similar to solutions from other manufacturers sold for 30-40% more expensive. Significant features include wind resistance of 130 mph, 25-year algae resistance and limited warranty. Interestingly, reflective technology is also available, which is important because high temperatures are very damaging to the material used to make shingles.
However, this is not the end of the advantages. Owens Corning offers as many as 21 color variations. These include shades of black, gray, brown, orange and green. Also noteworthy is Colonial Slate, which combines several colors. The visual effect can be excellent! We recommend this product to people who are looking for an elegant, yet inexpensive (starting at about $1.0 per sqft) solution.
Pros of Owens Corning Duration Series
- Very good value for money ratio;
- Huge choice of colors;
- Long warranty period;
- Standard wind resistance (130 mph);
- Solar Reflectivity technology available.
Cons of Owens Corning Duration Series
2. Atlas StormMaster Shake
Atlas StormMaster architectural asphalt shingles is another product that may appeal to you. We decided to recommend this product to you, mainly because of its two features – very high damage resistance and technologies that will protect your roof from aging. Presenting the StormMaster series, Atlas decided to provide a guarantee against wind speeds of up to 150 mph, and the shingles themselves received a 4, the highest rating on the UL 2218 scale for impact resistance. Using Scotchgard technology from 3M, the roofs from Atlas are also highly resistant to the growth of microorganisms such as algae, but it’s worth remembering that very similar solutions are available from competitors such as GAF and Owens Corning.
The StormMaster series is not without its drawbacks, although they are rather minor. First of all, the initial cost of installation will be noticeably higher, as shingles cost about $1.68 per sqft. When deciding to buy the material, you also have to reckon with a rather limited range of colors. Yes, there are ten in total, but they are shades of gray and brown.
To whom do we recommend the purchase of this model? First of all, to those who care very much about maximum durability and longevity of the roof. Atlas is a well-known company with a long tradition and a very good reputation. Asphalt shingles from the StormMaster series are slightly more expensive, but in return, they offer a really good specification, so if you are worried about hail, tornadoes or other destructive weather phenomena, they are definitely worth considering buying.
1. GAF Timberline UHDZ
We took a long time to think about the model that should appear first in our list. To be honest, the entire top 3 will do just fine, but we decided to follow the voice of the crowd and present a product that conquers Chicagoland.
Asphalt shingles from the Timberline UHDZ (Ultra High Definition) series are actually an improved version of the previous, equally popular model – HDZ. Many parameters have been changed – more efficient algae protection is used, which lasts 30 instead of 25 years, the quality of the pigments has been improved, now giving a more pronounced color, and a thicker laminate is used. Very interestingly, if you meet all the conditions, the Timberline UHDZ series roof will be covered by a limited wind warranty with no speed limit! GAF is probably the only company whose asphalt shingles are offered with this level of protection.
Unfortunately, you have to pay a lot for advanced technology – a square foot of these roofing shingles costs as much as $1.94. Is it worth it? That’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself, but one thing is certain – it will be difficult to find a competing product that will offer you the same parameters.
Pros of GAF Timberline UHDZ
- Excellent level of wind protection;
- Expressive colors;
- Thick laminate layer
- Extended algae-resistance.
Cons of GAF Timberline UHDZ
- Poor color palette;
- High price.
What Asphalt Shingles Do I Need?
We hope you found our ranking helpful, but we think it needs a gentle correction. First of all, asphalt shingles from positions 4-7 are not bad at all – they are excellent products that meet the expectations of thousands of users from all over the United States. All the solutions we presented offer a lot of modern technology and give peace of mind for years of normal use.
When choosing roofing material for yourself, consider whether you definitely need a high-end product. It’s not always worth paying extra for a higher level of wind or algae resistance, because you may not be planning to tie yourself to your home for decades, or you may live in an area that is not at risk of tornadoes. For large buildings, a 10 cent difference per square foot translates into a noticeable difference in price, especially since in addition to purchasing the material, you also have to furnish underlayment, gutters and other accessories, and have the work done by a roofing contractor in Winnetka.
On the other hand, even very expensive asphalt shingles are usually cheaper than natural as well as artificial cedar or slate. So if you are not very limited by your budget, in our opinion, it is worth paying extra for a premium product – you will still save a lot.