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GAF Timberline HD vs HDZ: Which Roof Shingle Is Better?

As one of the largest roofing manufacturers in North America, GAF delivers a wide range of excellent roof shingles for homeowners to choose from. Of their many options, their Timberline shingles are widely considered to be their most popular. 

Source: rgbconstructionservices.com

Recently, however, GAF has revealed an updated version of their acclaimed Timberline HD shingles, which GAF has dubbed the HDZ line. 

Now that the HDZ shingles have settled into the market, it is a good time to pit the new against the old with a full breakdown of what’s changed and whether or not they are worth upgrading to.

GAF Timberline HD Overview

Source: homedepot.com

The Timberline HD (or High Definition) roofing shingles have been dubbed the “#1 selling shingles in all of North America,” and for good reason. Striking  a delicate balance among all three of the biggest considerations of any roof shingle—durability, curb appeal, and price—Timberline shingles are generally excellent roof coverings that are only enhanced with the improved look of their HD variant. 

And that’s not even mentioning their other features, which include:

  • DuraGrip adhesive for maximum staying strength
  • StainGuard coating protects against algae
  • UL Class A fire rating

GAF Timberline HDZ Overview

Source: lowes.com

HDZ shingles are the brand new variant of Timberline shingles that GAF released in 2020 to improve upon the design of the already very popular Timberline HD. As one can probably imagine, Timberline HDZ has a feature set that expands on its predecessor; among which include: 

  • StrikeZone reinforced nailing area
  • LayerLock secures to other shingles for added strength
  • Compatibility with HD shingles for easy upgrades

GAF Timberline HD vs HDZ: Durability Comparison

Let’s start this comparison by getting all of the essentials out of the way, with durability being the first and one of the most important. Outside of their more specific resistances, durability is strongly desired for any roofing shingle as they have to be tough enough to withstand the rigors of installation and the elements they will be working in.

From our testing experience, Timberline HDZ does improve on the HD in this regard, with HDZ shingles being a bit more pliable than HD, which is useful to have during installation. 

GAF Timberline HD vs HDZ: Wind Protection Comparison

Wind protection is the main concern that shingles have to deal with, as wind is the main source of the horizontal shear force that has the best chance of dislodging the shingles (as opposed to the more vertical forces of rain and snow).

Both Timberline HD and HDZ shingles are rated for a respectable 130 MPH maximum wind speed, which is more or less the industry standard for residential-grade roof shingles. However, HDZ shingles do have an extra bonus in terms of their wind warranty, which we will detail in the warranty comparison below.

GAF Timberline HD vs HDZ: Extra Features Comparison

With the essentials out of the way, the more granular comparison can begin with a look at the additional features that these roof shingles have. As we touched on before, Timberline HDZ was made and marketed to be an upgrade over the standard HD variant; as such, the HDZ shingles do have multiple features that its predecessor does not.

For instance, Timberline HDZ has a unique LayerLock feature that gives the shingles a groove underneath that allows it to attach to other HDZ shingles for faster alignment. Timberline HDZ also has enhanced protection against algae thanks to an improved surface formulation over the old HD version.

GAF Timberline HD vs HDZ: Installation Comparison

Having durable shingles is one thing, but it is an entirely different matter if they can’t be installed easily. 

From a general standpoint, GAF Timberline HD shingles are already quite easy to install, being on par with other brands. The DuraGrip adhesive layer also helps with making sure the shingles are secured to each other fairly well.

However, the newer HDZ variant adds the previously mentioned LayerLock (which helps with alignment) alongside the new StrikeZone feature—a marked-out area of reinforced shingle surface that allows nails to be attached faster and more accurately than its predecessor.

GAF Timberline HD vs HDZ: Color Comparison

To homeowners and designers, outward curb appeal is one of the top priorities when picking out their home’s roof coverings. And indeed, GAF does deliver with their Timberline series, boasting rich colors that are able to stand the test of time.

Speaking of time, Timberline HDZ has only been around for just over a couple years; as such, they do not have as many colors available on their catalog as the HD shingles. To be more specific, Timberline HDZ only has 10 colors available, while the HD catalog has 21 colors.

GAF Timberline HD vs HDZ: Cost Comparison

In terms of cost, both variants of GAF Timberline shingles fall in the mid-range price bracket compared to GAF’s own product lines as well as those from other brands.

Given that Timberline HDZ is both newer and offers more features, they are expectedly more expensive than their predecessor, with HDZ’s cost per square foot usually charging a 10-15% price premium over HD. 

GAF Timberline HD vs HDZ: Warranty Comparison

Another important, but otherwise out-of-the-way consideration for roof covering options is the warranty, which tends to be a good indicator of their longevity as manufacturers will typically cover warranty for what they believe is the expected lifetime of their shingles.

To this end, the Timberline HDZ again holds the edge over the HD, with a 25-year warranty on their StainGuard algae protection, 10-year base warranty on wind damage, and a lifetime warranty that can be availed of when the Timberland HDZ shingles are installed alongside 3 other GAF products.

GAF Timberline HD vs HDZ: Final Showdown

Among wood-shake styled shingles, GAF’s Timberline HD series is one of the most popular for a reason—they are durable, affordable, and highly adaptable to various home styles. 

In the same vein, there is a reason why Timberline HDZ has replaced the standard HD version in GAF’s latest catalog: HDZ is generally preferable across the board. However, Timberline HD is still widely available at a variety of suppliers at a lower cost and with more color choices; as such, the original is still definitely worth choosing if your budget is a bit limited.

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