Among all of the roof shingle options that have been on the market over the decades, asphalt is far and away the most popular and sought-after. Its combination of resilience, coloration options, and recyclability makes them a vastly preferable option for roof shingles over wood or clay tiles.
As you can probably imagine, there is all manner of companies out there making different shingles at different price points for different types of house. Two such brands that we will be putting head to head in this showdown are IKO and GAF.
IKO Shingles Overview
IKO is a manufacturer of roofing products founded in the 1950s in Alberta, Canada. Despite being relatively new to the business compared to GAF, IKO has been able to build up a solid reputation among contractors and homeowners for providing:
- Great weather resistance on shingles
- In-house certification for roofing contractors
- Comprehensive line of roofing products
GAF Shingles Overview
Founded in New Jersey in 1886, GAF is one of the oldest names in the roofing industry. While a company’s age isn’t a strong indicator of its quality, it is clear that GAF draws upon its many decades of history and experience to create some of the most popular roofing shingles on the market, which feature:
- Solid warranty policy
- StainGuard anti-algae technology
- Broad variety of colors and price points
IKO vs GAF: Durability Comparison
Starting with the basics, we have the durability of these roofing shingles, which is a good general indicator of their quality and longevity.
As you can probably imagine, both IKO and GAF shingles have their share of complaints and issues with durability. From a general standpoint, however, we have found GAF shingles—particularly their three-tab and their premium architectural options—to reportedly hold up better than competing products from IKO.
IKO vs GAF: Wind Protection Comparison
It is the basic job of any roof shingle to withstand the damage and force of strong winds, especially if the home is located in a particularly stormy region. The wind resistance of roofing shingles is typically indicated by two things—the rating provided by the ASTM D3161 standard and the rated wind warranty provided by the manufacturers themselves.
By this metric, we find that both IKO and GAF shingles are mostly comparable across all of their product lines, being rated Class F (the highest rating) on the ASTM D3161 standard. However, GAF does provide a higher wind warranty rating on their lower-end Royal Sovereign three-tab shingles at 110 mph, as opposed to the 60 mph rating on IKO’s Marathon Plus AR three-tab shingles.
IKO vs GAF: Fire & Heat Protection
As some especially hot summers in past years have demonstrated, the relentless heat of the sun is a major source of roof shingle failure—not to mention the potential damage that could be caused by exposure to flames.
Thankfully you don’t have to linger too much on your choice here. Shingles from both GAF and IKO have all been found to pass the Class A rating under the UL 790 standard for roof heat and fire resistance.
IKO vs GAF: Extra Features Comparison
Once all the fundamentals have been accounted for, comparing roofing shingles now moves on to the extra features that they work into their products to gain an edge over their competitors.
As an example, the higher-end shingle product lines from the two companies—namely GAF Timberline and IKO Cambridge—both have some form of algae-resisting technology worked in to keep the shingles looking better for longer. GAF’s StainGuard technology has been found to last longer than IKO’s solution.
GAF also edges out IKO here in terms of installation assistance. GAF’s premium shingles come with DuraGrip adhesive that creates a much better hold on nails for more secure lockdown. IKO, meanwhile, equips their shingles with FastLock adhesive sealing strips, which require a bit of heat from the sun to melt and activate.
IKO vs GAF: Variety Comparison
When choosing between two brands for your roof shingles, variety is a very important consideration to look into, especially as different homeowners will have different design preferences and budget constraints to work with.
In this sense, we award the crown to GAF for their much broader selection of textures, shapes, and colors compared to IKO, which manages to offer all of the basic shingle types (three-tab, high-performance, and architectural) but without the same number of style choices.
IKO vs GAF: Cost Comparison
At this point we now have to consider the actual costs that go into buying and installing these asphalt roof shingles. Now, it should be noted that we won’t be able to go deep into specific cost comparisons between the two shingle brands as the specific pricing you will get will vary quite a bit depending on the contractor you will be working with and the shingles supplier you will be buying from.
With all that said, however, we have found from speaking with multiple roofing contractors that IKO shingles can be had for some 10 to 20% cheaper than the competing product line from GAF. While this price difference does not seem like much at first glance, it can add up quickly—especially on larger homes.
IKO vs GAF: Warranty Comparison
Last but definitely not least in our list of considerations is the warranty that IKO and GAF attach to their shingles. While they are indeed very durable, roof shingles cannot last forever, which is why homeowners will want to check the warranty so one can be covered when the time comes.
In this head-to-head, we find that the warranty on GAF shingles is a lot more favourable for most homeowners. The key difference here is that GAF’s warranty is transferable while IKO’s is not; as such, it can be very useful for homeowners to use GAF should they ever find themselves in a situation where selling their home becomes necessary.
IKO vs GAF: Final Showdown
Roofing shingles have become more and more similar over the years, as each of the big manufacturers continzue to iterate and innovate to stay competitive with the others.
Summarising all of the comparisons above, we come to a general conclusion: GAF shingles are generally considered to be the higher quality version, beating out IKO on key metrics like style variety, warranty, and durability.
However, this should not discount IKO shingles as the “inferior” option, especially as their shingles provide much of the features and protections of GAF while being noticeably cheaper across the board. Whatever works best for you and your home, then, will be for you to decide.