If you’ve ever shopped around for roof shingles for your home, you’ve probably met with a whole cast of different contractors. And if there is anything consistent about them, it’s that each one probably has a specific brand of shingles that they are certified for.
Two of the most prominent brands in the market right now are GAF and Tamko, and it doesn’t take much to find a fair share of contractors pushing either brand to you.
But stripped to the studs and disregarding the contractor, which brand of roof shingle is the objectively better one? We will be exploring this in our dedicated head-to-head showdown where we compare all of the shingle lines from both brands.
Tamko Shingles Overview
Tamko is an American manufacturer of roofing products founded in Missouri in 1994, from which they would expand their offerings to cements, coatings, and waterproofing products.
Shingles, however, continue to be the core of their business to this day—Tamko offers Elite Glass-Seal shingles on the lower end, the mainline Heritage series of architectural shingles, and Stormfighter IR and Titan XT shingles in the premium performance segment. All of these are backed by:
- Simple and straightforward warranty
- Solid weather protection
- Great variety in material & color choices
GAF Shingles Overview
Among roof shingle manufacturers, GAF is by far one of the largest ones. With over 120 years in the industry, the company has no doubt had some time to continually improve their products.
At present, GAF offers 11 different types of shingles along three general price tiers: budget 3-tab shingles, the performance Timberline series, and the high-end Designer series, all of which feature:
- Industry-leading warranty policies
- Broad color & style selection
- Comprehensive roofing product system
Tamko vs GAF: Durability Comparison
As the primary barrier between your roof structure and the outside elements, physical durability is one of the most important metrics to consider.
For the most part, both Tamko and GAF shingles are on equal footing with each other in terms of durability, with the more expensive performance shingle lines even featuring Class 4 Impact Resistance based on the UL2218 standard. Any variations are typically a matter of installation or manfacturing defects.
Tamko vs GAF: Wind Protection Comparison
Next on the priority list is wind protection. This is less a matter of keeping your roof protected and more a matter of preventing damage done to the shingles themselves, as wind is the main source of the shear force that rips shingles off the roof.
In this aspect, we found GAF’s three-tab shingles to offer better wind resistance than its counterpart from Tamko, and all of the midrange options from both brands are rated similarly at 110 mph or 130 mph winds. At the top end, however, the Stormfighter IR and Titan XT shingles from Tamko have a staggering 160 mph rated wind warranty—one of the highest in the market.
Tamko vs GAF: Heat Protection Comparison
Heat is also another major source of damage for roofing shingles. As the sun beats down relentlessly on the shingles over time, their adhesives and materials can fail if they aren’t of sufficient quality.
Thankfully, you don’t have to worry too much on this aspect as all shingle lines from both brands are rated for Class A heat and fire resistance based on the UL 790 standard.
Tamko vs GAF: Extra Features Comparison
With all of the basics being equal, extras are the next most important consideration when choosing roof shingles for your home, as they represent extra value that otherwise wold not be there in the first place.
In comparing our two brands, choosing the better one is more of a matter of personal preference. As an example, the more premium shingle lines from GAF are equipped with StainGuard Plus, an enhanced version of their anti-algae formula with a boosted warranty along with it.
Meanwhile, Tamko’s higher end shingle lines like Titan XT feature built-in sealing strips that add another securing component to better protect against tear-off and improve the strength of the entire roof.
Tamko vs GAF: Variety Comparison
Having a broad catalog in terms of both colors and styles is important for any shingle manufacturer, especially as homeowners and designers alike are always after the one specific style that would tie their home together.
In this case, GAF holds the clear edge over Tamko in terms of color options—the Timberline series alone has over 30 colors across 5 product variants. Tamko, meanwhile, does offer a wider variety of material choices—if the standard asphalt shingles aren’t your thing, they also have metal and other shingles.
Tamko vs GAF: Cost Comparison
As you can probably imagine, comparing the cost of shingles from two brands is a bit tricky on account of the fact that the cost can vary depending on your budget constraints, region, and availability.
When we account for the average costs of shingles between the two brands, we find that Tamko shingles are generally cheaper than GAF shingles on most price tiers except the premium range. Here, Tamko’s top of the line Stormfighter and Titan shingles edge out the GAF equivalents in both price and performance.
Tamko vs GAF: Warranty Comparison
Last but not least of our considerations is the warranty. Besides being a general indicator of the manufacturer’s confidence in their products, the warranty policies also add extra value to the purchase and ownership experience over the shingles’ expected lifespan.
GAF’s warranty is widely agreed to be one of the most comprehensive, especially when it comes to their premium options. When paired with other GAF products on your roofing project, you are given the chance to unlock expanded warranty coverage on top of the shingles’ limited lifetime warranty.
Tamko shingles, on the other hand, have three warranty tiers of 15, 30, and 50 years depending of the price bracket of the shingles you buy—much simpler warranty terms but is generally just as effective.
Tamko vs GAF: Final Showdown
From what we’ve seen so far, Tamko and GAF shingles have managed to trade blows across their product ranges, leaving us with a rather nuanced conclusion that mostly depends on what you can afford and what is most available to you.
We’ve found that the GAF Timberline series of shingles are generally superior to the competing Tamko Heritage line in terms of quality and features. However, Tamko shingles have managed to impress in both their budget and their premium performance options thanks to their greatly enhanced durability.