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What Is the Best Roofing Shingle Manufacturer?

By Brad Caldwell – Owner of Roof, Rinse & Run – May 31, 2014

When you think of roofing shingles, no doubt you’ve wondered, “What is the best roofing shingle manufacturer? Are they all the same?” While Roof, Rinse & Run does not have enough expertise to answer that absolutely, they do have good reason to think that GAF is a very good, if not the best, choice.

Quality of The Shingles

Quality of your shingles, no doubt, is the largest factor in who is the best manufacturer, right? GAF does not come shy here. In terms of the shingle’s quality, GAF ranks as #1 in the minds of home builders and contractors. Roof, Rinse & Run has a fair bit of interaction with roofers from around the country on Google Plus roofing communities, and they’d like to share what a couple leading minds had to say on this subject. The plus signs (+) are a means of referencing within Google Plus.

Bill Hubbell, of Anchor Roofing in Texas, had this to say,

+Roof, Rinse & Run First you have to remember that +GAF Roofing +Debbie Sullivan Is the Number 1 Contractors Choice in The USA…GAF is sold more places than anywhere else, and they were the First to bump up 250#’s per Square…GAF was the First to Offer Total System Warranties on Steep Slope. GAF is the most trafficked Roofing Website in the World, GAF gets 10 times the traffic [of a competitor manufacturer]…GAF is all about helping their Contractors Grow, by hosting more Continued Education Programs. When it comes to Shingles I have installed nothing but GAF, except two times…I have many GAF Roofs Up on Large Projects well over 5 years old and they still look new…GAF has the most profiles / types of Shingles there is, GAF is a Tier 1 Product Line…Personally my opinion is GAF all the way, as more people know about who GAF is, and trust GAF, than any other manufacturer of Asphalt shingles.

Perhaps the bit about “250#’s per Square” went over your head – that’s just technical jargon saying that GAF was the first to increase the weight/thickness of their shingles all the way to 250 pounds per square (100 square feet). Thicker shingles make for better longevity and better resistance to hail damage.

Also, he mentioned the extensive portfolio of variety that GAF carries. They carry the 3-tab style and the dimensional style, but they also carry a host of enticing designer profiles and colors, including slate and shake look-alikes. Roof, Rinse & Run is glad to offer any of these profile/color combinations to you. More options means that you’re able to make a better choice.

Designer Profile Shingles
A Designer Profile Shingle on a Home

But let’s get a “second opinion.” Trevor Leeds, of the award-winning Chandler’s Roofing in California, said this,

+Roof, Rinse & Run, we have installed just about all the major shingle products over the years and have thoroughly compared all of their extended warranties, along with the pluses and minuses of their certified programs. You will hear the arguments many different ways, but we at +Chandler’s Roofing can only speak from personal experience and facts in the field. We don’t get swayed by others “personal” opinions. Mr. +Bill Hubbell really hit it on the head in his thorough reply. We have now been a top, award-winning Master Elite contractor with +GAF Roofing for over 12 years now. Literally since they started the program! We have tried on many occasions to compare their program to other manufacturers and they just don’t compare! GAF is the leader in the industry…

Chandler’s Roofing won none less than the Roofing Contractor of the Year award in 2011!

If leading roofers unanimously point to GAF, I think GAF must be doing something right. In fact, GAF talks about “torturing” their shingles – that is, they subject them to a crazy amount of testing to ensure good performance.

Where Are They Made?

83% of homeowners say that they would pay extra to have American-made shingles, and 82% say that they would pay more for shingles from an American-owned manufacturer. GAF meets both of those criteria. Not only does GAF produce its shingles in the US, it maintains “state-of-the-art” facilities that ensure “state-of-the-art” shingles and accessory items. GAF recently announced (May 14, 2014) ground-breaking for a new facility in Missouri.

Will the Manufacturer Back Their Material?

Harking back to Trevor Leeds’ comments, the extended warranties offered by GAF are exceptional. Of course, the shingles have to be installed correctly, but when you have a GAF-certified contractor properly install your GAF shingles, you have a manufacturer’s warranty that means something. But what else is unique with GAF is that Good Housekeeping will honor GAF Golden Pledge roof warranties in the strange event that GAF were to go out of business and be unable to honor their own warranties. Only one manufacturer in each industry is awarded with this honor, and Good Housekeeping chose GAF.

system plus roof warranty
System Plus Roof Warranty

Are They Exclusively About Roofing?

We all know the saying, “jack of all trades, master of none.” Nobody wants to be like that. With GAF, their focus is strictly on roofing products. Roofing isn’t a “sideline item” for them – it’s the mainstay of their company. That means that they can invest more time and attention into doing it right. Some manufacturers also provide a number of other product lines, which could make it difficult to stay attentive to making a great roofing product.

What About Other Manufacturers?

Whilst Roof, Rinse & Run has made their decision to sign up with GAF, it’s not to say that other manufacturers couldn’t have a good idea or product innovation. For example, a GAF worker recently remarked about the good idea Atlas had to increase the “glued together” place where two plys of a laminate shingle come together. It’s a spot that code only requires about 3/4″ for, but which roofers find a little difficult to accurately nail within. Increasing this area to 1 1/4″ seems to be a smart idea, because nails driven too high above this range are often the reason for sagging shingles on steeper roofs (the bottom ply comes unglued).

What Is the Best Roofing Shingle Manufacturer?

All in all, Roof, Rinse & Run is pleased with the progress and technological advances that have been made across the board by roofing manufacturers, but they continue to feel that GAF is both an excellent, and may very well be, the best, roofing manufacturer out there. That’s why Roof, Rinse & Run has chosen GAF.

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7 thoughts on “What Is the Best Roofing Shingle Manufacturer?”

  1. Well written piece Roof, Rinse & Run, you guys are definitely making the right choice in GAF and your customers will absolutely appreciate and thank you for it! Keep up the great work.

  2. GAF is definitely a strong and trusted name among the roofing community. It’s hard to define the best manufacturer, because being the best can mean so many things, to many different people. However you put together a good case study, and some interesting facts and statistics. This was a good read!

  3. GAF, i’m hooked, but installation certified contractors, installation that is a four nail shingle and that space is hard to hit when you’re flying down the line nailing them.

  4. I believe that certainteed shingles are by far the best I would tell anyone to look into them before making any decisions.

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