Cheap vs. Expensive Shingles

Is there really a big difference between cheap shingles and premium shingles?

Obviously the answer is yes.

Many of the cheap shingles are lower level brands that have been discontinued or just simply have leak  only warranties. This can be problematic especially when it comes to shingles sealing and sticking to a roof. There can be a vast difference in the quality of shingles whether they be three tab or architectural. Some questions that need to be considered include:


  • What is the manufacturer’s warranty.
  • What is the length of the warranty?
  • What is in the details of that warranty?
  • What is the wind rating on the shingle?


For instance, on a typical three tab shingle, the manufacturer is going to have a wind warranty rated at 60 mph. The GAF Timberline architectural shingle comes with a 130 mph  wind warranty. Many times home owners don’t realize that the wind warranty may be only 60 mph but you have to follow the manufacturer’s  specs during installation. If your contractor does not follow the  manufacturers specifications on the entire system your warranty is voided.

When a Master Elite Company representing GAF installs GAF’s Timberline shingle it comes with a 130 mph  wind warranty, but only if the entire system is installed correctly. It has to have a starter strip installed on the rake edges as well as the eave edges of the entire roof. Instead of putting four nails per shingle, you are required to put six nails per shingle. Wind warranties are one of the biggest and most valuable aspects of buying a roof because most insurance claims stem from high winds that have blown a shingle or two off of a roof. With the GAF  wind warranty GAF will pay a  master elite contractor to come out and repair the shingles.

The old saying you get what you pay for is very true in roofing. There is a big difference between what is considered a cheap shingle and a premium one. One other factor that should be considered when buying a roof system is the seal strip that is used on the shingles. The seal strip is what causes the shingles to adhere to each other. This keeps the wind from blowing underneath them. Some brands are  very problematic. Owens Corning has what is called a “SureNail” system and adhesive that performs fairly well. GAF has what they call a “DuraGrip”, which most professionals consider the best one out on the market. They seal very well and are hard to get apart after installation. (which is what you want).

How do I know what shingle is right for my home?

There are a lot answers to this question. The most important thing you should consider when choosing a new roof is your own style preference. You want to go with a brand that has multiple styles to choose from. You can pick anything from a designer’s series To a standard architectural style.GAF has a tremendous palette to choose from on designer shingles. If you want your home’s roof to stand out from the rest, then you may want to look into the  value collection designer series. You can  also check out the Timberline series or American Harvest series for additional color choices. Style and color palette are very important because it represents  such a large portion of the curb appeal of your home.

Location of your home is also an important factor to consider regarding your new roof. If you happen to live on a hill or in an area that is prone to a lot of high winds you want a shingle with a much higher wind rating. So your  not always having the roof repaired because of missing shingles. It can be hard to match the shingle colors during a roof repair. Mismatched shingles can  also lower your curb appeal and potentially affect your property value.

Most people do not  realize that a shingle warranty is much like a tire warranty, they are prorated. Most shingles will prorate at year 7-10. If there was a manufacturer’s issue they would then issue a credit to buy that exact same product again. They would be paying pennies on the dollar as it depreciates in value. What you want to look for is a shingle that has a long non prorated period. The GAF Timberline series, when installed by a Master Elite Company has a 50 year non prorated shingle warranty that does not depreciate until year 51. To get what is best for your home you want to check the details of the manufacturer’s warranty. You also want to find out if they are transferable like the  GAF Timberline Series. If you sell your house it allows you to recoup back some of your investment because it has a higher resale value due to its transferable warranty.

Hopefully we helped answer some of  your questions about the key differences between cheap and expensive roofing shingles. When it comes to your home, you want to  have the best roof shingles to ensure they are there for a lifetime. Integrity Roofing and Exteriors is a Master Elite Company that is licensed to install the highest quality shingles in the market with the best warranties available. If you live in Southern Illinois or Western Kentucky and are looking for a roofing contractor then give Integrity a call today at 888-879-5910 for a free written estimate.

Out check out our roofing project showcase and growing list of 5 star google reviews!