Choosing a roof shingle and color is no longer as simple as picking black, brown, or gray. There are brands, products, and seemingly endless color choices. To help you sort through the ever-growing list of options, we are going do a breakdown of shingle brand colors and textures.
As we mentioned in our blog series introduction post, shingle colors and textures go hand-in-hand.
With that in mind, as we compare the different shingle brands, we’ll specifically look at how each brand utilizes color and texture. In this post. analyze the top three shingle brands: GAF, CertainTeed, and Owens Corning.
Before we get started, let’s discuss color and texture.
How do shingle textures affect my roof color choice?
Asphalt shingles themselves obviously have the same physical texture–they’re all made of asphalt granules. That being said, manufacturers do utilize shape, thickness, and color patterns to create different visual textures. We’ll talk about some ways they do this by exploring shapes, color undertones, color variation, and shadows.
Shingle tabs come in a variety of shapes. These different shapes are most noticeable when you compare traditional, architectural, and luxury shingles. 3-tab shingles look like bricks. Architectural shingles look like the shapes of cedar shake. And luxury shingles have an endless amount of different shapes. It just depends on which luxury shingle.
The shape of the shingle naturally affects the color as it creates more or less color variation depending on the sizes of the shapes. Not only that, certain shapes–particularly with luxury shingles–have dark outlines around the shingles to outline the different shingle tabs. These outlines then add extra variation and dark color tones to a roof.
Shingles have a color palette of granules that mix together to create a specific shingle color. The granule colors used less often are the color undertones. For example, CertainTeed’s Pewter is a gray shingle. However, it also has blue granules in it, giving the shingle a blue undertone. If you don’t have any blue on your home, this may not be very noticeable. However, once you pair it with a home with blue shutters, you’ll notice how the shingle undertones bring out the accent colors of you rhouse.
Many shingle brands actually have comparable colors when it comes to the combination of granule colors. For example, CertainTeed’s Heather Blend and Owens Corning’s Teak look almost identical up close on color swatches (more on that below).
Shingle brands uniquely disperse the granules across the shingle to create a certain color pattern and variation. In fact, when you look at shingle samples up close and compare them by brand, it’s hard to tell a difference. The color variation and patterns often don’t show until the shingles are installed spread across a full roof. Each brand has a different way they approach color variation (more on that below).
Manufacturers create shadows by adding darker shingle granules to the tops of shingle tabs to create a “shadow” look. This effect makes the shingles look thicker and more 3-D than they actually are. These shadow areas also darken the overall shingle color once its spread across a full roof.
Now that we’ve reviewed the different ways texture and color interact, let’s look at how each brand approaches them.
A Look at the Different Shingle Brand Colors, Textures, & Shingles
GAF is one of the top shingle brands in the country, stocked in pretty much every Lowe’s and Home Depot. It is also one of the top brands contractors install due to its availability, contractor discounts, and popularity among homeowners.
Colors & Textures
The most distinguishing feature of a GAF roof is the color variation of its shingles. GAF roofs display a subtle checkerboard pattern. The pattern typically includes two different colored tabs alternating one after another–one lighter, and one darker. One with a “shadow” and one without. While the color variation is simple, it does create a very textured look.
In terms of color options, GAF offers a variety of grays and browns with variations in the color undertones to help homeowners match their roofs to the accent colors of their homes. However, GAF does not have as many unique colors as other brands. Instead, most of their color options are muted browns and grays.
While GAF has fewer shingle product lines, they do have a wide variety of shingles within each product line.
Created in 1967, the Timberline shingle is the most popular shingle type to date. GAF has a wide variety of Timberline shingles in this product line. Some of these Timberline shingles offer specific qualities like Energy Star ratings or impact resistance ratings. You can learn about the differences in each Timberline shingle in this post by Roofing Calculator.
The Timberline shingles also have a few product lines meant to offer specific color palettes based on a homeowner’s preference, including the Timberline AH (American Harvest) and the Timberline NS (Natural Shadow).
Owens Corning, with its unforgettable Pink Panther mascot, is best known for its insulation and roofing materials. They trace their company origin back to the 1800s when they experimented with new insulation materials. In 1938, the corporation officially formed, and they entered the world of asphalt roofing in the early 1960s.
While not quite as common or popular as GAF, they are still one of the most well-known and commonly installed shingles in the Wake County area. Similar to GAF, they are widely available and sold in stores at Lowe’s and Home Depot.
Colors & Textures
Owens Corning shingles have high color variation and color undertones. Rather than having two different colored tabs, they instead have 3-4 different colored and shaped tabs. Overall, the texture and color of the shingles can look somewhat busy once spread across a full roof.
This could be a good option if you want a colorful roof that adds texture and dimension to your home’s exterior. However, if you are looking for a simpler roof that isn’t too busy, it may be better to consider another brand.
Side note: Not every Owens Corning shingle has the busy look with high color variation. There are some options with subtler designs.
Unlike GAF and CertainTeed, Owens Corning product lines contain only 1-2 shingle options within each line. They have four product lines: Supreme (3-tab), Oakridge (architectural), Duration (architectural), and Berkshire (luxury).
While Owens Corning basic Oakridge and Duration shingles do not have extensive color options, they do each have a 2nd shingle choice with more color options: Duration Designer and TruDefinition Oakridge.
Founded in 1904 as General Roofing Manufacturing Company, CertainTeed is a leading brand for exterior and interior products. They manufacture everything from roofing and siding to insulation and drywall. CertainTeed shingles are harder to find in-store, but they are very popular among roofing contractors due to the quality of the materials and roofing accessories.
Colors & Textures
CertainTeed shingles are overall more simplistic and minimalistic in color variation compared to Owens Corning or GAF. While there is color variation between shingle tabs, it is less stark than Owens Corning, and has a larger repeating pattern than GAF.
CertainTeed has more color options than Owens Corning and GAF for specific shingles. However, they do not have any shingle product lines created specifically for more color options like GAF’s Timberline NS or Owens Corning’s TruDefinition Oakridge.
Rather than having a wide variety of muted tones, CertainTeed instead chooses to offer a wide variety of colors from Resawn Shake to Heather Blend. Overall, their classic Landmark shingle has the most color options.
CertainTeed has the most shingle product lines among the three brands with three products in their landmark series and at least eight different luxury shingle products.
Their Presidential Shake series mimics the look of cedar shakes while providing the performance of a composition roofing system. In contrast, the Highland Slate, Grand Manor, and Belmont shingles mimic the look of natural slate. Finally, the Carriage House shingle is designed to mimic Victorian-style homes.
If you are looking for a very specific shingle shape and style, CertainTeed may be the best option for you.
What shingle brand should I choose?
Ultimately, this is a matter of personal preference, as is picking a color for your roof. We like to think there are a few colors that would look bad but a lot of colors that would look great. In the end, so much of it depends on your style.
So, what brand do you pick? Quality is less of a concern. As these are the top three shingle brands, each one is very high quality. If you do want our personal opinion, CertainTeed offers the most subtle but nice color variation and the highest quality roofing accessories.
If you want a steady pattern for your roof with strong shadows, consider GAF. Their color variation is very consistent and they have shingles specifically designed to highlight the shadow effect.
If you have a plainer house and want to add some more variation, color, and depth to your home, Owens Corning could be a good option. Finally, if you aren’t sure, and you want to make sure your home doesn’t look too busy but still want some color variation, consider CertainTeed.
Thanks for reading! Be on the lookout for our next post where we’ll go over how to choose a roof shingle color. Questions? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll answer them in our Q&A blog post at the end of the series!
Have questions about roof replacements? Click here for a free roofing consultation.