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What Are GAF Roofing Shingles & Why Should You Let Professionals Install Them?

What Are GAF Roofing Shingles & Why Should You Let Professionals Install Them?

Key Takeaways

  • GAF asphalt shingles are a rock-solid choice for American homeowners who need a high-value system with great coverage at an affordable price.
  • GAF is a company that predates asphalt roofing shingle technology, founded in 1886.
  • While GAF roofing systems are comparable to major competitor systems, they set themselves apart through their quality control measures.
  • The three core reasons to have GAF-certified professionals install your roofing system:
    1. To avoid installer error (a huge issue).
    2. You can work with Master Elite-level roofers and ensure true value.
    3. You get access to the highest level of GAF coverage –  unbeatable.


Asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing shingles across the U.S. As an American invention, it makes perfect sense! These days they dominate the roofing landscape. This is largely thanks to material advances, which have produced a wide price range, long performance lifespans relative to costs, excellent warranty coverage, and low maintenance.

Not to mention the sheer variety of styling options available to homeowners!

We’ve sure come a long way from the small thatched-roofed homes of the early colonial-era made of dried local grasses…

plimoth plantation farm house

To today, where we enjoy the wonders of modern asphalt shingle manufacturing.

wd-hero roofing image

Before fiberglass-based matting took over, organic felt-mat asphalt shingles were the norm. They were made of things like cotton rag, wool, jute, and even wood pulp. It wasn’t until the 1960s when fiberglass mats were first introduced as a replacement for asbestos in organic mat shingles. In 1982 they took over as the #1 shingles, and by the 21st century, fiberglass-based roofing shingles had become the norm.

Here in the 2020s, once you decide on having an asphalt shingle roofing system, as a homeowner you’ve got three core options. And this is assuming you live under a sloped rather than a flat roof.

1.  Basic 3-Tab Asphalt Shingles: flat, simple, inexpensive, thinner, uniform.

More often than not, homeowners are looking to upgrade from older 3-tab roofs. They simply aren’t as popular anymore unless we’re talking about low-income housing, rental properties, etc. Homes that don’t need long-lasting, high-quality roofs. If you’re looking to invest in a premium roofing system with industry-best coverage, the following two options are better.

This is the Royal Sovereign line of 3-tab shingles from GAF to give you an idea, although you’ve likely seen plenty of them in your day already.

ash brown, autumn brown, charcoal, golden cedar, slate, and weathered gray shingles

2.  Architectural or Dimensional Shingles: laminates, multi-layer, thicker, stronger.

Below are some basic colors, but you can already see the difference in quality. Not only are high-grade architectural asphalt shingles going to perform better, but they also provide substantially more aesthetic value (curb value), ROI, and unbeatable coverage which we’ll talk about in a moment.

This is where our Roofing Expertise is focused.

To give you a better side-by-side comparison, check out this graphic created by a fellow roofer from far away to the north.

side-by-side comparison of architectural shingles and 3 tab shingles

The third option is for homeowners who want the ‘affordable luxury’ lines of asphalt shingles.

3. Premium Designer Shingles: sophisticated designs, custom colors, extra protection, outstanding coverage.

These are often referred to as ‘luxury shingles,’ so you usually see them on more upscale homes with the right set of circumstances to show them off. Their designs are to mimic old-world materials like slate and wood.

Now that you’ve got an idea of the very basics of what GAF roofing shingles are, let’s talk about why having professionals do the installation is a no-brainer.

gaf designer shingles

3 Reasons To Let The Professionals Install Your GAF System

#1: Almost No Chance Of Installer Error

The root cause of most roofing problems is installer error. Whether you’re talking about warranty disputes or abysmal customer experiences, unqualified sloppy installations are the big culprit. All this is an extremely well-known fact within the industry. But as a homeowner, how many times do you plan on purchasing a brand new roofing system for your home?

If you’re like the vast majority of others, the answer is ONCE.

Most people only go through this experience of choosing a roofing material, then a contractor/manufacturer, and having a new system installed once.

Just… once. Younger generations aren’t staying in homes as long anymore, and older homeowners, again, are only going to need one of these upgrades a single time.

As such, making mistakes is easy.


#2: The GAF Certification Program

GAF addresses the issue and essentially erases it through their Master Elite Program; widely considered the gold standard of roofing contractor certifications.

How do we know it’s the best?

  • Only about 2-3% of all roofers in America have the Master Elite Certification.
  • The sheer amount of work, loops you have to jump through, training, and requirements of the program are more than many roofing companies can handle.
    • All Proper Licensing
    • All Proper/Adequate Insurance
    • A Proven Reputation (This Takes Time)
    • Commitment To Ongoing Training
    • Proven Extensive Knowledge Of GAF Systems
  • This means in any given state, there are only a handful of Master Elite-certified options. For example, here in the St. Louis area of Missouri, you need to call XteriorPRO for a Master Elite® Installation.


Your perks are simple. The GAF system is set up to ENSURE no installation errors. If you choose a contractor, they have gone through the vetting and training process over a longer time (ongoing).

After the installation, if you’ve chosen the Golden Pledge Warranty option, a GAF Field Services Representative (a technician, not a salesperson) may come out and perform a 40-point inspection to see everything is done correctly down to the finest detail.  GAF randomly inspects installations to ensure their Master Elite Contractors are following the installation guidelines set forth.

“…ensuring attic ventilation and accessories are installed properly to maximize performance and prevent future leaks; ridge cap shingles are fastened properly and to the correct exposure avoiding shingle blow-off; flashings are installed properly to protect the roof deck and living space from water damage, and more.”


And this leads us to the third reason to let Master Elite roofers install your GAF system: it’s the ONLY way to get GAF’s Golden Pledge Warranty coverage.

#3: You Get Unbeatable Manufacturer/Workmanship Coverage

gaf roofing professionals

We’re including the first 10 requirements below, but what you get is 100% of all manufacturer defects covered for the shingles’ lifetime. GAF will also protect against any possible workmanship defects that were somehow missed during their inspection — includes tear-off & disposal costs.

Then, because you’re working with one of their partners, you know your installer will handle the workmanship-related repairs.

What the requirements also show you is that in order for GAF to offer you the best coverage, you need to invest in a complete system. Not just a pretty set of shingles – guaranteeing superior performance.

Eligibility Requirements for the Golden Pledge® Ltd. Warranty

    1. The installed roof must be an entire roof, not just a portion or section.
    2. The roof must be installed by a GAF Master Elite Roofing Contractor like XteriorPRO.
    3. The new roof must be installed on a fresh deck, with all previous roofing material  removed.
    4. Must use GAF Roof Deck Protection.
    5. Must use GAF Leak Barrier in valleys and around dormers, sidewalls, firewalls, chimneys, plumbing vents, and skylights. Here in St. Louis, an eligible Leak Barrier product must also be used at all eaves to at least 24″ inside of the warm wall.
    6. Must use GAF pre-cut Starter Strip Shingles with a factory-applied adhesive.
    7. Must use a COBRA® Attic Ventilation product with adequate intake ventilation.
    8. Must use GAF Roofing Shingles.
    9. Must use GAF Ridge Cap Shingles.
    10. MUST install new metal flashing (unless existing flashing(s) are in like-new condition or are at “unworkable” wall interfaces).  Metal drip edge MUST be used at eaves.

Wrapping Up: GAF Makes It Easy To Get The Best

In conclusion, once you decide GAF’s asphalt shingle-based roofing systems are right for your needs, and you want to deal with an American company that’s over a century old, the reasons to follow their system are simple:

  1. You almost completely erase any chance of installer error.
  2. You get to work with true, vetted, extremely well-trained Master Elite roofers.
  3. You get unbeatable peace-of-mind coverage on something as important as your new roofing system — not just a set of shingles.

If you’re in the St. Louis Metro area, reach out and Contact XteriorPRO today. As a local Master Elite roofer, we’re qualified to answer your questions, provide a free consultation and quote, or address any concerns you might have. We look forward to hearing from you, and thanks for your time today.