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Best Asphalt Shingles to Install on Your Roof

Best Asphalt Shingles to Install on Your Roof

If you are a homeowner looking to replace your roof, this is for you!

We are here to talk about the differences in quality between 12 different shingles based off 7 grading criteria. These tests were performed in the Spring of 2023 and relevant to the long-term performance of your roof. We are in the post-COVID era after all, which means everything is more expensive. You want to make sure your investment goes into something that will actually last long-term. We hope you find this information helpful and gain buyer confidence!

You are welcome to watch our VIDEO HERE


·       GAF Timberline HDZ

·       GAF Timberline NS (Natural Shadow)

·       Certainteed Landmark Pro

·       Certainteed Landmark

·       TAMKO Heritage

·       Owens Corning Duration

·       Owens Corning Oakridge

·       IKO Cambridge

·       IKO Dynasty

·       Atlas Pinnacle Pristine

·       Malarkey Highlander

·       Malarkey Vista


1)     Nailing Zone

2)     Sealant

3)     Asphalt Grade

4)     Weight

5)     Impact Resistance

6)     Thickness

7)     Granule Loss


Test #1 – Nailing Zone

We define the nailing zone as the common bond overlap between the upper and lower pieces of the shingle. The wider the common bond area, the better. When the nail goes through the common bond area, it has a greater holding strength. When the nail goes below or above the common bond area, you run into shingle tearing, water troughing, and leaks over time. There were 3common bond sizes in all 12 shingles: 1.5”, 1” and 7/8”. Shout out to Malarkey and Atlas for tapered shims to prevent ice damming and Owens Corning (Duration)and IKO (Dynasty) for having fabric strips to better hold the nail fasteners. Here are the rankings for the best Shingle Nailing Zones:



Test #2 – Sealant

At the very bottom back of every shingle is a sticky tar like substance commonly referred to as the sealant. Sealant is important because it ensures the front of the shingle is bonded to the lower shingle. The more heavily bonded, the less likely for the shingle to allow rain to be driven through nail head holes and for the shingle to tear in higher winds. We graded the amount of sealant based off the surface area and the thickness of the sealant for every shingle. Here are the results below:


Test #3 – Asphalt Grade

Another way of defining this is the quality of asphalt that bonds all pieces together. We tested the quality of asphalt by testing its ability to flex and not crack at it’s weakest area – the nailing zone. Low grade asphalt will crack and reveal holes in the nailing zone where the upper and lower pieces are bonded when flexed and bent. High quality asphalt will flex and not crack and stay sealed together under tension and bending. This is important not only because low grade asphalt cracks more in freezing temperatures, but might also crack and fracture when first installed. When loading new bundles of shingles on your roof, these bundles typically get slung on shoulders or ladder hoists that bend and flex the bundle. High grade asphalt will not crack or tear at the middle seam when put under the tension and flexing of initial installation. Here are the results below:


Test #4 - Weight

Weight by itself does not inherently make a shingle better and indicate true value. However, it is a fun and curious test that identifies some shingle manufacturers that literally pour a little extra asphalt onto their fiberglass matte when initially manufactured. Note that weight by itself doesn’t matter as much, but combining low weight with low grade asphalt is a recipe for disaster. Also, heavier shingles will NOT affect the structure of your home more than lighter shingles. 2 layers of any shingle though could impact the structure of your home in a negative way. Here are the results below:


Test # 5 - Impact Resistance

Most asphalt shingles are not rated to take hail hits and not break. I gave points to 4shingles that are. I want to encourage hail ratings because it encourages shingle manufacturers to make better products and offer long term value to homeowners. Not only will impact rated shingles give you peace of mind during bigger hail storms, but it also can save you money on your homeowners insurance. Malarkey Vista is a Class 4 rated shingle (highest rating). This means it is rated to take 2” of hail. Malarkey Highlander, Certainteed Landmark Pro and IKO Dynasty are Class 3 rated shingles and are rated to take 1.75”diameter hail. Note this is not a hail warranty, because hail hits differently depending on the wind speed it is carried on.


Test #6 - Thickness

Asphalt quality is still a better testament to shingle quality but thickness plays into the overall quality just like shingle weight does. Any of the low grade asphalt shingles are more prone to cracking. If the shingle is on the thinner side of the results, then it will take less tension and less winters for the cracks to split through to the other end of the shingle. High quality asphalt and thicker shingles are ideal but high quality asphalt in general compensates for having a thinner shingle.


Test #7 - Granule Loss

The true indicator for the longevity of asphalt shingles! Granules are the lifeblood of your shingle. The longer the granules stay on your shingles, the longer they block UV sunrays and prevent dry rotting. Once the granules fall out, they leave a small chasm in your shingle which pools water and leads to splitting and cracking during freeze/thaw cycles. The granules stay on shingles with higher asphalt quality and are there to protect your roof the longest. Here are our testing results below:


Overall Results

After scoring all the results, Malarkey Roofing products ran away with the gold and silver and won in a landslide! Below are the final results.

For more details, check out our VIDEO HERE.

We hope you enjoyed our testing criteria and results! We love providing educational resources like this and had fun with the Shingle Olympics.

For additional information or questions, please reach out to our office at (219) 777-0284 or


























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