GAF vs. Malarkey: Which Shingles Brand to Choose?

GAF vs. Malarkey: Which Shingles Brand to Choose?

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If you are planning on getting new roofing, the type and brand of shingles that you get are a very important consideration. Today, we want to compare two of the best shingles brands, GAF and Malarkey. We’re going to compare these brands specifically based on some of their flagship products.

Continue reading to find out which – if either – is the better option for your project.

GAF Overview

GAF ShinglesAs far as popularity and reputation go, GAF is by far one of the most popular businesses in the roofing industry. In fact, it is a part of the largest waterproofing and roofing business in the whole world.

This company has been around since 1886 and is at this time North America’s largest roofing manufacturer. As far as regular homeowners go, this is a super popular brand, mainly because it features an extremely large product selection, with many of the products being affordably priced.

Malarkey Overview

Malarkey ShinglesWe then have Malarkey, which has been a leading brand name in the roofing and shingles world for the last 65 years. The company was first founded in 1956, and since then has become an extremely popular option as far as professionals are concerned.

Malarkey as a brand is considered extremely high quality and premium. Something worth noting is that these shingles are always installed by professional contractors and can only be purchased by them. A normal person with an open contractor cannot go out and buy these for themselves; you must buy them through a certified professional.

GAF vs. Malarkey: How Do They Compare?

Let’s now take a closer look at exactly how these two brands compare to each other. Let’s take a look at what their product lineups look like, what the overall quality is like, as well as the durability, wind rating, algae resistance, energy efficiency, fire rating, and more.

Product Lineup

If we look at the product lineups for these two brand names, GAF definitely has more products to choose from. They are a good brand for the average homeowner because there are plenty of affordable shingles, as well as higher-end shingles available.

This brand has no less than 15 shingles available for sale, including various Timberline shingles, Designer shingles, and three-tab shingles. These come in many styles and colors. The most popular option is the Timberline, so this is what we will focus on today.

We then have the Malarkey lineup, which is decidedly smaller, with prices starting quite a bit higher. Generally speaking, Malarkey has just three main types of shingles, the Highlander NEX AR shingles, the Vista AR shingles, and the Legacy Scotchgard shingles.

As you can see, GAF absolutely has a much larger lineup with more selection.

Overall Quality

If you need high-quality shingles that won’t cost you a fortune, GAF is a good option to consider, particularly if we are talking about the Timberlines. These shingles are in fact one of the most popular shingles in the USA, especially so when it comes to residential use.

With that being said, a part of their popularity does have to do with affordability. Unfortunately, this does come with a small cost, mainly the sacrifice of extreme durability. GAF shingles are known for suffering from granule loss over the years, which makes shingles effectively useless over time.

As for Malarkey, although the shingles are more expensive, they are generally also higher in quality. These shingles, particularly the Vista AR, which we are focusing on today, are known for holding on to the granules for a very long time, being exceedingly durable, and lasting for many years to come.

Simply put, you get what you pay for, and with Malarkey, you pay a lot of money for high-quality shingles.


If we compare the GAF Timberline shingles with the Malarkey Vista AR shingles, the general consensus is that the GAF shingles aren’t quite as durable. The Malarkey shingles tend to suffer from less granule loss, have greater tear resistance, and greater impact resistance.

Although we can’t say this for every single product from both brands, generally speaking, Malarkey shingles are the more durable of the two brands.

Wind Rating

The vast majority of GAF shingles, particularly the Timberline lineup, have a wind rating of 130 mph, which is fairly impressive. In fact, Malarkey Vista AR shingles are also rated with a 130 mph limit. For anybody working in the metric system, that’s about 209 kilometers per hour.

In terms of being weather resistant, both brands appear to be about equal.

Algae Resistance

Malarkey shingles in general, and specifically the Vista AR lineup, are known for being extremely resistant to algae buildups. The GAF Timberline shingles are also known for this, although maybe not quite as much as the best AR shingles.

However, the difference here is rather negligible, and algae is not really a problem with either of these brands.

Energy Efficiency

GAF Timberline shingles are Energy Star certified, which means that they are proven to be energy-saving. Thanks to these qualities, they are said to produce a 20% payback of the initial cost within just a few years.

Malarkey shingles are also Energy Star certified. According to the brand itself, these shingles can help you save as much as 15% on heating and cooling costs.

When it comes down to it, assuming the numbers presented by the brands are accurate, Malarkey is likely slightly better on this front.

Fire Rating

Both the Vista AR and the Timberline shingles have a Class A fire rating, which is the highest possible rating.


The Timberline shingles feature a whopping 50-year warranty, 10 years non-prorated. With Malarkey, although it is expensive, there are limited lifetime warranties available.

While both brand names do offer excellent warranties, as is generally the case across the board, Malarkey is better.


As mentioned a couple of times already, Malarkey is the more expensive of the two brands.

For regular shingles, with Malarkey, expect to spend between $4.20 and $5 per square foot, with GAF costing $2.50 to $3.00 per square foot.

GAF vs. Malarkey: Which Offers Better Roof Shingles?

When it comes down to it, Malarkey just has the better shingles. They might cost more, but they are also longer lasting, more durable, have better warranties, and more.

Yes, both are fine brands to go with, but GAF is more for the average homeowner that doesn’t want to spend too much money, whereas Malarkey is a very high-end option.

How Do GAF and Malarkey Compare with Other Shingles Brands?

See how GAF compares with: Atlas | BP | CertainTeed | IKO | Owens Corning | TAMKO

See how Malarkey compares with: Atlas | CertainTeed | IKO | Owens Corning | TAMKO