Construction of an Asphalt Shingle

May 10, 2022

Asphalt shingles remain the dominant roofing option in North America. Regardless of color or style, shingles are manufactured in basically the same way in a continuous web process using a short list of key raw materials. So, what goes into the construction of a good roof shingle?

1. Fiberglass

The manufacturing process uses a continuous web or sheet of fiberglass which provides the foundation upon which the asphalt and other materials are applied. Asphalt roofing shingles are reinforced with a thin fiberglass mat, made from glass fibers of specific length and diameter bound together with stable resins and binders.

2. Asphalt

Asphalt is the main water-resistant ingredient. The asphalt used is an end-product of oil refining and, although somewhat similar in origin to road asphalt, it is processed to a higher degree of toughness needed for asphalt shingle performance. A fine mineral powder is mixed with the asphalt to increase weather resistance and enable the installed shingle layer to meet the highest standards for resistance to fire hazards. The mineral-fortified asphalt “coating” is applied to the fiberglass mat on top and bottom.

3. Granules

The most visible aspect of asphalt roofing shingles is the granule surfacing. Hard rock with certain physical properties is crushed and screened to exact granular size specifications.
The granules are processed into a variety of colors via ceramic firing to give them the long-lasting colors used on the shingle.

4. Sealant

The “integrity of the seal” – this is a common phrase discussed when Roofing Solutions helps property owners with wind and hail claims.

To bond the shingles together on the roof, dabs of a thermally-activated asphalt sealant are applied to the shingles. If the shingles are multi-layer laminated shingles, a similar material called laminant is used to adhere the shingle layers together at time of manufacture.

These asphaltic adhesives are specially engineered to ensure they activate at the desired temperature ranges and hold their bond through the rigorous shingle installation process, and also during wind events and other roof stresses.