Asphalt Roofing Shingles

how are asphalt roofing shingles madeHow Are Asphalt Roofing Shingles Made

Today we are going to look at how composition shingles or otherwise known as asphalt roofing shingles are made, how much they cost, what materials they are made of, and the history of this type of shingle. An asphalt roofing shingle is a type of wall or roof shingle that uses asphalt for waterproofing. It is one of the most widely used roofing covers in North America because it has a relatively inexpensive cost and is simple to install. However the life span of this roofing shingle is often under 20 years.

History Of Asphalt Roofing Shingles

Asphalt shingles are an American invention first used in 1901 and by 1939 11 million squares of shingles were being produced. Asphalt prepared roofing, the forerunner of asphalt shingles that came out in 1901, was first developed in 1893. These shingles were similar to asphalt roll roofing without the surface granules. Granules were later added in 1897 to make the material more durable. All shingles were organic at first with the base material, called felt, being primarily cotton rag until the 1920s when cotton rag became more expensive and alternative materials were used. In the 1950s adhesives began to be used to help prevent wind damage to shingle roofs.

What Are Asphalt Roofing Shingles Made Of

There are two types of base materials used to make asphalt shingles. Organic and fiberglass, both are made similar, with an asphalt-saturated base, covered on both sides with asphalt. The exposed surface is made with inner slate, schist, quartz, vitrified brick, stone, or ceramic granules. The under-side is treated with sand, talc, or mica to prevent shingles from sticking to one-another before use. The top surface granules block ultra-violet light. Ultra-violet light causes the shingles to deteriorate. So the granules provides some physical protection of the asphalt core, and also provides color. Some shingles have copper added to the surface to help prevent algae growth. Self-sealing strips are another thing used to protect your shingles from lifting in high winds.

dry looping Saturation wet loopingThe Shingle Manufacturing Process Steps

Asphalt roofing shingles are produced by passing the base material through a machine that adds the other components. The same machine can be used to make either shingles or roll roofing. There are approximately eight steps in manufacturing asphalt shingles. Steps 1, 2, & 3 in the manufacturing process is seen in the image above.

1 – Dry Looping

First, a jumbo roll 6 ft. in diameter of either organic felt or fiberglass mat is mounted and fed into the roofing machine. The base material first passes through a dry looper. Matting is accumulated accordion-style in this reservoir, so that the machine can continue to operate when the supply roll is exhausted and a new one is mounted.

2 – Saturation

Second, the base material passes through a chamber, where it is sprayed on one side with hot asphalt to drive out any moisture that may be present. It then goes into a saturator tank filled with hot asphalt. Soaking in the asphalt coats the fibers within the mat and fills the voids between them.

3 – Wet looping

Third, the matting is again formed into accordion folds. While the asphalt coating on the mat cools, it is drawn into the felt, creating an even greater degree of saturation.

Coating Mineral Surfacing Finishing Asphalt Roofing Shingles 4 – Coating

Forth, coating asphalt, which has been stabilized with powdered minerals, is applied to both surfaces of the mat. The mat passes between a pair of asphalt coating rolls. After, a coating of fine mineral particles is applied to the back surface of the mat, which then passes through a series of rollers that embed the coating particles in the asphalt and cool the material. The shingles are finished by cooling and cutting them to size.

the asphalt roofing shingle manufacturing process from start to finish5 – Granules Surfacing

Fifth, Granules that are ceramic-coated of the desired color are applied to the top surface of the asphalt-coated mat. A coating of fine particles of a mineral, such as talc or mica, is applied to the back surface of the mat. The sheet of treated mat then passes through a series of rollers that embed the coating particles in the asphalt and cool the material.  In short, in asphalt shingle production wherever there is a blender or blended granule applicator being used to apply a blend of colored granules to the top of an asphalted coated membrane surface there is the need to mix granules.  steps 3, 4 & 5  in how asphalt roofing shingles are made you can see in the image above. 

cooling looper systems for asphalt roofing shingles 6 – Cooling Finishing Looper

Sixth, the strip of roofing material is accumulated, accordion-style, on a cooling looper to finish cooling. the long continuous strip that will be cut into asphalt roofing shingles. This is an important step so the new asphalt roofing shingles will not stick together when they are bundled and packaged. See the image to the right.

Some time ago we our team at Texas Home Exteriors was on tour to see how roofing shingle are made, we seen this cooling looper. Not shown in this pic is the huge fans behind that were blowing on the newly heated shingle strip to cool it down to a lower temperature. 


asphalt roofing shingle cutting machine7 – Cutting

Seventh, the sheet of finished shingle material then passes into a cutting machine, where it is cut from the backside into the desired size and shape. The machine separates the shingles and stacks them in bundles. Bundles generally contain enough shingles to roof 25-35 sq. ft. See image to the right. 

This asphalt roofing shingle cutting machine is often called a cutting press. As you can see it is quite large and one of the most heaviest of the machines due to the roller and it’s pressing capabilities. 



asphalt roofing shingle bundle conveyors processing machine 8 – Packaging & Bundling 

Eighth, the bundles of roofing shingles are transferred to equipment that wraps them and affixes labels. This is called an asphalt roofing shingle bundle conveyor as see in this image to the right. 

How Much Do Asphalt Shingles Cost

Asphalt shingles cost anywhere from eighty dollars to two hundred + dollars per square depending on the style of shingle and length of warranty offered. A square covers approximately one hundred square feet. A typical two-story, 2,300-square-foot house with a medium-pitch roof, has a roof area of about 1,500 square feet.


Asphalt Roofing Shingle Web Links: 

Wikipedia – Asphalt Roof Shingle
Certainteed – How Asphalt Roofing Shingle Made
IKO – What Are Shingles Made Of
MadeHow – Shingle
PacificWestRoofing – Asphalt Shingles 

Conclusion Of How Asphalt Roofing Shingles Are Made

So in conclusion, asphalt roofing shingles are made of many different materials and have a lot of steps to making them. A lot of times they are organic and the materials are as well. They come from a long line of history and are the most often used roofing shingle today. Asphalt roofing shingles are one of the best type of shingles for your home’s roof because they work hard to protect it and are affordable. Thank you from, Texas Home Exteriors

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4 Responses to Asphalt Roofing Shingles

  1. Jimmy says:

    Wow, I love all of the photos in your how roofing shingles are made article!

  2. Corrie Vetter says:

    Sweet home improvement web site, super design, very clean and user friendly!

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