What Are Asphalt Shingles Made Of?
Asphalt shingles are one of North America’s most commonly used roofing materials. They are popular because they are relatively affordable, easy to install, and come in various colors and styles. But have you ever wondered what asphalt shingles are made of?
In this article, we will look closer at the components of asphalt shingles and how they are made.
What are Asphalt Shingles?
Asphalt shingles are made of several layers of materials, including a base material, a layer of asphalt, and a layer of granules. The base material can be made of organic materials such as felt, wood, or cellulose, or it can be made of fiberglass. The asphalt layer is added to provide waterproofing and adhesive properties, while the granules protect the shingles from UV rays and provide color.
The base material is the foundation of the shingle and provides its strength and durability. Organic-based shingles are made from felt, wood, or cellulose. Felt-based shingles are made from a blend of asphalt and felt paper that has been saturated with asphalt to make it waterproof.
On the other hand, wood-based shingles are made from cedar or other wood types treated with fire-retardant chemicals. Cellulose-based shingles are made from recycled paper treated with asphalt to make them waterproof.
Fiberglass-based shingles are made of a woven fiberglass mat coated with an asphalt layer. The fiberglass mat provides strength and durability, while the asphalt layer provides waterproofing and adhesive properties.
Layer of Asphalt
The base material adds the asphalt layer to provide waterproofing and adhesive properties. The asphalt used in shingles is a byproduct of petroleum refining and is a sticky, black, and highly viscous material. It is heated and mixed with other materials, such as mineral fillers and modifiers, to create a suitable blend for roofing applications.
The asphalt layer is applied to the base material in a hot or cold process. In the hot process, the asphalt is heated to a temperature of around 400 degrees Fahrenheit and then applied to the base material using a machine. In the cold process, the asphalt is mixed with solvents or water to create a liquid that is then applied to the base material.
Layer of Granules
The granular layer protects the shingles from UV rays and provides color. Granules are small, coarse particles that are made from materials such as ceramic, stone, or slag. They are added to the shingle’s surface using an adhesive, and they come in various colors to match the aesthetic of the building.
The granules used in asphalt shingles are coated with a layer of ceramic or other material to improve their adhesion to the shingle and make them more weather-resistant. The color of the granules is determined by the color of the coating and can range from earthy browns and greens to bright reds and blues.
The asphalt shingles’ manufacturing process begins with the base material’s production. The felt paper is saturated with asphalt and then coated with mineral granules for felt-based shingles. For fiberglass-based shingles, the fiberglass mat is coated with asphalt and then topped with granules.
The base material is then run through a machine that applies the layer of granules to the shingle’s surface. The granules are pressed into the asphalt using a roller to ensure that they are firmly attached.
The shingles are then cut to size and packaged for shipping. They can be installed on various roof types, including pitched and flat roofs. They are a popular choice for residential and commercial buildings.
What is the lifespan of asphalt shingles?
Asphalt shingles typically last 15-25 years, depending on climate, installation quality, and maintenance.
Are there different types of asphalt shingles?
Several types of asphalt shingles exist, including 3-tab, architectural, and impact-resistant shingles.
Are asphalt shingles recyclable?
Yes, asphalt shingles can be recycled into various products, including pavement and roofing materials.
Can asphalt shingles be installed on a flat roof?
Yes, asphalt shingles can be installed on a flat roof. Still, special considerations must be taken to ensure proper drainage and prevent water from pooling on the roof.
Do asphalt shingles come in different colors?
Yes, asphalt shingles come in various colors, from earthy browns and greens to bright reds and blues. The color of the shingles is determined by the color of the granules used on the shingle’s surface.
How are asphalt shingles installed?
Asphalt shingles are installed by laying them in rows, starting at the bottom edge of the roof and working upwards. The row overlaps each row above it to provide a waterproof barrier. The shingles are secured to the roof deck using nails.
How do I know if my asphalt shingles need to be replaced?
Signs that your asphalt shingles may need to be replaced include curling or cracking shingles, missing granules, and leaks in your roof. It’s essential to have a professional roofing contractor inspect your roof regularly to identify any potential issues.
Are asphalt shingles fire-resistant?
Most asphalt shingles are not fire-resistant, but some types have been treated with fire-retardant chemicals to improve their fire resistance.
Can asphalt shingles be installed over an existing roof?
In some cases, asphalt shingles can be installed over an existing roof. Still, it’s essential to consult with a professional roofing contractor to ensure that your roof is structurally sound and can support the weight of the additional layer of shingles.
Are asphalt shingles a good choice for my home?
Asphalt shingles are a popular and affordable choice for residential roofing. They come in various colors and styles and are relatively easy to install. However, the lifespan of asphalt shingles is shorter than other roofing materials, so it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.
Asphalt shingles are a popular roofing material due to their affordability, ease of installation, and wide range of colors and styles. They comprise several layers, including a base material, a layer of asphalt, and a layer of granules.
The base material can be organic or fiberglass, while the asphalt layer provides waterproofing and adhesive properties. The granular layer protects the shingles from UV rays and provides color.
Understanding the components of asphalt shingles can help homeowners make informed decisions when choosing roofing materials.