Asphalt shingles are one of the most popular roofing options in use today. Did you know that? They are an extremely durable and aesthetically pleasing option. Interestingly, the shingles look much the same as they did just after their introduction around 1903.
However, with manufacturing improvements over the years these shingles can have some rather substantial differences from one another. For example, many no longer have an organic (paper/felt) base to make them more fire resistant. You can find them in a wide variety of textures, shapes, and colors. Fine features to protect against wind, algae, hail, quick temperature changes, and the like. They even have some that offer solar reflecting to lower air conditioning costs in warm climates.
But how are they made, you ask? That varies slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer but is actually a pretty fascinating process. Let us show you the basic process.
Dry Looping the Base
First, the base of the asphalt shingles runs through a machine. Usually you will see the material is in very large rolls, nearly six feet in diameter! They are then run through a machine they call a dry looper. Typically, it is felt, recycled paper, or fiberglass matting and the machine cleans the material and gets it ready to start the shingling process. Sometimes, the base material is pre-coated in this stage.
Next, you see the base material get coated in asphalt. Each manufacturer uses their own special formula to achieve the desired characteristics. There can be as little as 5% asphalt. Here, the asphalt makes the base material waterproof.
Wet Looping the Saturated Base
Now, the saturated base is cooled and the fibers ensuring complete saturation.
Coating the Saturated Base
Powdered minerals are now applied to the base. These can include many things, crushed rock, sand, and the like
Mineral Surfacing and Finishing the Asphalt Shingles
At this point, any final minerals are applied, ceramic coating and any protective coatings. This is the time that things like anti-algae coatings are added on.
Asphalt Shingles Finally Being Cut
Finally, the completed shingles can be cut, checked for quality and uniformity and then they are stacked and packed to go to their new homes. Hopefully you enjoyed this informative journey.