Shingles are commonly known as an asphalt product, but there are other elements that play a crucial role in forming these weather resistant items.
The structure of the shingle comes from its first component: fiberglass. Wet fiberglass is formed into wide rolls of matting. Most shingle manufactures purchase these matts from other shingle manufacturers who fabricate them themselves. This matting is rolled out onto conveyer belts where piping hot liquid asphalt is poured over both sides.
The asphalt coated matting is then cooled over rotating arms that keep the product moving through the production line. Before the asphalt matting is completely cooled, colored granules are dumped onto the matting, giving the shingle its color and providing protection from the sun.
Next the shingles get their tack strip. This is a dashed line of sticky asphalt that is applied to the center of the shingles, where they overlap, to keep them sealed together when installed. A cellophane strip is placed over the tack strip to prevent them from sticking in the packaging.
Finally the shingles are cut to size. 3-tab shingles are made from a single layer of the coated asphalt matting. Laminate shingles are cut in a sawtooth pattern and then adhered to another piece of coated matting, forming a “laminated” shingle that is almost twice as thick as its 3-tab counterpart.
The shingles are then packaged and shipped to distributors across the country, where your local roofer buys them and installs them on your home!
The production of shingles isn’t all that complicated, but it takes smooth running operations to produce the millions of tons of asphalt shingles that are installed on U.S. homes every year.