The scorching sun, beating rain, thrashing hail, gusting winds, and drifting snow all test the capabilities of your roof’s shingles every day. Roofing shingles come in many, from wood, like cedar and pine, to terracotta, aluminum, and asphalt. Covering about 80% of homes across the United States, asphalt shingles are by far the most popular choice among homebuilders. Asphalt shingles are exceptionally durable, fire, and wind-resistant, so that they can withstand all extreme weather conditions. To ensure that asphalt roofing shingles can stand up to it all, they’re made with three critical layers.
Usually made of organic cellulose felt or fiberglass, the mat is the foundation layer of roofing shingles. Organic mats are made with recycled waste paper or wood pulp that’s been pressed into sheets. After the mat has cured, it is cut into strips and formed into rolls. Fiberglass shingles are made with glass fibers, resins, and binders and are more durable despite being a thinner, lighter material. Fiberglass roofing shingles are the favorite among most builders for their increased fire resistance.
After the mat has been rolled out, it is then fed into a coater where asphalt that’s been heated to more than 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The grade of asphalt can range from saturant grade, coating grade, or mopping grade asphalt. The asphalt is mixed with a stabilizer such as fly ash or ground limestone, making the roofing shingles more durable and further increasing their fire resistance to create the coating. The water-resistant coating is applied to the mat on both sides by passing through a series of machine rollers. Depending on the brand, multiple layers of asphalt coating will be applied before the next step, where granules are added.
While the matting strips are still hot and freshly coated with asphalt, different types of granules are applied to each side. Ceramic-coated minerals are applied to the mat’s top surface, providing the desired color, texture, and style while helping to deflect UV light from the sun. Granules are generally small mined rocks; however, some shingle granules include copper to inhibit algae growth in more humid regions. These granules also act to determine when shingle replacement is needed, as they will fall off with wear and tear over time. On the backside of the mat, a finer particle such as talc or mica is applied.
After the granules are added to the asphalt coating, the shingles’ strips are left to cool on loopers and can be mist with water to help reduce heat quicker. The strips are fed into a cutter where they’re sliced into the manufactures desired shapes and sizes. Another machine will separate the shingles and stack them into bundles before they’re wrapped and shipped out to retail stores.
Contact one of our specialists at PCS Roofing to learn about types, colors, and styles of shingles for your roofing project.