IKO Asphalt Shingles remain the dominant roofing option in North America, and they are found on roofs in scores of countries around the world. Regardless of color or style, they are all manufactured in basically the same way in a continuous web process, using a short list of key raw materials.

Cutaway diagram showing what an asphalt shingle is made of. So what exactly goes into an asphalt roofing shingle anyway?

  1. As mentioned, the manufacturing process uses a continuous web or sheet which provides the foundation upon which the asphalt and other materials are applied. Asphalt roofing shingles are reinforced with a thin fiberglass mat, made from glass fibers of specific length and diameter bound together with the help of stable resins and binders. The fiberglass is wound into large rolls at the fiberglass mill, which are then “unwound” at the start of the roofing shingle manufacturing process.
  2. Asphalt is the main water-resistant ingredient in shingles. The asphalt used is an end-product of oil refining and, although somewhat similar in origin to road asphalt, it is processed to a higher degree of toughness needed for asphalt shingle performance. 
  3. The most visible aspect of asphalt roofing shingles is the stone granule surfacing. Hard rock with certain physical properties is crushed and screened to exact granular size specifications. In the part of the shingle not exposed to view, the granules are applied as is, in their natural stone-colored state.
  4. Close-up of ceramic granules, a critical part of what shingles are made of.To bond the shingles together on the roof, spots of a thermally-activated asphalt sealant are applied to the shingles (some shingles have the sealant positioned on the top surface, while on other shingles, the sealant is located on the bottom). 
  5. Since the asphalt coating on the roofing shingle is itself a sticky material, the bottom side of the product needs to be covered with something to keep the shingles from sticking to the process rolls during manufacturing, and from sticking together in the package. 
  6. The final asphalt roofing shingle component is one that used to cause a bit of confusion in the amateur roofing community. Mentioned above are the small spots of asphalt sealant that, with sufficient solar heat, will bond the shingles together. 

So, although there is a short list of raw materials in asphalt roofing shingles, each serves a key purpose. They are selected, processed and designed to work together to make a roofing material that is, weight for weight, among the best value options available.






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