Asphalt shingles are the most popular residential roof replacement material. Despite the numerous options available—from traditional three-tab shingles to laminate shingles with custom finishes—the manufacturing process is the same. Your trusted roofing contractor Lexington Blue shares a look at how asphalt shingles are manufactured.
The asphalt shingle manufacturing process begins with rolls of backing material loaded in to rollers. Depending on the specifications, the backing material can either be “organic” (cellulose from recycled paper) or fiberglass. These sheets are fed into a machine equipped with several rollers, which can be raised several feet high as needed to create slack to ensure continuous flow of material. Workers splice a new roll as needed by closing the gap between the rollers and widening it once the splice is complete.
Hot Asphalt and Granules
The backing material then passes through cascading hot asphalt, which gives the sheets water-resistance. The soaked backing material is dried through cooling fans before a second pass of hot asphalt, this time mixed with powdered limestone for flexibility. At this point, the sheets of material are already waterproof, but it still needs one crucial layer before it looks like the shingles that roofing contractors would install.
A mixture of crushed colored rock and ceramic granules are pressed on one side of the still-drying backing material. Dedicated nozzles blow different granules of different types of colors. Color “blends” get multiple passes. In addition to colors, additional features may also be added. For example, algae-resistant asphalt shingles will have copper granules added to the mix. The uncut sheets are dusted with powdered stone and wrapped with polyurethane sheets to prevent sticking.
Before the sheets are trimmed, strips of heat-activated adhesive are installed at the underside. This reinforces the asphalt shingles and improves its wind resistance. Finally, the sheets are sent to the cutting station. Different configurations create different profiles, depending on the product being manufactured for the day. Laminate shingles will have two layers of material with different profiles that create a layered look. At this stage, samples may be obtained for quality testing. Lastly, the trimmed shingles are mechanically counted, packaged, and shipped.
Lexington Blue is your leading provider of roofing and siding installation services. Give us a call at (859) 368-6346 or fill out our contact form. We serve customers in Richmond, KY, and surrounding areas.