What Are Shingles Made Of?

What Are Shingles Made Of?

Asphalt is the most common type of roofing in North America, but these shingles are composed of different materials in addition to asphalt.

Asphalt roofing shingles.

Fiberglass or other organic fibers.

The process of manufacturing a roofing shingle starts with a large sheet on which asphalt and other materials are applied. These sheets are the base of the shingle and allow the other materials to hold together nicely. Most often, glass fibers are wound together into large rolls to provide a thin layer of stabilization.



Asphalt is the main ingredient in many North American roofing shingles. It provides a level of toughness, is cost-effective, and has qualities that help keep buildings free of water. The asphalt on your home is similar to the asphalt seen on your street but is processed to be more resilient. When the asphalt has gone through an oil refining process, it is oxidized (chemically combined with oxygen). Basically, air is blown through heated asphalt to raise the softening point and increase firmness and flexibility to the shingle. This is a precise, complex, and controlled reaction which causes chemical molecules to rearrange due to the presence of oxygen and elevated temperatures. Thicker asphalt with a mixture of limestone or other minerals is also applied to add a further level of flexibility and fire/water resistance.



Certain hard stones are crushed to meet size and toughness specifications and applied to the asphalt. The granules are processed to come in many different colors and to be fade resistant. Granules are also processed to reflect the sun and can be algae resistant.

Different color shingle granules give homeowners style options.


A thermally activated adhesive strip bonds separate shingles into a water-resistant unit.


Release Film/Backsurfacing

Without backsurfacing the shingle manufacturing, packaging, storage, and delivery would be impossible. A very fine powder made of sand or rock is applied to the back of each strip to prevent shingles from sticking together in the package. Another material, called release film, is applied to the back of each shingle as well. This is about one inch wide and looks like a shiny piece of tape. It also prevents the adhesion of shingles while in the package.


Each of these materials is important to the longevity of roofing shingles and serves a specific purpose in keeping buildings protected. Please contact us if you would like a quote on your roof replacement, or schedule one here. Not all roofing shingles are made using these ingredients, but this is a general list which many are composed of.


Copyright © 2019 JPW Building, LLC – All Rights Reserved.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *