Today, almost every home in Little Rock, AR, has a similar-looking roof. That’s because most of them rely on asphalt shingles, which are among the most flexible and cost-effective roofing materials on the market. However, these simple-looking items are more complex than they appear at first glance. If you’ve ever wondered what goes into the production of a shingle, this article is for you. Here are all of the materials and layers you’ll find in the humble asphalt shingle.

Fiberglass Webbing

The bottom layer of most asphalt shingles is a fiberglass mat that provides a sturdy base to hold the rest of the shingle together. Fiberglass, as its name implies, is a type of glass formed into strands. A fiberglass mat is a webbing made from those strands. This is the material of choice for shingle base layers because of its flexibility and strength. Occasionally, you will find some asphalt shingles that use either a felt or recycled paper mat, instead, but only on the most inexpensive shingles.

Oxidized Asphalt

The next layer is a layer of specially-produced oxidized asphalt. Asphalt is a refined petroleum product that offers excellent protection against moisture. In this case, the asphalt goes through a process that introduces air to it, which makes it semi-flexible and not brittle. Most asphalt in shingles also has a mineral powder added to it to improve its resistance to the elements and as a flame retardant. In some cases, you’ll find this mineral powder in a layer both on top of and beneath the shingle’s asphalt layer.

Stone Granules

The surface layer of an asphalt shingle has a distinctly rough look to it. That’s because it’s made from a layer of finely-machined stone granules. On parts of the shingle that won’t be visible after roofing installation, the stone granules appear in their natural color, which is typically various shades of gray. However, on the part of the shingle that will be visible, manufacturers fire the stone granules at high temperatures to give them a more appealing color.

Depending on the shingle you’re dealing with, you may also find an anti-algae granule mixed in to make the shingle more resilient against the elements. Some also contain reflective granules meant to reflect more of the sun’s heat away from the home they’re installed on.

Adhesive and Sealant

The final layer of a typical asphalt shingle is a combination of adhesives and sealants. The adhesives are quite important since they’re engineered to activate at specific temperatures. This helps to bond the layers of asphalt shingles installed on a roof to improve their protection against moisture. It also helps keep the shingles in place so they can withstand strong storms and other weather events.

Some shingles also contain a laminate layer, which further reinforces the shingle itself and adds a bit of depth to each shingle. This creates a more appealing finished look on the roof that can set it apart from more standard shingles. In some cases, laminated shingles even feature varying colors to create a randomized pattern on the roof. This allows for better integration with a variety of home styles and exterior décor.

Protective Release Film

Although it’s not a part of an installed asphalt shingle, there is one more thing you’ll find on them when they arrive at a home for installation. It’s a thin plastic sheet layer that prevents the adhesive from activating before the shingles get installed. The roofer working with the shingles won’t peel this film off of the shingles to prepare them for final installation, however. This is because the alignment of the plastic release film only separates the adhesive from other shingles while they’re stacked directly on top of one another. In their offset installed position, the adhesive will still make contact with the shingle below it to form a tight bond.

Call Your Professional Roofing Team

Although asphalt roof shingles are a popular roofing material, they’re far from the only one. The expert roofers here at Big Rock KangaROOF know all of your options. We offer expert roof installation, repairs, and maintenance, and we also offer roof inspections. Plus, we work with metal roofs, should you opt for one. We’ve served the Little Rock community with pride for a decade; we have a long list of satisfied customers throughout the area. If your home needs a new roof or has any other roofing needs, call the expert roofers at Big Rock KangaROOF today!

Todd Upton

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