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The Intricate Craftsmanship of Roofing Shingles

Roofing shingles, a staple in North American architecture, are renowned for their durability, ease of installation, and cost-effectiveness. Their role in enhancing a home's overall aesthetic and protective qualities has solidified their status as a preferred choice for both homeowners and roofing professionals. This article delves into the intricate process of shingle production, tracing the journey from raw materials to the finished product.

A Historical Perspective on Shingle Development

The Evolution from Wood to Asphalt

The journey of shingles began in the 1700s with wooden shingles, which were thin, rectangular wood pieces installed in overlapping rows. This method has been refined over the centuries, leading to significant advancements. The late 19th century marked a pivotal moment with the introduction of asphalt-coated shingles, revolutionizing roofing in North America. These shingles, featuring a base material coated in asphalt, offered enhanced waterproofing and durability.

Understanding the Base Materials

Organic vs. Inorganic Choices

Asphalt-coated shingles, also known as composition shingles, are crafted from either organic or inorganic base materials. Organic bases consist of paper impregnated with asphalt, while inorganic options include fiberglass or synthetic materials, also infused with asphalt. The choice of base material influences the shingle's properties, such as fire resistance, weight, and cost, playing a crucial role in the selection process for roofing projects.

The Manufacturing Odyssey

Steps to Crafting Durable Shingles

  • Dry Looping: The initial phase involves coating the base material with asphalt, followed by a second coating for enhanced water and weather resistance. The quantity of asphalt applied determines the shingle's final weight.

  • Saturation: Here, the base material is saturated with hot, liquid asphalt to increase pliability. The amount used affects the shingle's flexibility.

  • Wet Looping: This stage forms the asphalt-saturated base into accordion-like folds, giving shingles their unique 3D shape and increasing wind resistance.

  • Coating: A coating of asphalt mixed with fine minerals is applied for extra elemental protection. This step may also fill gaps between fiberglass filaments.

  • Mineral Surfacing: Mineral granules, either ceramic or slate, are added for color and UV protection. This also adds weight for better wind resistance.

  • Finishing: The material is rolled up, nearing the end of the manufacturing process.

  • Cutting: Shingles are cut to size and shape, ensuring uniformity and proper fit for installation.

  • Packaging: Finally, shingles are bundled for easy transport and storage, ready for shipment to contractors and homeowners.

Ensuring Top-Quality Manufacturing

Key Steps for Premium Shingles

To guarantee the highest quality, manufacturers must meticulously assess and treat the base material, ensuring it's free from impurities. Proper saturation with asphalt is crucial for flexibility and durability. Consistent temperatures during the curing process are vital for bonding, and a final inspection before packaging ensures that only the best shingles reach the customer.

The Dual Role of Shingles

Protection and Aesthetics

Shingles serve two primary functions: protecting structures from the elements and enhancing aesthetic appeal. They keep buildings dry, insulated, and free from mold and mildew, while also contributing to a building's curb appeal with various colors and styles.

Empire Roofing and Exteriors, located in Pickerington, OH, understands the importance of quality shingles in both protecting and beautifying homes. By choosing the right shingles, homeowners can ensure their roofs are both durable and visually appealing.


The manufacturing of shingles is a complex yet crucial process, ensuring the integrity and appeal of this essential roofing material. When considering a new roof, it's important to explore all options and consult with knowledgeable professionals like Empire Roofing and Exteriors to make an informed decision.

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