Factory Tour: How Asphalt Shingles Are Made

Asphalt shingles remain the most popular choice for residential roof replacement. While there are thousands of options available for homeowners, the manufacturing process is more or less the same. In this blog, Texas Traditions Roofing takes you on a virtual factory tour and with this overview of how asphalt shingles are manufactured.

Backing Material

Asphalt shingles begin their life as rolls of backing material, which can either be made of cellulose from recycled paper or fiberglass, which end up becoming organic and composite shingles, respectively. Rolls of backing material are fed into a machine that features several rollers. These rollers can be raised several feet high to create slack that ensures continuous flow of material. Workers maintain the flow of material by closing the gap between the rollers and splicing a new roll of material as the slack catches up.

Hot Asphalt and Granules

The sheets of backing material pass through pouring hot asphalt, which makes the material water-resistant. The soaked sheets pass through cooling fans before being soaked a second time, this time mixed with powdered limestone that adds flexibility. The hot liquid asphalt is similar in composition to the waterproofing tar used by commercial roofing contractors on traditional flat roofs.

A mixture of ceramic granules and crushed colored rock are then pressed on one side of the still-wet backing material. Different nozzles release different types of granules depending on the batch being manufactured for the day. In addition to the different colors, additional features may also be added at this point. For example, copper granules may be mixed in if the shingles feature anti-algae properties. The still-uncut sheets are dusted with powdered stone and covered with strips of polyurethane to prevent sheets from sticking together.


Strips of adhesive are installed at the underside of the material. The heat-activated adhesives help bolster wind resistance once the roof is installed. Finally, the sheets of material are sent to the cutting station, where the shingles are cut according to the product’s profile. Laminate or “architectural” shingles feature two layers of material with different profiles to create a layered look. Finally, the shingles are mechanically counted, packaged and prepared for shipping.

Texas Traditions Roofing is your leading provider of roof repair and installation services. Give us a call at (512) 942-0427 or fill out our contact form. We serve customers in Georgetown, TX, and surrounding areas.