A little history on shingles....
In earlier times, roofing shingles were made from cedar shake shingles. If you tear off any home roof built before the 1950s this is what you'll find.
The first shingles produced in the U.S were made by Henry M. Reynolds, Grand Rapids Michigan in 1903. He made the shingles by hand cutting stone surfaced roofing with a knife. He then added crushed granuals of slate.
Our first asphalt shingles were made with pulped up rags that were saturated with ashalt by-products. With the introduction of polyester and manmade fibers, asphalt would no longer absorb. This lead to the use of a material made of wood pulp or paper products which was called felt. This mat increased the shingle thickness.
Later, a big push came from National Board of Fire Underwrites to eliminate shake shingle roofs. With the boosted effect of World War I, asphalt shingles were first manufactured with a roller cut-die machine. We are now able to make many shapes and sizes of shingles.
In the late 1970s, the company now known as Owens Corning, always known for their great fiberglass products, started making a new product. They started developing a new shingle mat that would change the roofing industry forever. They made a woven fiberglass mat, the heart of the shingle is now a durable reinforced fiberglass mat, no longer pressed wood pulp.
Unlike the industry standard of organic mats that were made of simple compressed card board and paper, fiberglass was far better at withstanding the elements. These tough fibers made up the base material to form a stronger, lighter thinner product with a longer life. Fiberglass shingles have a class A fire rating and will not burn. Fiberglass will not absorb moisture either. The entire roof industry followed the fiberglass trend and now 95% of shingles have fiberglass mats. Many shingle manufactures purchase Owens Corning fiberglass mat for their shingle products.
Next, manufactures started using flux (virgin asphalt). Flux will normally melt at 120 degrees. If shingles were made with only flux they would melt and run off the roof. To raise the softening point air is blown through the flux making it aged and brittle. This brings the melting point up to 220 degrees. To stabilize the asphalt, we use fillers — the most common is limestone dust. The fillers also help with fire resistance and locking the granuals in place.
Many producers are applying higher quality asphalt to the top of the shingles to protect from UV. No longer wasting the asphalt on the bottom of the shingles produces a lighter weight shingle and increases wind warranties.
On the surface of the shingles is the vibrant granuals that make shingles attractive. Today, there is a vast variety of shingle patterns and colors to satisfy everyone. But most important, the granuals protect the shingles from the suns harsh UV light.
Adhesive strips help lock shingles in place with higher wind warranties. The adhesive on the back of the shingles seal the shingle down and prevent it from blowing off in strong winds and storms.
Currently, there has been a widespread shift to laminated,architectural or dimensional shingles. This is basically 2 shingles that have been glued together to provide a more enhanced appeal. They also produce higher wind warranties and longer life spans. In the western portion of the states we are seeing fewer and fewer 3-tab shingles.
The industry continues to improve shingles. This evolution continues, making better products to protect your home.