What Are Roofing Shingles Made Of: A Comprehensive Guide

What Are Roofing Shingles Made Of?

Roofing shingles are typically made of fiberglass, asphalt, granules, and sealant.

The fiberglass provides reinforcement, while asphalt serves as a water-resistant ingredient.

Stone granules are used for color and aesthetics, and thermally-activated asphalt sealants bond the shingles together on the roof.

Other roofing materials, such as clay tiles, metal, asphalt shingles, cedar shakes, terracotta tiles, Brava composite roofing, and plastic shingles, are also commonly used in residential roofing.

Key Points:

  • Roofing shingles are typically made of fiberglass, asphalt, granules, and sealant.
  • Fiberglass provides reinforcement, while asphalt is water-resistant.
  • Stone granules are used for color and aesthetics.
  • Thermally-activated asphalt sealants bond the shingles together on the roof.
  • Other commonly used residential roofing materials include:
  • Clay tiles
  • Metal
  • Cedar shakes
  • Terracotta tiles
  • Brava composite roofing
  • Plastic shingles.

Did You Know?

1. Roofing shingles are typically made of asphalt, but did you know that they can also be made from materials like wood, slate, metal, or even rubber?
2. A lesser-known fact is that some roofing shingles contain organic compounds called algae-resistant granules, which are specifically designed to hinder the growth of unsightly algae and moss on the roof.
3. Did you know that the color of roofing shingles can impact the energy efficiency of your home? Light-colored shingles tend to reflect more sunlight, making them more energy-efficient and helping to keep the house cooler.
4. In certain regions prone to wildfires, some roofing shingles are manufactured with fire-resistant materials like fiberglass or a special asphalt mixture, contributing to greater protection against potential fire hazards.
5. As technology advances, more environmentally-friendly roofing shingles are being developed. Some manufacturers have started producing shingles made from recycled materials, such as plastic, rubber, or even old wood scraps, reducing waste and promoting sustainability in the construction industry.


Fiberglass is an essential component in the manufacturing of roofing shingles. The shingles are reinforced with a thin fiberglass mat made from glass fibers bound together with stable resins and binders. This fiberglass reinforcement adds strength and durability to the shingles, making them capable of withstanding adverse weather conditions such as strong winds and heavy rains. The fiberglass mat also helps to provide structural stability to the shingles, preventing them from bending or cracking under pressure.

The use of fiberglass in roofing shingles has become increasingly popular due to its lightweight nature. This lightweight characteristic makes the installation process easier and faster, reducing labor costs. Additionally, fiberglass is resistant to fire, making it a safer option for homeowners compared to other roofing materials.

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Asphalt is an important component in the production of roofing shingles. It is derived from oil refining and is processed to increase its toughness. The presence of asphalt in shingles gives them excellent waterproofing properties, protecting the roof from water damage. Moreover, asphalt contributes to the shingles’ ability to withstand extreme heat, making them suitable for regions with high temperatures.

Furthermore, asphalt also enhances the aesthetic appeal of roofing shingles. It can be modified to achieve different colors and textures, allowing homeowners to select shingles that complement their preferred architectural style. The versatility of asphalt shingles makes them a popular choice for residential roofing projects.


Stone granule surfacing is responsible for giving roofing shingles their color and protecting them against ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Hard rock is crushed and screened to exact granular size specifications. These granules are then embedded into the shingle’s surface, creating a protective layer that acts as a shield against the sun’s harmful rays.

Granules also contribute to the overall durability of roofing shingles by providing a barrier against impact damage. They prevent excessive wear and tear caused by hail, falling debris, or foot traffic during maintenance. Furthermore, granules enhance the shingles’ fire resistance, adding an extra layer of protection to homes.


Thermally-activated asphalt sealants are essential in the manufacturing process of roofing shingles. These sealants are applied to bond the shingles together on the roof, ensuring a secure and watertight seal. The sealant provides an extra layer of protection against water infiltration, preventing leaks and prolonging the lifespan of the roof.

The application of a sealant ensures that the shingles remain firmly in place, even in high winds. It also helps prevent the shingles from lifting or being blown off the roof during storms. The sealant’s adhesive properties create a cohesive unit, making the roof more resistant to damage caused by extreme weather conditions.

Thermally-activated asphalt sealants bond shingles for a secure and watertight seal
Prevents leaks and prolongs the lifespan of the roof
Keeps shingles in place even in high winds
-*Protects against storm damage by preventing shingles from lifting or being blown off

Other Roofing Materials

In addition to the above-mentioned components, there are various other roofing materials used in the construction industry. These materials offer different benefits and aesthetics, catering to diverse architectural styles and preferences.

  • Clay tiles, made from clay, are known for their durability, aesthetics, and ability to withstand harsh weather conditions.
  • Metal roofing is favored for its longevity, energy efficiency, and low maintenance requirements.
  • Asphalt shingles, as mentioned earlier, are versatile and cost-effective.
  • Cedar shakes, made from split cedar logs, exude a rustic appearance and possess natural insulation properties.
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Another notable roofing material is Brava composite roofing, which is made mostly of landfill-sourced plastic. This material offers the appearance of terracotta, cedar shake, or slate roofing. It is lightweight and resistant to fire, wind, UV rays, and impact damage. Brava composite roofing comes with a generous 50-year manufacturer warranty and is also sustainable and recyclable, making it an environmentally friendly choice for homeowners.

Lastly, plastic shingles made of compressed recycled plastics and other sustainable/recyclable materials are gaining traction in the roofing industry. These shingles are lightweight, durable, and fade-resistant. Similar to Brava composite roofing, plastic shingles also come with a 50-year manufacturer warranty, ensuring longevity and peace of mind for homeowners.

In conclusion, roofing shingles are made of several key components that contribute to their strength, durability, and aesthetic appeal. Fiberglass provides reinforcement and structural stability, while asphalt offers waterproofing and heat resistance. Granules provide color and protect against UV radiation, and sealants ensure a secure and watertight seal. Additionally, there is a diverse range of roofing materials available, including clay tiles, metal, asphalt shingles, cedar shakes, Brava composite roofing, and plastic shingles, each offering unique benefits and styles to suit different architectural preferences.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What materials are commonly used to manufacture roofing shingles?

Roofing shingles are commonly made from a variety of materials. The most popular materials used for manufacturing roofing shingles include asphalt, wood, metal, clay, and slate. Asphalt shingles are the most common and affordable option, made from a fiberglass or organic base with a layer of asphalt on top. Wood shingles are often made from cedar or redwood, providing a natural and aesthetically pleasing look. Metal shingles can be made from steel, aluminum, copper, or zinc and offer enhanced durability and longevity. Clay and slate shingles are more expensive but offer a timeless, elegant appearance and excellent durability.

2. How do different types of roofing shingles vary in terms of the materials they are made from?

Different types of roofing shingles vary in terms of the materials they are made from, which affects their durability, appearance, and cost. Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used and affordable option. They are made from a fiberglass mat coated with asphalt and granules, providing good fire resistance and a wide variety of colors. On the other hand, metal shingles are made from materials such as steel, aluminum, or copper. They are known for their longevity, strength, and ability to withstand harsh weather conditions. Metal shingles can be more expensive upfront but may offer long-term cost savings due to their durability.

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Additionally, wood shingles and shakes are made from various types of wood, like cedar or redwood. They provide a natural and rustic look, while also offering good insulation and durability. Wood shingles require regular maintenance to prevent moss or rot. Finally, slate and tile shingles are typically made from natural stone or clay. They are the most expensive option but offer unmatched durability and a timeless appearance. Their weight often requires reinforcing the roof structure, but they can last for decades with minimal maintenance. Overall, the choice of roofing material depends on factors like budget, aesthetic preferences, and the level of durability desired.

3. Are there any eco-friendly options available for roofing shingles? If so, what are they made of?

Yes, there are eco-friendly options available for roofing shingles. One example is the use of recycled materials such as recycled rubber or plastic. These materials help to reduce waste and utilize resources already in circulation. Another eco-friendly option is the use of materials like wood shingles, which are natural and biodegradable. Additionally, some roofing shingles are made of reflective materials that can help reduce energy consumption by reflecting sunlight, thereby reducing the need for air conditioning. Overall, these eco-friendly options offer sustainable alternatives to traditional roofing shingles.

4. What impact do the materials used in roofing shingles have on the durability and lifespan of the roof?

The materials used in roofing shingles have a significant impact on the durability and lifespan of the roof. Different materials have varying levels of resistance to external factors such as weather, UV radiation, and impact. For example, asphalt shingles are one of the most commonly used materials, as they are cost-effective and provide decent protection against weather damage. However, they may have a shorter lifespan compared to materials like metal or slate.

Metal roofing, on the other hand, is highly durable and long-lasting. It can withstand extreme weather conditions, has excellent resistance to fire, and requires minimal maintenance. Additionally, materials like slate or clay tiles are known for their excellent durability and longevity, lasting up to a century or more. Therefore, the choice of roofing material plays a vital role in determining the durability and lifespan of the roof, with higher-quality materials generally offering greater longevity.

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