Asphalt Shingles In Colorado: The Sturdy Tech We Take for Granted
Asphalt continues to be one of the most popular choices for roofing materials, especially in places like Colorado where rooftops must endure intense heat, sun, hail, and wind. Asphalt shingles are exceptionally durable, easy to install, and relatively inexpensive. Their construction also lends itself to a variety of colors and styles.
What Is Asphalt?
An asphalt is actually a viscous form of petroleum. It is an end-product in the oil-refining process and has. In roofing, its main function is to provide a water-resistant feature to shingles. Roofing asphalt is processed at a higher temperature than, say, road asphalt, which gives it an added degree of durability.
How Are Asphalt Shingles Made?
There are five main steps in the construction of standard asphalt shingles.
Manufacturers of asphalt shingles start with a layer of fiberglass. Glass fibers of a specific length and diameter are bound together with resins and chemical binders and laid out in one continuous sheet. This provides the foundation for the asphalt and granule materials.
The asphalt is then oxidized by blowing air through it while hot. This is actually a delicate process, as the volume of air must be precisely controlled. Too much air can result in brittle shingles that are prone to chipping and cracking. Too little air and the shingles can become soft and lose their scuff-resistance, especially if installed in hot weather.
Following oxidation, the asphalt is mixed with a mineral powder to add durability and meet fire-resistance requirements.
Hard rock is crushed into granular sizing specifications and then applied to the top and bottom of the shingle. On the underside of the shingle, which will not be seen, it is applied in its natural state. But the exposed rock can be processed in a variety of colors using ceramic firing techniques. 3M, for example, produces a wide range of color granules that are also nonporous and UV resistant.
Spots of heat-activated asphalt sealant are then applied to either the top or bottom of the shingles in order to help them stick together on your roof. This is often done in conjunction with a laminating process. Most asphalt shingles today are multi-layered, so a bonding material called “laminant” is used to glue the layers together. The laminant is designed to activate at a specific temperature to withstand the installation process and general wear-and-tear.
Fun fact: the top layer of a laminated shingle is called a “dragon tooth” since it resembles an oversized tooth.
Storing shingles would be nearly impossible if not for this step! The release film keeps the shingles from sticking together in the package if they are exposed to the temperatures needed to activate that asphalt sealant. It resembles a plastic tape or backing and is typically applied to the back of the shingle. It remains on the shingle after it is installed but, at that point, has no further effect on the sealant.
How does J&K Roofing Use Asphalt Shingles?
At J&K Roofing, our roofers are certified in every material we use. We partner with several outstanding companies that manufacture the highest quality asphalt shingles. Malarkey, for example, has a line of laminated shingles with unique features ranging from algae-resistance to sustainable* asphalt. Owens Corning produces Class 4 impact-resistant shingles designed to withstand Colorado’s harsh storm season. Their innovative technology involves rubberizing the asphalt and/or reinforcing the shingle with polymer mesh. Both allow the shingle to resist damage from the golf ball-sized hail we often get here in Colorado!
*It is worth noting that, although asphalt can be manufactured sustainably, asphalt shingles themselves are not recyclable in the state of Colorado. In the past, many companies posed as recycling facilities and then simply abandoned thousands of tons of shingles at undesignated landfill sites. So please be wary of any company claiming to recycle this material-it is not permitted in Colorado!
J&K Roofing services the Denver Metro, Front Range, Colorado Springs, and Ft. Collins areas. Give us a call to schedule your free roof inspection and discuss available options for updating your asphalt shingles!