What are Asphalt Shingles Made Of?

Using roofing materials is an essential aspect of any construction project, and among the most favored options are asphalt shingles. These materials have garnered immense popularity for their cost-effectiveness, longevity, and visually pleasing appearance. However, have you ever contemplated the precise composition of asphalt shingles? This guide will explore the composition of asphalt shingles and how to extend their lifespan. These roofing materials are primarily crafted from a fiberglass or organic mat base, coated with asphalt, and embedded with ceramic granules. By understanding the materials that make up asphalt shingles, we can gain insight into their essential characteristics and why they are a preferred option for countless homeowners.

What Materials Are Used to Make Asphalt Shingles?

Asphalt shingles are primarily made of the following materials:

Fiberglass Mat

The base layer of asphalt shingles is typically constructed using a fiberglass mat, which serves as a crucial component of their composition. The construction of the fiberglass mat entails the careful interlacing of thin glass fibers firmly fused into a cohesive unit. This process creates a solid and resilient material that forms the foundation of the shingle.

The fiberglass mat offers several advantages. It offers remarkable tensile resilience, empowering the shingles to endure the impact of wind, hail, and other irrelevant variables quickly and proficiently. This durability helps protect the underlying structure of the roof and enhances the overall longevity of the roofing system.


An essential component of asphalt shingles is the application of asphalt itself. This viscous, sticky substance is crucial in providing a waterproof barrier, safeguarding the roof and underlying layers from potential moisture damage.

When applied to the surface of the shingles, asphalt acts as a protective shield against water infiltration. The water-resistant attributes of this product are of utmost importance as they effectively mitigate the risk of water infiltration caused by rainwater, snowfall, and other precipitation forms, safeguarding the roof’s structural integrity. By forming a waterproof layer, asphalt helps keep the interior dry. It protects against s potential leaks that could lead to structural damage, mold growth, or the deterioration of insulation materials.

Furthermore, asphalt contributes to the overall strength and durability of the shingles. It enhances their resistance to the elements, such as wind, hail, and UV radiation. The presence of asphalt also provides flexibility, allowing the shingles to adapt and move with the natural expansion and contraction of the roof due to temperature changes. This flexibility helps to prevent cracking, splitting, or warping of the shingles over time.

Ceramic Granules

Another essential element of asphalt shingles is the incorporation of ceramic granules on their surface. These small, colored particles are embedded into the asphalt coating and play various essential roles in the functionality and aesthetics of the shingles.

One of the primary functions of ceramic granules is to provide UV protection. The tiny particles safeguard against the detrimental effects of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. By reflecting sunlight, they mitigate the absorption of heat, which could otherwise lead to the gradual decay of shingles over time. By protecting against UV radiation, the ceramic granules enhance the lifespan of the shingles and maintain their overall performance, allowing them to withstand prolonged exposure to the sun without significant degradation.

Additionally, ceramic granules contribute to the visual appeal of asphalt shingles. They come in a wide range of colors, allowing homeowners to choose the desired aesthetic for their roofs. The granules add depth, texture, and dimension to the shingles, making them more visually appealing and attractive. This versatility in color and texture options enables homeowners to match their roofing with their homes’ overall style and architecture.

Fillers and Binders

Fillers and binders significantly enhance the performance, durability, and flexibility of asphalt shingles. These materials are added to the asphalt mixture during the manufacturing process to improve the overall quality and characteristics of the shingles.

Fillers, such as limestone, fiberglass particles, or recycled materials, are incorporated to enhance the strength and stability of the asphalt mixture. They help to reinforce the shingles, making them more resistant to impacts and reducing the risk of cracking or breaking. Fillers also contribute to the dimensional stability of the shingles, preventing them from warping or distorting under different weather conditions.

Binders, such as polymers or modified bitumen, are added to the asphalt mixture to enhance its adhesive properties. These binders improve the cohesion between the different layers of the shingles, ensuring they remain firmly intact and resist delamination over time. By increasing the adhesive strength, binders contribute to the overall durability and longevity of the shingles.

Notably, organic shingles are also an option, utilizing a base material sourced from cellulose fibers, such as recycled paper or wood, instead of fiberglass. The rest of the composition, including the asphalt coating and ceramic granules, remains similar. The choice between fiberglass and organic shingles depends on budget, climate, and personal preference.

How to Extend the Lifespan of the Asphalt Shingles?

  • Regular Inspections: Conduct regular visual inspections of your roof to identify any signs of damage or deterioration. Look for missing, cracked, or curling shingles and signs of leaks or moisture intrusion.
  • Clear Debris: Keep your roof free from debris such as leaves, branches, and dirt. Accumulated debris can trap moisture and accelerate the deterioration of shingles.
  • Proper Ventilation: Ensure that your attic and roof have proper ventilation to prevent heat and moisture buildup. Adequate ventilation helps prolong the lifespan of shingles by reducing excessive heat and minimizing the risk of moisture-related damage.
  • Prompt Repairs: If you notice any damage or issues with your asphalt shingles, address them promptly. Replace damaged shingles, repair flashing, and fix leaks to prevent further deterioration and potential water damage.
  • Professional Maintenance: Consider hiring a professional roofing contractor to perform regular maintenance, inspections, and repairs. They have the expertise to identify and address potential problems before they worsen.


Asphalt shingles are made of a fiberglass or organic mat base coated with asphalt and embedded with ceramic granules. This composition combines strength, waterproofing properties, and aesthetic appeal. The fiberglass or organic base provides stability, while the asphalt layer offers protection against moisture. The ceramic granules add UV protection and enhance the shingles’ appearance. These materials make asphalt shingles popular for residential roofing due to their durability, versatility, and affordability.

Water Damage and Roofing of Cedar Park
305 Spanish Mustang Dr
Cedar Park, TX 78613, United States