Bitumen shingles

In the 1890’s, felt impregnated with asphalt was used as a building membrane in North America and, in the early 1900’s, was being marketed in strips to give the appearance of three or five pieces when laid. By the 1920’s it was the ubiquitous pitched roofing product for residential buildings. In the 1950s the felt was replaced by products which had better fire ratings and were lighter in weight and it is from this time that asphalt/bitumen shingles have been used in the UK, usually on non-dwelling constructions e.g. bus shelters, sheds, chalets etc. 

Bitumen shingles are an attractive and reliable roof covering that is lightweight and inexpensive. Nowadays the carrier membrane is made from cellulose, recycled cardboard and wood pulp. The product is supplied on large rolls and the paper is saturated in hot bitumen, which makes the paper impermeable, and then coated in asphalt. Coloured granules are then dropped onto the top surface, while talc is spread across the back to prevent the shingles from sticking together when packaged. Cooling rollers then press the granules firmly into the membrane while bringing the temperature of the material down. The material is then accurately cut to size, packaged and wrapped for shipment.

Bitumen shingles have a lifespan of 20-25 years. The classic three tab Cembrit bitumen shingle offers enhanced performance and with the option to have bold shades to suit modern architecture through to ‘natural’ hues to complement more traditional styles, bitumen shingles are ideal for chalets, sheds, outhouses and mobile homes as well as conventional dwellings.