Mobile Home Roofs – Introduction

Manufactured home roofs

Everyone who lives in a mobile home for any length of time has to deal with the roof. Your roof has a tough life and lives in a harsh environment. The sun with its ultraviolet light beats down, the temperature changes from hot to cold quickly and frequently, wind makes metal flex and fatigue and shingles break loose, rain water runs through the smallest holes, ice dams back water up under shingles. It’s no wonder roof problems are common.

No one likes those ugly stains that appear in your ceiling when the roof leaks! However, that will probably be your first indication there is something wrong with the roof. When you see the stains you know you can no longer put off roof work. You will either have to find someone to do the repair or learn to do it yourself. Even if you plan to hire someone you owe it to yourself to learn something about the process so you don’t get sold overpriced snake oil! There is an old joke in the contractor business about what the first three letters of “contractor” spell …

{ 29 comments… read them below }
mark heglund
I own a 1959 single wide spacemaker mobile home that I use a summer lake home. The roof has leaked through to the inside and has caused some ceiling damage. It is a tar roof and has been coated several times with a white sealant but there are several small cracks. Can I easily apply a better sealant or should the roof be re-tarred or other choice?
Paul
Take a look at a product called Peel and Seal. It’s expensive but might work well in your situation. It is a heavy rubberized, aluminum coated self stick material made for repairs like this. I have had good luck with it in some cases. Make sure the surface you place it on is clean and dry. Here is a link to a vendor I know will treat you right.

Brittany
okay I need a new roof but I no longer want anything to do with a rubber roof, is there a possibility of a roofer to make a pitch on my 1972 mobile home and put an architectural roof on instead?and if so would it be expensive?
Paul
I haven’t tried this myself but you might find this article interesting.

Billy Rogers
I have a 1996 16X73 single wide mobile home with a shingled roof. I noticed over the last two years that one or two of my walls in different places have water damage. It appears that water is getting in around the edge of the roof a leaking inside the walls. I have tore out a couple of the walls from the inside and removed the old rotted studs and insulation and re-framed and repaired the walls, but now Ive found another on on the opposite side of the house. I have no outward signs of damage or leaks from out side or inside other than the Sheetrock in the damaged ares being soft and mushy to the touch. Where is the water coming from. All my shingles are in place and not discolored or anything. I have Vinyl sideing and have had problems in the past around my doors and windows because they were not chalked correctly allowing water in so I fixed that. I’m starting to wander if where the roof meets the sideing is leaking allowing water to rune under it. If I put eve metal under the edge of my shingles will that shed the water away from the wall. As it is now there is no eve metal anywhere on the house the singles come flush to the side of the house with no overhang at all allowing the water to run right down the sides.
Paul
That sounds like a good plan to me.

James
I have a 1967 14+70 single. For some reason some idiot thought it was a good idea to lay vinyl over existing metal siding. Got a gap in between the two. Before I spend a grand on plywood and flat insulation. Any product or idea i should use to overlay the top and gap to stop getting water in between and or down the side of the home????
Paul
People do amazing things. I am not sure I understand exactly what kind of gap you are dealing with. Would a Z strip do you any good? Home Depot or Lowes will have a metal strip, shaped like a Z when looked at from the end, that can be slid under the top siding and cover the gap. (Maybe)

Annette
We need to replace our shingled roof on our double-wide. We are considering replacing it with a metal roof. Your thoughts/recommendations on this idea would be appreciated.
Paul
I think they make a lot of sense and look nice too.

Tina
We need to replace our roof which is now shingles on our double-wide. We want to replace with metal but we have been told that if you put metal over the shingles that it would be to much weight and that the the roof could collapse. Is this true?
Paul
The rule I have seen is that you can not put on a second layer of asphalt shingles. I don’t see how a metal roof would add enough weight to make any difference.
If you live in country where heavy snow loads happen it might be worth scraping off the old shingles. That would actually increase the ability of the roof to handle an exceptional snow load.

Judy
Someone told me this weedend that if we put elastomeric coating on the roof of our 1960 mobile home that there might be a problem with condensation on the ceiling inside. Any thoughts or knowledge?
Paul
Condensation would happen if the roof metal was colder than the air in the space under it. I am having a hard time thinking of any way that a coating would cause that. Of course I live in New Mexico and condensation isn’t something I had to deal with.

Kristin
We live in a 1989 manufactured home, when we moved in we knew the roof was going to need to be replaced but since we moved in we have found A LOT of things the previous owner covered up, for example he “fixed” the windows so we couldn’t tell how bad they leaked and we have discovered four places where the walls have rotted. Is it going to be worth replacing the roof at this point or call it a day and take this as a loss?
Paul
I’m afraid the answers to these questions is going to require an actual inspection by an experienced mobile home appraiser. It might also be worth talking with a lawyer to make sure you know exactly what the consequences of “taking this as a loss” might be.

Ken
We are buying a new singlewide and the shingles stop flush with the sideing. Will this cause trouble? Is this a known bad design? Should I put a metal roof on right out of the box to avoid water damage? Thanks.
Paul
They are all built to HUD specifications so it should be fine. Where I live it means there isn’t an easy surface for the wind to cause damage.

lisa
I have a rental mobile home and it is leaking, it is snowing and crappy where I am located, is there any suggestions on how to stop the leak? I realize the roof coatings all need to be applied to warm and dry areas, but is there something I can do for cold/wet weather applications?
Paul
I got spoiled because in New Mexico you can always count on the sun coming out to melt the snow and dry the roof in a few days.
Any readers with personal experience using products that work in this situation? I’d love to hear from you.

Jim
We are thinking of purchasing a 1998 28X48 manufactured home.
Our thought is to move it to where we would have to have a snow load roof of 100 lbs. per sq. in.. It only has a snow load of 30 lbs. now. Is there a way to add a new roof with the 100 lbs. we need?
Thanks
Paul
The correct answer to a question like that would require a structural engineer, which I am not.
What I can say is the mobile home factory I worked at for a while had two engineers on staff. Their mission was to make certain the homes met, BUT DID NOT EXCEED the HUD standards. Unlike site build homes, mobile homes are not overbuilt. I don’t advise anything that adds or shifts loads.
My “competitor” at MobileHomeRepair.com used to have an article about how to do a roof-over. His design kept all the weight on posts around the mobile & added nothing to the home itself. I never tried it, but it looked like a reasonable approach.

Beth
I am considering the purchase of a 1974 double-wide that has roof issues. It is a Fannie Mae property and the roof was never shoveled during our record high snow season this year. It has cause the ceiling to bow. Is this repairable in your opinion….or should I walk away?
Paul
I think you can do better. I would not care for the risk of hidden damage on a home that old.

Carolina
I have a 2000 14×80 and when to wind gust >20mph the aluminum roof with ripple and sounds horrific. I put silver tar on it last summer. Can I use roof screws to prevent it from happening. I cant afford to replace it at this time, I just need to buy myself a couple years for savings.
Paul
Do a search online for Rumble Buttons
Paul

Michelle
I have a 1996 single wide with the rolled metal roof that would make horrible noise during anykind of high winds. I had 3 coats of roof sealant and that was enough to weigh it down and stop the rumbles…. Also helped the AC a lot!

Michelle Thompson
My son just purchased an older single wide. He wants to put on a metal roof with an overhang. The roof is sagging a little. How can he add the metal to the existing roof and fix the sagging without adding trusses?
Paul
Hi Michelle,
The best idea I have seen is at http://mobilehomerepair.com/article7.php
He will need to get into the ceiling to check out the cause of the sagging.

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