If you own an older mobile home with a flat roof, chances are you will need to replace the roof sooner rather than later. In this article, we will help you understand self-supported mobile home roof over designs and share examples of how other mobile homeowners are giving their homes a longer lifespan, better energy efficiency, and a more modern look with a new roof over.
Though building a pitched roof over a flat mobile home roof is more expensive than replacing the material, a self-supporting roof over can dramatically increase the curb appeal, function, and energy efficiency of your mobile home.
4 Types of Mobile Home Roof Trusses: Bowstring, Slope, Half Slope, and Flat
Before we continue, we need to cover a few basics about mobile home roof overs. First, there are three common types of
Bowstring trusses are a dome shape. Most mobile homes will have bowstring trusses made with 2×2 or 2x3s. Structurally, they cannot withstand a lot of weight.
A flat mobile home roof comes from flat rafters or trusses. Flat or bowstring roof designs were often used in manufactured home construction until the mid-1980s.
A half truss is used on double wides and means what it says, it’s only half a truss. When a double wide is married together it forms a full truss that slopes down each side.
Standard slope trusses are the pitched roofs we see on modern single wides. They have a high mid-point and slope down each side.
For over 3 decades, pitched roofs have been the most common manufactured home roof design. All of the truss designs are usually placed every 16″ or 24″ on center.
More expensive manufactured home will have better framing and a shorter distance between the roof trusses.
Can Your Home Carry the Load of a New Roof Over?
Before you can add a new mobile home roof over your home you’ll need to ensure the home’s structure can withstand the weight of a new roof.
Homes with flat roofs of bowstring trusses pose a problem because they are not strong enough to withstand the weight of a new roof.
A professional roofer will use exact measurements from the home’s construction along with framing and truss dimensions to calculate the type of roof over will work best. They must account for both dead and live loads to ensure the new roof won’t be too heavy for the home’s framing to bear.
In cases where the home simply cannot withstand the weight, the best option is to create a self-supporting mobile home roof over.
Self-Supporting Mobile Home Roof Overs
If your home is older or made with smaller lumber it may not be able to bear the weight of the new roof, requiring post and beam framing that carries the weight down to the ground. This isn’t difficult but it does add more cost.
To give a mobile home with a flat roof better protection, more energy efficiency, and a more modern appearance many homeowners chose a gabled roof over design, also known as pitched. These gabled roofs can be covered with asphalt shingles or metal panels – the weight doesn’t matter if the roof over has it’s own self-supporting frame.
No other modification can completely change the look of a mobile home like a self-supporting roof over
Installing a self-supporting mobile home roof over is only recommended for homeowners that own the land their home sits on. There’s no sense in spending money on a self-supporting roof over if someone else owns the land or you plan on moving in the future.
Examples of Self-Supporting Mobile Home Roof Over Designs
If the home’s construction cannot withstand the weight of a new roof it will need to be designed as a self-supporting roof over, meaning its weight will be held by its own footers, via post and beam
A self-supporting mobile home roof over design means it has its own legs or posts to stand on. The home itself will bear none of the new roof’s weight.
Lean-to Design Used on Self-Supporting Roof Over
Notice the posts every few feet running down the side of the home? The posts hold and distribute the weight of a new lean-to roof design.
After the framing was finished and the new metal roof was installed, new siding was installed and painted blue. The taller roof makes this small mobile home appear much larger than it really is.
The posts spaced every few feet around the perimeter of the home, called perimeter footings and piers, are placed at least every 8-10
Pole Barn Design on Self-Supporting Roof Over
This next example of a self-supporting mobile home roof over is popular because it is used on barns and sheds far more than on mobile homes.
Your Mobile Home Energy and Repair Guide defines a roof over, or Ramada roof, as a new site-built roof that is installed above a mobile home that has its own supports like a pole barn:
Roof overs should be self-supporting like pole barns. In fact, many roof overs are just small pole barns over top the mobile home.Your Mobile Home Energy and Repair Guide
Building a Self Supporting Mobile Home Roof Over
The following shows the building process of a self-supporting mobile home roof over.
This build was found in a forum for Chevrolet fans, the poster owns a single wide mobile home on Lake Eufaula in eastern Oklahoma with large decks on the front.
Summers were too hot to sit on the decks since there was no shade and if it rained there was nowhere to sit outside. He wanted to cover both decks but did not want to attach them to the mobile home in any way. He used Google SketchUp to develop the plan for the roof over:
Phase 1: Planning the Mobile Home Roof Over
Once the plan was created he ordered $3000 worth of 6x6s and 5×5 posts and began installing the posts around the home and the decks.
Phase 2: Posts Installed Around the Mobile Home
The homeowner replaced damaged and old decking while installing posts.
The homeowner says installing the four inner post was the hardest job because there were cemented footers already in place for the decking. Integrating new posts into the existing decks was also time-consuming and required a great deal of work however, the decks are much stronger.
Phase 3: Installing the Railing on the Decks
Phase 3: Cutting the Posts to Proper Height and Adding the 2×8 Headers
After the posts were set and the railings were installed, it was time to cut the posts to the proper
For the posts on the front and back of the home the headers were doubled up and placed on the notched posts for proper load bearing. Here’s a closeup:
Phase 4: Installing the Short Wall Over the Headers
Temporary braces were installed to help keep the short wall in place until the trusses arrived.
Phase 5: Installing the Trusses
Once the trusses arrived it was time to get them on the roof. Since there were only two people the homeowner used a slide and hoist system to get the trusses up safely:
The trusses are placed on the roof and ready to be installed.
The trusses have been placed as well as the purlins.
Truss ties were installed:
The trusses are installed and now the rafters will need to be installed for the deck roof.
Phase 6: Installing Rafters Over the Decks
Phase 7: Metal Roofing Installed
The homeowner ordered 3800 pounds of 26 gauge metal in 12′ panels to place over the trusses and rafters of the home. Roof decking and insulation were not installed.
Many homeowners opt to add insulation under their new metal roof. Perhaps the homeowner plans to add foam board insulation in the future? Still, with the new roof over and metal, the homeowner will save on heating and cooling costs, give the home a longer life span, and create a whole new look for the lake home.
Phase 8: Ridge Cap, Side Wall, and Soffit
Best Roofing Materials for Self-Supported Mobile Home Roof Overs
We’ve previously discussed the 3 most popular roof over materials here: metal, shingle, and TPO here. There are a couple more materials, like EPDM and standing seam metal roofing that are used on mobile homes of all makes and models. The best materials for self-supporting mobile home roofs are shingles and metal.
Shingle Mobile Home Roofs
For those that want the look of a real shingle roof, as well as for mobile homes that have a higher pitch or gables, there
Shingle roofs come in a few different options and styles for roof overs, as well as several different colors and textures. The main benefit to this style of roof over is the appearance, as the shingles can dramatically improve the curb appeal of your property. Installing shingles is typically more costly than a TPO roof, but can improve the value of your home helping you recoup the total costs.
Another benefit of installing a new roof on your mobile home is the insulation that goes with it.
Metal Mobile Home Roofs
There are a couple of different metal roofing systems used on mobile home roof overs. The old metal roofing found on bowstring shaped roof is usually a tin of sorts that is very thin. It is easily damaged. It is recommended to replace an older mobile home roof with a metal roof product that is flat or standing seamed.
If you order from an actual metal roof producer you can sometimes get thicker metal for a lot less than the metal panels at Lowe’s or Home Depot. A lot of companies offer complete metal roofing kits for a metal mobile home roof over design.
Standing Seam Metal Roof with Insulation is a Great Idea for Mobile Home Roof Overs
Metal roofs are extremely durable and can be installed on a just about any slope. They are popular because the seam where two panels meet is above the water flow which greatly reduces any opportunity for water damage.
A Chesterfield roofing company told us that metal roofs are lighter than shingles, are easier to install, and have a life expectancy of around 50 years. Metal’s durability and ease of install make it a preferred choice for roofing professionals and mobile homeowners. Insulated metal roofs are even better.
A thick layer of foam board insulation not only lowers heating and cooling costs, but it also reduces outside noise that’s so common in older mobile homes.
Metal roof overs can be put on top of any mobile home roof regardless of its current condition.
Mobile Home Roof Overs That Do Not Require Support
The following images are three examples of regular mobile home roof overs that do not require additional support. In other words, these are not self-supporting mobile home roof overs.
The first example has a great pitch and uses gutters to its advantage. Controlling water to flow exactly where you want it is always advantageous for a homeowner. The front porch roof has a lean-to design that works well with the slope of the roof. There would likely be no problems with this roof should the homeowner ever need to transport the home though it’s always better to wait till the home is permanently placed before spending money on remodeling or updating.
This next mobile home, the side panels above the walls was extended (much like the example above of the self-supporting roof over). This is done to give the home a more prominent appearance and by raising the roof altogether it helps keep the eaves and carport out of the way.
This next home has a slightly elevated side wall. This was probably done to help the roof of the addition to line up perfectly with the home’s roof and create a single site line. The edges are trimmed out beautifully in dark brown.
In this article, we’ve shared several examples of both self-supported mobile home roof overs and regular mobile home roof overs that a home’s side walls can support.
If you aren’t for sure whether your home can bear the load of a new roof, have a professional roofing expert give you a free estimate. They will inspect the home’s wall, outriggers, rim joist, and roof’s framing to determine which mobile home roof over design best fits your needs.
Also, always check with association guidelines if your home is in a park or other area where things like height or uniformity of the properties may be in question.
Do you have a unique mobile home roof over design? We’d love to hear about it or see it!
As always, thank you for reading Mobile Home Living!