The roof is one of the home most important elements of a mobile home or any home for that matter. A healthy roof is a healthy house. These 3 common questions about mobile home roofs cover some of the most popular questions and issues for both flat roofs and pitched roofs that we’ve received over the years.
First, we cover roof rumble and what your best option is to stop it and what not to use (rumble buttons). Second, we cover a leak from an unknown origin. Finally, we cover how to best handle roofs when building a mobile home addition.
Ask a Mobile Home Expert Questions about Mobile Home Roofs and New Roofs
Are there any structural issues with putting roof trusses and a new roof on a mobile home? Did you have to provide structural calculations or anything? I heard that they are not designed to hold much weight.
Every inch of the home is designed specifically for the home’s layout starting at the chassis which is curved to balance and distribute the weight of the home perfectly. Mobile homes use lateral roof trusses that go from one side of the home to the other and rest right on top of the sidewalls.
Short story, no, you will not be able to add any additional weight to your home without beefing up its structural integrity or giving the weight its own support.
A roofing professional can inspect your home and let you know whether your idea is feasible. Chances are slim though unless you use a post and beam design like the one shown below.
In many cases, roofers install new posts right against the home every few feet to bear the load for the new roof. It allows for a new roof without adding additional stress to the home. Read more about self-supported mobile home roof overs here.
Related: Three Popular Mobile Home Roof Over Materials
Questions about Mobile Home Roofs: Whistling and Howling Sounds
I would like a solution for the whistling and howling noises when it’s windy and storming. Sounds like it will blow away. Can you help me?
You are experiencing what is called ‘roof rumble.’ Unfortunately, it happens quite a bit with flat metal roofs. Metal roofs are made with 28-gauge galvanizes steel that is usually 4-foot wide and as long as the home is wide. The least little bit of wind can find its way under these metal sheets and you get roof rumble. It can be annoying!
Leave the Tires for Under the Home
There have been many solutions and recommendations for quieting roof rumble on a mobile home. If you’ve ever seen tires sitting on top of a mobile home you’ve seen one remedy. The tires supposedly keep the wind from tunneling under the metal and also dampen the sound. This is your old school problem-solving and it can fix roof rumble but it can create much larger problems in the process. Tires are heavy and water gets in them which makes them even heavier. Standing water can also sneak under the metal and get into your ceiling and walls.
No Rumble Buttons, Please
There are screws you can use called rumble buttons but they create holes in your roof and that’s never a good idea. I don’t recommend adding holes in a roof even if you will be sealing and coating over them.
Sealing and Coating is the Best Way to Fix Roof Rumble
The best way to handle roof rumble is to stop the wind from getting under that metal. One way to do that is to seal the seams and edges and then coat the entire roof with an elastomeric roof coating. The white acrylic liquid is a popular solution. Pay particular attention to the edge of the roof.
It is recommended that you coat your mobile home’s flat roof every other year anyway.
Questions about Mobile Home Roofs: Moisture and Leaks
I bought my home in 2009. In 2013 we noticed when it rains we get moisture at the bottom of our living room, dining room, and master bath walls. The insurance adjuster said that we had flashing issues along the front of the home and said it’s the manufacturer’s issue and to call the insurance company. Unfortunately, the insurance company said this type of damage is not covered. Does anyone know how I can have this issue fixed? When it rains a heavy downpour we have moisture. Although not every time, we have had the problem a few times.
I’m sorry you are experiencing this but it’s absolutely fixable. An experienced roofer can probably find the issue in no time.
It’s probably going to be a shingle, gutter, or flashing issue that is allowing the water to travel the path of least resistance down to your floor. It could also be a window issue (assuming there is one in that location). I can’t help much without seeing the issue.
It absolutely needs to be repaired ASAP. Otherwise, you risk some even greater damage to your home. It’s one of those situations where you pay $1000 to fix it today or $5000 or more to fix it next year.
If you don’t have gutters on the home you may want to consider installing them after you have this issue repaired as it helps carry water away from the side of the house.
Related: 8 Great Mobile Home Roofing Tips – Find and Repair Leaks
Putting A Roof on My Addition
I have a question about building an addition to my single wide mobile home in Delaware. I am building a 14′ × 23′ addition onto the front side of the mobile home. The mobile home is sitting on blocks under the two main I beams. I’m not attaching the addition walls to the mobile home and the roof will extend above the mobile home roof due to trying to keep the floor level the same as the mobile home. Can the A-frame addition roof be attached to the mobile home?
How you handle the roof connection from the addition to the home is usually the trickiest part of any addition build for a manufactured home.
Using the word ‘attached’ is a bit misleading when it comes to mobile home additions because the structures must be completely self-supporting. You will be attaching/sealing the two structures but not in a way that any load bearing is affected.
To seal the addition and the mobile home a valley will be created where the home and addition meet. You will then use flashing and shingles to give the water a path to follow. Roofers use different cuts to create a valley. The valley weave and California cut are probably the most popular.
This image represents a popular roofing technique to handle a mobile home and addition that is lower than the home. Notice how weatherstripping and insulation are flashing are used to create the seal.
Related: Guide to Building Mobile Home Additions
Do you Have Questions about Mobile Home Roofs?
We hope we have been able to answer some of your questions about mobile home roofs.
If you have questions about mobile home roofs please feel free to comment below and we will see if we can find you an answer.
Check out next week’s “Ask A Mobile Home Expert” when we take a look at mobile home sub floors.
And as always, thanks so much for reading Mobile Home Living!
Disclosure: Any answers to questions posed and any recommendations or information provided herein should not be used as a substitute of an expert or any relevant professional that has inspected the issues in person.
48 thoughts on “4 Most Common Questions about Mobile Home Roofs”
Can the peak of the roof support the new bundles, if delivered and placed on the roof at delivery, as with a stick built. Or will I need to hand carry bundles up a ladder?
I replaced my mobile home roof didn’t leave any vents on top of mobile home how do I keep the smell out of my mobile home?
Hi, what is the roof lifespan for a mobile home manufacturer Champion, year 1997 please? Thank-you.
I need some advice on how to proceed. My home is a 1991 Plantation Mobile Home by Homestead Homes. My home was reroofed in 2015 and they did not put the vents back on the roof except for the kitchen and bathroom fans. As a result we started getting mildew on the den and master bath ceilings. The heat just hung in the air below the ceilings. My husband sprayed that with Kilz. The roofer came back and put a ridge vent on my doublewide. That got rid of the mildew and the hovering heat. They did not put back the turtle vents and turbine vent that was there originally as instructed. They did a terrible job and now just 6 years later, I have to get a new roof. I have roof leaks, my ceilings are cracking horizontally where they meet the ceiling and I have wavy ceilings in my vaulted ceiling rooms.
I don’t remember what kind of ventilation my roof had originally. My double wide has all rooms vaulted except for the 2 grandkids’ bedrooms and their bathroom. What kind of ventilation should I put on the roof to control damage. What kind of vents, where, and how many please. They are planning on installing the new roof the week after labor day. The contractor is not sure of what kind of ventilation to put either. He says whatever I want. I want to do what will last without issues. I read all of the HUD manual for ventilating roofs and it is so contradictory that I could not come to a conclusion. Please advise.
Thank you for your time and assistance in our very important issue.
I have an older mobile home that someone added large thick styrofoam blocks on top of the tin roof and a huge tarp like cover that covers the entire roof and snuggly fits. Put a small tarp covering the exposed styrofoam under a replacement covering can be bought. Because Recently a strong wind tore a section off. Trying to figure out what the covering is called and how and where to buy a replacement one.
Have a double wide mobile home and currently getting estimates on roof replacement. Live in rural Leon county, Florida. The last estimate said it would install a shingled over ridge vent. There is no real attic in the mobile home so not sure how it would be effective and have read that there would have to be cutting into the wood support where attached together.
What is the opinion in the mobile home community about the shingled over ridge vent system? I would love to hear. Thank you.
I am a senior who owns a mobile home in Solano County. I am looking for any resources that help low income resident get roof repair. I am desperate to get this done. Also do I need to get a permit for just a repair? The office here in the park are no help.
I appreciate your time and any info you can give me to help. I have tried Habitat for Humanity. They could not help me.
We have a great article that will help here. Best of luck!
Needing to seal a roof with a couple of slight leaks. Is it safe to walk on the roof of a 20-year-old, 14 ‘ x 70 ‘ mobile home? What would be the approximate weight capacity
You should be able to walk on your roof but be sure to step on the trusses whenever possible. Weight capacity will depend on the size of your trusses and how far apart they are (usually 16″ or 24″ with 16″ being better). Best of luck.
Regarding additional roof weight:
I had the original asphalt shingle roof on a 14×77 Schultz 20yr old manufactured home replaced professionally with a GAF lifetime roof system.
Next, solar panels professionally installed and cover 85% of the roof.
No supports or trusses added. The original supports are in place and all passed building inspections and permits.
I live in NJ and have had a few major snowfalls since. No problems.
Metal roofs seem popular now. Are they better/worse/the same for mobile homes as shingles?
Metal roofs last a long time and are more affordable. Shingles usually look better, last 25 or so years and have been used forever. I guess it’s just a personal preference.
Does anyone know where this flexible tubing looks like maybe it’s some kind of maybe fresh air inlet for my oil filtered furnace well the problem is when it rains really hard rain water starts to seep and drip from around that flexible tubing so my problem is where is that tubing other end attached. I only have that chimney pipe and the gas stove vent pipe in that area but up near the peak is a attic kind of vent need help where is the other end attached .moble home is a 1995 Redmond double wide . any ideas?
Your exhaust flue will be a vent coming out of your roof. It would probably be larger than your plumbing waste vent and right above your furnace. You can replace the entire flue and the flashing around it fairly easily and it’s usually a lot easier than trying to figure out where a leak is occurring on old the old flue or flashing. Best of luck!
I’ve never owned or lived in mobile home prior to the last three weeks. I have heard banging sounds that are sporadic. I hear it when I am out on the attached porch and I don’t hear it inside or at night. The banging made me think an animal was trapped up there Like a bird or squirrel that may have gone in vent. I went looking for holes in soffit where animals could get in and found an armadillo hole next to my AC. Trying to trap armadillo was unsuccessful So far but the banging continued. The trapper Came back and said they are isolated issues. He said that the banging was the roof and other aluminum on the Exterior walls expanding and contracting. Is this common with mobile homes? It has asphalt roof but of course aluminum siding and Attached aluminum roof over over the carport, shed, and enclosed porch.
We lived in a 1978 single wide for 7 years that had metal siding and metal roofing and I never heard banging but we were in WV and it’s not as hot as homes in areas armadillos are located. There is a thing called roof rumble but that’s not really a banging but more of a whistling creak sound. I’m sorry, I’m not sure what it could be other than a critter. Maybe another reader will be more helpful or you can join our Facebook group “Mobile Home Living: Remodels and Repairs” and ask there – that’s the best group on FB and they are very cordial and helpful. Best of luck!
the uninsulated section of metal roof thats over my screen room bangs all the time and im in florida
its not a problem and you will hear in the morning when the sun is warming up the metal causing expansion and contraction……..will do get loots of birds and occasional squirrel running across the roof but never heard of an armadillo…..its the snakes and toads getting down the plumbing vent pipes .you certain wouldnt want to go to use bathroom in middle of night and find one in or on toilet…….i cvered mine with 1/4 in. hardware cloth after a run in with atoad on my toilet seat one night
Thanks for your article. It has peaked my interest. I have a 20 year old 18×76 mobile home on a full concrete foundation. It was set up in 2000 and strapped down very well because there have never been any problems with door misalignment, or leaking tin roof problems. However, as a precaution, I am thinking of an over roof but I don’t care for the look of the posts for a self supporting roof. Would corrugated metal and center cap add to much weight?
Many newer single wides are able to handle a standard metal roof over so you shouldn’t have any problems. You may want to go ahead and do insulated metal – I hear it’s a big money saver and the weight is negligible.
Best of luck!
We have a 1972 single wide MH in Iowa. Removed bathroom and bedroom ceiling and insulation due to a faulty hot water heater that caused a lot of condensation to enter the attic space. Put in a new hot water heater, replaced several trusses and temporarily put up paper faced fiberglass insulation, but still getting condensation. Wondering what is the correct type of insulation and vapor barrier and how best to install it to keep out the condensation.
I read that the insulation needs to be in full contact with the metal roof. Looked into having someone spray 3” foam insulation then put up the ceiling. However, with the temperature requirements to apply, it is not feasible in Iowa right now. Planning on using FRP panels for the ceiling. It is a flat metal roof in the back half of the MH where the bathroom and bedrooms are.
Is the article your referring to just the one above the comments? Or is there a different link to the article?
That’s a question best left to an insulation expert as I understand the location, type of metal and seams, and width between trusses are all factors. You do need insulation in your ceiling/roof (or both). There are foam insulations used under certain metal roofing but, again, the type of metal roofing used and the type of insulation will vary. Here’s our article about insulation that may help.
I would recommend a ceiling fan be installed in all bathrooms, especially in mobile homes. They are now required as of the latest HUD code so that tells you how important they are.
Best of luck!
If you scroll over the two articles mentioned in the comment and click it will take you to the articles.
Don’t feel bad Jane. I was looking at the sentence “this article” and it took me some time to roll over the words and see that they changed to a nice shade of pink. Crystal, maybe your hyperlink text could have a little more contrast from the body text?
THANK YOU for these answers, Crystal! This site is amazing. I love it that you give us the goods without having to fork over $$$ for it.
Ive lived in my single wide 20 years put a new roof on built a foundation wall.
2×6 swapped the exterior walls .
Adjustable legs from foundation to support my new heavy roof.
The heavy roof was crushing my house so much the plumbing broke.
Now im trying to deal with roof sweat.
I put insulation on top of my original metal roof . Should i vent my original roof to my new so called attic or will that make more cold air in there to sweat. Im not a engineer.
Yes, you will need to figure out a way to vent the original ‘roof’ to allow air circulation. Our mobile homes are often too heavy to handle new roofs which is why we need to use the post and beam building method to give the roof its own footers and to distribute the weight down to the ground. There are several different ways to vent a home but you’ll probably want to get a couple of estimates to figure out what the best method for your particular build.
Best of luck!
Hello, we had our roof replaced several years ago. I’ve noticed within the past year where the seam of the home comes together there is streaks down the wall. When I touch the steaks drips it’s sticky. I’m assuming it’s roofing tar. What should we do?
I’m not a roofer but it sounds like you’ve got a leak around the ridge of your roof. It could be a damaged ridge cap if you have one. Can you get someone to inspect it for you?
I have a 1984 mobile home with a 4′ x 6′ hardboard sheath (Masonite) siding. I am looking at replacing the exterior sheathing on an end wall and part of a side wall with a similar more updated 4′ x 8′ product (also referred to as Masonite, I believe, but engineered differently today). My worry is getting a durable, water tight fit where the roof and side meet. I have a metal roof (slightly bowed from center to the sides) with a little “J” drip channel at the edge where the roof and side meet. There is no over hanging soffit. How is this done effectively? Thank you.
The J-channel is really the only thing that helps keep water away from the siding, doors, and windows with a flat roof. Of course, the roof is also designed in a way to divert the water. The J-channels are a bit more effective than you’d think but ideally, a gutter, or even better, an eave would work best (especially if you are spending all that money on the new siding). I’ve seen new flatter gutter designs that look pretty cool and create the look of a true eave and doesn’t cause too much damage to install (just uses hangers like a regular gutter). If you don’t have a lot of trees or debris hitting your home it could maybe work for you.
With the new metal benders, I’m sure you could come up with a design that would work and add to the look of the home. Best of luck!
I have just about every post on every website regarding the roof and side walls of a singlewide. I have a 1997 Oakwood 14×70 with a pitched seamed metal roof and metal siding. I plan to replace the roof with a metal roof and possibly increasing the pitch during the process. I plan to remove the existing metal to get rid of some weight and also add insulation while it is open. I also plan on removing the existing metal siding and replace with fiber cement and/or vinyl. Also will be adding additional insulation while the walls are open, replacing all windows and doors. What I find is A LOT of conflicting pictures and information. How are some of these adding trusses OR building rafter roof over the existing roof that is supported by the MH only?! Also, how are they adding fiber cement siding? In all the pictures and all the information I have read, I can only find the “you many need to support the outside walls” BUT NO ONE states how to do this. The home will never be moved again and is on piers that are set below frost. I don’t trust some “roof” installer to accurately tell me what type of roof I can install because they are going to put on what they know how regardless if it will cause me issues in the future. What I had planned to do, is run 2×6’s perpendicular to the floor joists just behind the rim joists and support this every 6 ft or so with a 4×4 post that will also be set below frost. this will run down both lengths of the MH. I don’t believe I would need to do this on the ends since there is a steel beam running the length of each. If you know of any post that explains how someone has done this, I would greatly appreciate any information on where to find it. I plan to redo the water lines, seal the heat ducts and re-insulate the belly. Then the inside will be remodeled. I know this is a lot to put into it but in the end it will just as strong as a stick built – I hope. BTW, its in WV 🙂
I know exactly what your mean about all the conflicting information. I’ve dealt with the same thing for 7 years since starting this site. I’m just a plumber’s assistant so I have to research extensively whenever I write articles about roofing and other framing topics. I get conflicting info every time!
Assuming I understood the professional’s complex explanations, I’ll try to help! I understand that they use a few different formulas to calculate the home’s ability to hold and transfer weight using the stud and joist size, how far apart they are, roof truss size and placement, new roofing material’s weight, and your outrigger placement (do they go to the edge of the home?). Taking all that info and inputting it into a math formula will determine how much weight per square foot your home can safely hold. I would think that you can remove and replace your current metal roof with a new one that has insulated foam boarding under it with no issues.
You would use the same info to see if the home can handle the weight of heavy siding. I was told framing simply transfers the load/weight down to the ground so your plan seems sound. I always assumed that when they said the walls would need to be reinforced it meant beefing up the studs (adding double headers/ king studs) and giving the perimeter walls a way to transfer the weight down to the ground via a foundation/perimeter wall.
I would def bring in a couple of roofing and siding pros and see what they say. Most will gladly give a free estimate. It def sounds like you know what you’re doing – if you don’t mind please take lots of photos, I’d love to share your home (I’m especially partial to WV homes..lol).
Hope I helped a bit, Best of luck!
I have a 2014 manufactured home. I ordered it and foolishly got a black asphalt tile roof. I am in Southern California, inland and the house is miserable from June through September. Our electric bills average $400 per month. I have been reading up on getting the roof painted. The roof is fine, no leaks but I want to change it from black tiles to white or light gray. We already had the house painted from a Cape Cod Blue to a very light gray and that alone has helped a little but having a black room in the blazing sun is the dumbest thing I have ever done. Any ideas?
Before you do all that you may want to look into having insulation blown in above your ceiling. I read that there was only a 10-15% difference in heat absorption between black and white reflective roofing. You have the better material you just need to help it a bit. I think the insulation will do you a ton more good than paying for a new roof when it doesn’t need to be replaced due to age or leaking.
Another idea is to make sure you have sufficient ventilation for your roof. Giving the hot air a place to go helps a lot. Another big help is planting some trees (already mature). They cost a bit, I know, but they help you. A friend of mine planted 12′ tall trees (mainly for looks) but ended up saving a 20% on her cooling costs within 2 years so I’ve been a believer ever since.
Best of luck!
I was putting a new coating on the roof of a presently vacant mobile home and saw what appears to be a hole in the peak of the roof. While there doesn’t seem to be any corresponding water damage inside I would really like to get the hole patched. Will the roof (gabled) support my 280 pounds or should I hunt up somebody lighter?
Could that be a ridge cap installed for proper ventilation? As far as weight goes, you should be OK as long as you stay on the trusses and don’t walk in between them.
I am looking at some older mobile homes to turn into my retirement cottage. I have remodelled a number of houses in the past. I am curious about replacing a roof, including a couple of skylights and installing solar panels. any info would be helpful.
Most of the homes I have seen have a fairly flat or slightly sloped roof. I would hope to have more a slope and hope to create a vaulted ceiling.
Would love to hear some experiences in this.
I have a little retirement dream that’s really similar! I’ll be honest, you’ll need to be careful with this plan. Skylights and mobile homes never make a cute couple. There’s always a leak eventually and when you start modifying your ceiling and roof you’re looking at a lot of money. It’s because mobile homes structure integrity is created ‘roof down’ so when you start changing it you need to replace the exterior wall’s structural integrity (I don’t really know how to word it). Basically, vaulted ceilings need to be factory-built. Fortunately, there are a lot of models out there with vaulted and cathedral ceilings so you should be able to find what you want. I’ve done a bit of reading on the skylights and as long as you caulk the screws that you use to install the panels you should be fine. Maybe you could build an addition and incorporate a vaulted ceiling, skylight and the panels on the addition? Best of luck!
I put additional screws on my metal mobile home roof. I read this was a bad idea, its already done now what shall I do. Shall I put more sealant on the screws
It is a bad idea but no worries! You can seal it up with a good waterproof caulk/sealant that works on metal. Use a sharp edge to feather the product out and to create a smooth bond. You’ll want to keep an eye out just to make sure nothing is leaking. A patch would probably help but I’m not 100% sure about that (it would probably be a good idea when you reseal your whole roof again). Thanks for reading!
PS- I forgot to mention that we were sealing the roof yearly until we could get the new roof with the product you recommended too!
Help! I have a 1982 ” Minuteman Mobile Home” with a flat roof. We were saving $ to have a new metal roof put on since we noticed no gutters and clearly water rot from no sheathing over the woidows and back door.
However, fate had other plans and we had a major water leak un be known to us until we got our electic bill. It was Sept in New England and the bill was from August, (we had noticed our air conditioning seemed to be having a herd time keeping up in August) but then we had the electitric co check and the kilowatts were right and told my husband we probably had a hot water pipe leak under the house, he checked and BOY did we ever! He immediately shut off the MAIN, and we called the insurance co, who was no help, they made it worse, for us anyway. Thankfully we finally got a plumber to fix the leak and was it def. was coming from the hot water, therefore increased electric bill (that stretched 2 pay periods) for a $528.00 total just for electric! but answered the increase in the humidity and more air, but, after 30 days the entire particle board cabinets, counter, sink everything, including the flooring and carpeting going into LR and the hallway to bathroom subflooring was rotting out. I just wanted to run and fast! Trying to get someone to work on mobile homes is a nightmare in New England, NOBODY wants to crawl under a dirty mobile home over 30 years old. We spent well over borrowed $32,000 dollars just on the inside subfloors, walls counters, floors etc… to Still have to put in an $8,000.00 metal roof! There are no gutters and I just KNOW if we don’t get this done ASAP, this place will collapse on us not to mention the remodelling we HAD NO CHOICE to do costus everything, the insurance co, gave uo 6,000.00 and said NOT A Penny more! Any suggestions??????
I’m so sorry you have gone through all this. Water is the most damaging force on earth and is a nightmare for homes. It sounds like you’ve done everything right: you found the leak, repaired it, and then tackled the issues it caused.
Your home has stood strong for 35 years so it should have no problem going a little while longer! I know one family that had buckets sitting on their living floor and over time they had the roof replaced, repaired the rotted wood and replaced the ceiling. It looks as if nothing ever happened now!
Take a deep breath and tackle one day at a time. It’s apparent you love and care for your home and that is the most important thing a home needs.
Best of luck! Please let me know how it all goes for you.
What We have a 1978 mobile home, 12×68, with a full 12×68 addition. Every winter we have issues with water leaking into different areas. Most of the water comes in along the outside walls. The water leaks in through the window frames as well as coming out along the base of the walls where there are no windows.
We have put tarps over the whole roof and we keep the roof shoveled yet we continue to have the same water problems. I have been arguing that it must be a condensation issue since we don’t have water entering the home when it rains. Not even if it rains for days.
What are your thoughts on this and what solutions can you offer us? also is there a way that we could put a whirly gig in the existing ceiling/roof?
your suggestions are eagerly awaited
Since I don’t know if you have a flat roof or a pitched I’ll try to answer for both. I think you may have a caulking or sealant issue in a valley or your eaves need to be redesigned. If your roof is flat it is absolutely time to reseal the entire roof after the leaks have been repaired. Since rain slides off quickly it doesn’t have enough time to get into the crevices but snow sits on it and melts slowly. I don’t think condensation is your problem because you would likely see ceiling stains long before you saw leaks going down your walls.
Removing and recaulking every crack and crevice on the entire roof would be my first step. Then, I’d be replacing shingles and felt that looked bad (assuming you have a pitched roof). Since your home is almost 40 years old, it is time for a new roof if it hasn’t had one yet.
So, probably not condensation but leaks due to old and cracked caulking or your eaves need repaired. If you haven’t had a new roof on the home it’s time for one regardless if it’s flat or pitched. Sorry to be the bearer of expensive news! Best of luck!
Hi we are hearing noises in the roof. Without an attic how can we check what is the cause? What are some of our options? Thank you.
What kind of noises? If it’s an animal, you’ll want to find out where they were able to get in (vents, pipes, even ridge caps are possible). Otherwise, I would open a small hole in a closet and stick a phone with a light and camera and move it around. You may have to do it on both ends. I’d keep the hole as small as possible or as large as possible in case you need that ceiling panel for repair later down the road. You can use regular drywall to cover the hole and still have the piece of the ceiling for ‘just in case.’
Also, make it could be from your HVAC and the noise is just bouncing around to seem like it’s in the ceiling. Best of luck! Let me know how it goes.