Mobile Home Roofing Options: A Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners
If the roof on your manufactured home or mobile is showing its age, it may be time to consider repairing or even replacing your roof altogether. Of course, one of the first questions that comes to mind when repairing or replacing a roof is the cost of it all – how much does it cost to hire a professional? Or, what’s the cost of materials to get it done yourself?
While the cost of any mobile home roofing project should always be a consideration, it’s important to first take a step back and take a large-scale view of your roofing project. Always ask yourself the following questions when considering a manufactured home roof repair or replacement:
- Which roofing material is right for my mobile home?
- Can I install a roof over my current roof, or does it need to be replaced altogether?
- Should I hire a professional roofing contractor to replace or repair my roof?
Which mobile home roofing materials are right for you?
Of the many types of roofing materials suitable for mobile homes, there are four key materials that are most popular among manufactured homeowners: asphalt shingles, metal roofing, TPO (also known as TPO membranes), and rubber roofing. While no material is definitively better than the other, each material has its advantages and disadvantages that make some materials better than others for different types of manufactured homes and mobile homes.
Layering your roof with asphalt shingles is a time-tested approach. They’re among the cheapest roofing materials, they offer durability, and long-term maintenance is usually kept to a minimum.
While shingles are a popular roofing material across the country, one main drawback that’s a dealbreaker for many mobile homeowners is the lifespan. Shingles have an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years – considerably shorter than many other roofing materials used for manufactured homes. And, not all shingles are created equal; lesser-quality shingles may not carry the same lifespan, requiring another roof replacement in as early as 10 years.
A key factor as to their shorter lifespan is heat absorption: since asphalt shingles absorb high amounts of heat, they tend to crack and damage quicker than other materials. Shingles are also more susceptible to wind damage compared to metal or TPO.
If your current roof is shingle-based and you’re looking to add a layer of shingles over it via a roof over, ensure that a roof over is possible first. Depending on the thickness of a shingled roof, a roof over with just shingles may not be possible as a second layer of shingles may not adequately cover any damage, or even lead to further cracking.
However, shingle roofs remain a popular choice for many manufactured homeowners for their cost-effectiveness. While the cost of a shingled roof will vary based on the quality of shingle, as well as any labor costs involved, you expect to pay at least $1,500 for a single-wide roof, and closer to $2,500 or $3,000 or more for a double-wide.
You may also consider doing a roof over or roof replacement with metal paneling – an increasingly popular choice among manufactured homeowners. These are most commonly made out of steel, though other common metal roofing materials include aluminum, zinc, or copper. As long as leaks and other damage in your existing roof are fixed, installing corrugated metal sheets over your roof is one of the most popular roof-over methods.
With aluminum and metal roofing comes an increased durability factor that other roofing materials don’t have. Compared to the 15-year average lifespan for shingles, properly installed metal roofs with the right insulation underneath can last anywhere between 30 and 60 years, depending on the quality of your material and your local weather conditions. Metal roofing materials also carry increased energy efficiency over asphalt shingles, though they do get extremely hot in summer temperatures.
The extra durability comes with an added upfront cost, however. A metal roof with insulation can run at nearly double the cost of an asphalt shingle roof, particularly if you bring in a contractor to get the job done. For some manufactured homeowners, the increased lifespan may be worth the cost.
One downside to metal roofing materials is damage potential. Despite their durability, metal roofing materials are highly susceptible to denting as a result of physical impact or heavy rainfall/hail. Some minor dents can be fixed by yourself, though large dents may require replacing entire metal sheets, which can add to your long-term roofing costs.
Additionally, one lesser-known factor that may turn away homeowners is noise. If you live in an area with heavy rainfall like Hawaii, that can create more noise as it falls on a metal roof compared to asphalt.
TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin)
Installing a TPO roof is another popular choice among mobile homeowners for its durability and relatively easy installation process.
Compared to shingles, TPO roofs hold up for much longer against all types of weather conditions, offering even more durability than a metal roof. TPO roofs are also among the most energy efficient roofing materials, with the added caveat that the most popular TPO roof color, white, carries the most energy efficiency. TPO roofs are less commonly installed with a black finish, which only absorbs more heat and increases your mobile home’s air conditioning costs. Because of all of these factors, TPO roofs are often seen as the most beneficial option for manufactured homes.
TPO roofs are most favorable for flat or bowed roofs, as installing the TPO membrane over the existing roof is relatively painless. That doesn’t mean you can’t install a TPO roof over a pitched roof, but your costs may rise due to the more precise nature of the installation.
The lighter weight and durability makes TPO a cost-effective option, too. While the costs depend on whether you go the DIY route or hire a professional contractor, you can expect pricing to be around the same range as that of an asphalt shingle roof, if not slightly less.
TPO roofs are part of a larger offering of membrane-based roofing materials, which also includes EPDM roofs. That said, a TPO membrane will more often than not need to be installed by a professional contractor, as improper installation can lead to rippling and tearing in the materials, which can create leaks in your manufactured home.
Mobile homeowners looking for a quick repair or roof over may choose to use a rubber roofing, or liquid roofing method. This involves spreading a coat of rubberproofing material over the current roof to seal in any damage and provide the roof with a solid layer of protection.
For mobile homeowners on a budget, this may be the best option for a roof over. Roof overs done this way can run for as little as $600, and will last for about 10 years – almost as long as a roof with asphalt shingles.
Installation must be completed on a dry day without rain, as the solution will typically need to dry and harden over the course of several hours. Additionally, maintenance for your rubber sealed roof is often higher than an asphalt or metal roof, as you may need to reseal on a yearly basis. This can make maintenance more of a hassle for mobile homeowners compared to the other materials listed.
The type of material that’s best for your roof over or roof replacement comes down to your specific needs. Are you willing to pay more for durability and a roof with a long lifespan? If so, a metal roof may be right for you. Or, if you’re working on a budget and want to do a roof over your current roof, then a TPO roof is your go-to. In any case, a roofing calculator can help you find the exact cost it’ll take for a roof over or roof replacement on your mobile home.
The Case for Roof Overs and Roof Replacements
Whether or not you’ve already identified the right material for your manufactured or mobile home, it’s important to consider whether you want to do a roof over – installing the new roof on top of the old material – or completely replace your roof altogether. In a number of cases, a roof over will do, depending on your materials.
For instance, a new TPO roof is an ideal option for mobile home roof overs, particularly for flat roofs. This is because TPO membranes are installed in one piece over the existing roof, compared to the multiple sheets required for metal or aluminum roofing.
If you’re repairing or replacing a flat roof, you may consider building a pitched roof over it to better protect against weather damage; while flat roofs can hold water and cause significant damage to your roof (not to mention your entire manufactured home), pitched or sloped roofs route any precipitation away from your roof and home. Additionally, for areas in the northern U.S. that see significant amounts of snowfall, a site-built roof above your home’s existing roof can add extra support for heavy snow loads. For this method, shingles and metal roofing are usually favored, given their time-tested reliability.
Like we mentioned above, for flat roofs TPO is a great cost-effective option if a pitched roof isn’t your thing. That’s perhaps the biggest advantage to a roof over compared to a full replacement is – the cost. Since a roof over doesn’t involve tearing out the original damaged roofing material, you save money on the labor needed to remove the old roof, and disposal no longer becomes a factor. This makes roof overs the preferred option for many mobile homeowners.
In some cases, your mobile home roof may be damaged to the extent that a roof over won’t adequately cover your manufactured home. This is when a complete roof replacement may be necessary, which involves tearing away the old roofing material before installing your new roof. While this does often increase the price of your roof installation, it comes with extra peace of mind knowing your new roof is fully guarded against the elements.
When to Hire, and When to DIY
Now, we’ve talked about the most popular roofing materials, and the benefits of a roof over compared to a roof replacement. Another major question to ask yourself is whether you want to do the roof over or roof replacement yourself, or hire a professional.
Cost is, as always, a big determining factor when choosing to go the DIY route for a manufactured home roofing project. If you decide to handle a roof repair or replacement on your own, the main out-of-pocket cost will be for the materials, which varies greatly depending on which material you use. That said, what you save financially gets spent in the extra time you put in to do the job yourself.
That’s where hiring a contractor for your roof over or roof replacement has a major benefit. Yes, you’ll likely pay more out of pocket to account for labor costs. However, having professional contractors to repair or replace your roof can not only save you time to do other things, but can provide peace of mind for many manufactured home owners knowing that their roof is being handled by professionals.
The material you work with can also determine whether you should hire a professional to handle your roof over or roof replacement. TPO roofs are more often handled by contractors to ensure a proper fit, whereas a rubber sealed or metal roof can be more friendly for DIY mobile homeowners.
If you’re looking to do your mobile home roof over or replacement on your own, materials can usually be sourced from an industrial hardware store, or even your local lumber yard if you’re opting for a metal roof.
If you plan to hire a contractor to handle your roof repair, many online websites like Angi or Thumbtack can help you find local contractors near you that can work within your budget and desired materials. And, a contractor often works directly with suppliers to source roofing materials, so you don’t have to hunt them down on your own.
One key consideration for any roofing project is whether there are any park community guidelines, if applicable, that dictate how a roofing project must be completed, apart from any necessary local/state permits. While it’s likely that you can repair or replace your roof with just those permits, it’s a good idea to check with your mobile home park to see if there are any additional requirements for your roofing project, such as restricting construction within daylight hours. It’s best to contact your community manager to get more information. If you live in a mobile home park or resident-owned community, they may also have resources available to you for your roofing project, such as a recommended contractor with discounted rates.
The Best Roof for Your Mobile Home
At the end of the day, how you repair or replace your roof should be suited to your budget, while also taking into consideration the shape and build of your current roof and any existing damage. Consider your long-term needs out of your roof, and what you value most. For many mobile home owners, durability is key, particularly in areas with harsher weather, which makes a metal or TPO roof the ideal option. For other areas, a shingle roof is the way to go if you’re looking for reliability and cost-effectiveness.
If you’re looking to repair or replace your roof to increase your mobile home’s resale value, check out these other tips for improving your home. You can also read more on how to best go about the roof over or roof replacement process to ensure that your new roof is the best your manufactured or mobile home deserves.