How much weight can an old mobile home roof hold?

In this article, we will answer the following question: How much weight can an old mobile home roof hold? We will discuss the specifics of a mobile home roof and some safety precautions.

How much weight can an old mobile home roof hold?

An old mobile home roof can hold up to 30 pounds/square foot. The weight that a roof can support depends on several criteria, including:

  • The shape and size of the roof;
  • The type of materials used for the frame, depending on whether it is concrete, wood or metal;
  • The chosen insulation and waterproofing coating;
  • The nature of the roofing, depending on whether it is slate, wood, sheet metal or concrete.

These characteristics make a roof more or less heavy and robust and determine its load capacities. In addition, the climatic conditions, and in particular the winds and the volume of snowfall in the region where the habitat is located, must also be taken into account.

The average load weight that a mobile home roof can support

The load weight that a roof can support is expressed per square meter. In general, this is between 20 and 30 pounds per square foot. It can reach, for the most solid constructions, up to 35 pounds per square foot.

In addition, a distinction should be made between the permissible load weight and the maximum load weight, a safety margin is applied between the two measurements. The breaking load weight at which the structure will break is also distinguished.

The exact weight a mobile home roof can support

The weight that can be supported by a roof is a measure that cannot be overlooked, even down to a few pounds. It is all the more extremely important in the case of renovation or transformation of a roof into a green roof, fitted with a terrace and/or a swimming pool.

The advice of a professional, an architect, in particular, is therefore strongly recommended to perform the calculations as accurately as possible or at least to verify your ownership.

The specifics of a mobile home roof

The mobile home roof can be:

  • with a flat roof,
  • with a roof with one, two or four slopes.

The flat roofs mainly concern older generation mobile homes that can be found in particular on occasion.

Be careful, campsites are more reluctant to welcome this type of model:

  • some owners of mobile homes on a slope are refused a lease renewal because of the roof of their mobile home,
  • The user must always comply with the requirements of the owner of his land in order to integrate his mobile home into the landscape of the park where he is located.

Note: It is possible to transform a roof with one slope into a roof with two or four slopes, but the work is expensive.

Mobile home roof characteristics: materials, insulation

The roof of a mobile home has specific characteristics, particularly with regard to construction materials and insulation.

Today, the roof of a mobile home is mostly built on a wooden frame (treated fir, for example), topped with steel tiles. The wood used for the mobile home roof is very solid. It is possible to walk on the roof of a mobile home without causing damage,

The roof, therefore, resists the weight of snow in winter very well.

Insulation is essential to preserve your mobile home over the long term: well protected, the mobile home will withstand snow, rain, cold and heat. The mobile home roof is usually insulated with more or less thick glass wool depending on the climate it will have to withstand:

  • for medium insulation: 160 mm thick glass wool is sufficient,
  • for regions with a temperate climate: the thickness of the glass wool can reach 200 mm.

To enhance weather resistance, manufacturers offer various options:

  • additional insulation,
  • a snow shield,
  • protection of water pipes against freezing,
  • an aluminium gutter to collect rainwater.

Five signs that your mobile home roof may or may not need to be replaced

The strongest clue that you might need a new roof is to find water inside your mobile house. Look for signs of water ingress here, as major leaks are most likely to start here. Keep in mind, however, that water can seep a fair distance – through beams and inside walls, for example – from the point of infiltration to where the leaks are visible.

Ice dams form when the snow on the roof melts, runs down to the eaves and freezes. Water that continues to melt and collide with the ice dam can rise under the asphalt shingles and enter the roof deck.

As we have already mentioned, it may not be necessary to replace the entire roof to correct this type of problem. A few shingles or only part of the flashing may have been stripped, exposing the underlying decking to the elements.

Even so, you should never hesitate to have this type of problem checked and corrected immediately before it gets worse, costs increase or the roof needs to be replaced. Most master roofers offer affordable roof inspection services.

Walking on a mobile home roof: our advice

To clean a roof yourself, you have to take precautions to protect yourself. This is important: no matter how professional you are, working at heights presents a significant risk of falling and the consequences can be very serious. 

  1. Adopt the right behaviours at height. The correct technique for walking on a roof varies depending on its nature. For example, on a tin roof, just follow the line that the spikes form. Thus, you will move on the frame itself and not in the void.

If the roof is tiled, aim for where the rooms meet, or where the battens are. The structure is more solid in these places. You can also put a plank on the tiles to move around on them to avoid damaging them.

Either way, don’t rush. This will only increase the risk of missteps. Move slowly and gently put your feet on the roof. It is important to distribute your weight evenly on each foot to reduce pressure on the points of support.

  1. Make sure you are well equipped. To work on a roof safely, you need to be well equipped. Preferably wear a pair of non-slip, flexible shoes that provide good ankle support. You will also need sturdy gloves and a helmet. 

The installation of a temporary lifeline is also necessary to protect you in the event of a fall. The rope should be securely fastened on the side opposite the work area.

  1. Choose the timing of the work carefully. To be able to safely clean your roof, you need to consider the weather. In rainy weather, it is not recommended to climb on a roof. As the surface of the coating is wet, the risk of slipping is too high.

If it is very windy, you should also avoid working at height. You risk being destabilized and falling into the void. In addition, avoid times when it is too hot. Otherwise, you will expose yourself to sunstroke on the scorching roof.

  1. Avoid working alone. Working on the roof of a house is always risky. This is the reason why you need to get a friend to assist you. Thus, in the event of a fall, he can quickly notify the emergency services.

And even if no accident occurs, your friend can help you during the work. For example, he can hold the ladder for you as you go up and down so that it does not slip. You can also ask him to do without the equipment you will need up there to avoid the round trips.

But beware! There should never be several people on a roof. Too high loads can cause the structure to fail. Also, check the strength of your roof before going up. If the termites have gnawed on some beams or their state of disrepair is advanced, it is best to call in professionals for a special intervention.

If you’re a good handyman, you can personally do some minor maintenance work on your roof. You just need to plan for the right equipment and move carefully when you get up there. Also, don’t forget to take the weather into account and ask a friend for help. Otherwise, prefer professional help.

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