A crash course in mobile home roof repair

A crash course in mobile home roof repair

mobile-home-roofIf you’re looking for a guide full of DIY tips and tricks for repairing your mobile home’s roof, then you’re in the wrong place.

This article is different from what you’ll find elsewhere.

Our goal is to give you a structured overview of how to think through tackling your urgent roof repair for your mobile home. We’ll show you which issues to think about, and how to make the right decisions for your roof, your home, and your bank account.

In return for just 10 minutes of your time, you’ll learn:

  • How to find common problems on flat and pitched (slanted) mobile home roofs
  • How to choose between a small DIY fix, a roof over, and a complete roof replacement
  • How to find the right professional for your project
  • How to pick the right financing option if you can’t pay with cash

Where is the problem on my mobile home’s roof?

You should almost always begin a roof repair project by identifying the problem.

How you find your roof’s problem largely depends on whether you have a flat roof or a pitched roof. In this section, we’ll show you how to find problems on both types of roofs.

Finding problems on flat roofs

If you have a flat roof on your mobile home, it’s likely made of rubber or metal. Your roof is also probably older; pitched roofs became dominant for mobile homes after the 1970s.

While preparing to inspect your flat roof, keep the following potential issues in mind:

  • Inadequate drainage: Because they aren’t slanted, flat roofs don’t have a natural mechanism for filtering out water. Water accumulates into puddles that cause your metal to rust or your rubber to weaken and rip.
  • Unhealthy Sun exposure: A pitched roof’s northern and eastern sides are somewhat shielded from the Sun by the roof’s southern and western sides. By contrast, flat roofs have no such protection; the entire roof is equally susceptible to heat damage.
  • Bubbles: Bubbles, also known as blisters, form on many rubber roofs. These bubbles can cause tears and apply uneven insulation to the rest of your home.
  • Tears: The factors listed above, alongside branches and nails, can create tears in your roof if it’s made from rubber.

Each of these problems increases the risk of leaks, subpar insulation in your home, and even collapse. With these risks in mind, you can inspect your flat roof to find the issue. Here’s how:

  • Plant a ladder on firm ground: Climbing up to your roof inevitably has risks. Many roofing accidents occur when homeowners or roofing professionals use a ladder on unstable ground.
  • Stay on your ladder if possible: Walking on your roof could cause more damage and put you at risk of injury. For example, many homeowners cause more tears in a rubber roof when they walk on it looking for problems.
  • Search for common signs of damage: Look for places that are obviously rotting or torn–your chimney and the edges of your roof are good places to spot. If you’re having trouble finding the problem, then the location of the leak’s damage inside your house will give you a clue.

Finding problems on pitched roofs

Most new mobile homes are built with pitched roofs. These slanted roofs are more in style, and require less maintenance than flat roofs. Pitched roofs usually have shingles built from either asphalt or metal. Shingles are the rectangular pieces that form your roof’s exterior.

These shingled roofs have better drainage than flat roofs, but that doesn’t mean they’re immune from problems:

  • Rain can degrade shingles: Unlike in a flat roof, rain can seep into shingles and weaken them–causing the shingles to chip or fall off.
  • Wind can lift up shingles: Intense wind can dislodge part of a roof’s shingles.
  • Snow can cause ice dams: Ice blocks can form between the shingles and gutter, preventing water from draining. This blockage leaves a large body of still water on your roof, which weakens your shingles.

Whenever possible, you should examine your pitched roof from the relatively safety of a sturdy ladder because it’s easy to fall on a slanted roof.

Now that you’re aware of common pitched roof problems on mobile homes, here are some things to consider when inspecting your roof:

  • The leak may not be where you thought: Water may leak into the rafters or ceilings at one location then slide down before entering your home.
  • Check your shingles’ condition: Missing shingles can cause a leak, as can cracked, grey, or bloated shingles. Your gutter is a great place to check to see if you can find pieces of broken shingles.
  • Examine your pipes: The pipes on your roof have rubber insulation around them to prevent leaks. This rubber protection could degrade; causing leaks between shingles and pipes.
  • Look at the edge of your roof: The edge where your roof connects to the rest of your house could be degraded.
  • Search for holes and rusted vents: Shingles may have holes or faulty vents, which of course could cause leaks.

From a problem to a solution

If you’re confident you’ve found the problem with your roof, then you can jump into finding a solution. However, keep in mind that you likely aren’t trained to properly repair roofs and you may miss some issues.

You should consider having a professional come and inspect your roof to give you an estimate, even if the only value you get is finding issues that you missed. We will discuss finding roofing professionals in future sections.

Deciding how to repair your mobile home’s roof

You have three options for repairing your mobile home’s roof:

  • Small DIY fixes to individual parts of the roof
  • A roof over: putting a new roof on top of your current one
  • A replacement: replacing your current roof with a new one

In this section, we’ll discuss when to consider each.

Small DIY mobile home roof fixes

You can address small problems without calling a roofing professional. Consider the following things before deciding whether you can get away with a small DIY fix:

  • Your roof’s age: A small problem is likely to be an isolated incident if you have a newer roof. With older roofs, even small issues such as a broken shingle may reflect bigger problems.
  • The number of problems: If you’ve only found one ripped seam or missing shingle, then you can likely get away with a DIY fix.
  • The type of roof you have: Because most new mobile homes have pitched roofs, flat roofs tend to be older and require more maintenance. It may be worth using even a small problem on a flat roof to convert to a pitched roof.

Costs are typically quite low; a new set of shingles will cost a couple of hundred dollars at most.

Completing a “roof over”

A home roof over places a new roof over your current one. Your old roof remains intact, which saves money and speeds up your roof repair. Consider a roof over if:

  • You have a flat roof: Pitched roofs are more in style and require less maintenance than a flat roof.
  • Your current roof has more than a small problem: If you can quickly fix your current roof’s problems, then it may not make sense to perform a roof over unless you want to change your roof’s look for aesthetic reasons.
  • Your current roof is salvageable: Even if your current roof has more than a single rip, you will still need to perform necessary maintenance before adding on the new roof. This is because, after you add a roof over your current one, it’ll become harder, if not impossible, to fix the original structure.
  • You want to save money: Roof overs tend to be cheaper than total roof replacements. Roof overs cost between $1,000 and $2,000, depending on the materials you use.
  • Your current roof isn’t too old: Roofs tend to degrade over time, and an older roof may not be able to handle the strain of a new one even after you perform maintenance.
  • Your home can handle the weight: The extra roof layer will add weight to your house, so you need to be sure that your house can take the strain.

Unless you have strong DIY or carpenter skills, you should look to a professional for your roof over. A professional can certify that you’ve adequately addressed all of the problems on your original roof.

Replacing your roof

Replacing your roof can cost you between $1,500 and $5,000, but sometimes, you can’t avoid going with this more expensive mobile home roof repair route. Your roof may be so damaged or outdated that it makes sense to rip out your roof and start over.

Roof replacements are especially recommended if you have an old flat roof or pitched roof in poor condition. Because you’re ripping out your old roof, any existing damage won’t matter. Your home also won’t face added weight that you would get from a roof over.

If you replace your roof, we highly recommend hiring a professional.

How do I find a professional to repair my mobile roof?

Like any home improvement project, you’ll want to ensure that the professional you select is up to the task and has the proper certification and insurance. Follow this process to ensure you’re finding the best professional roofer for your budget:

  • Do your homework on fixing your roof: Before consulting any professional, you should be able to discuss the issues we’ve surveyed in this article so far. While you may not know everything about roofing, you should know enough to know whether your professional is informed.
  • Craft a budget: You should have a budget prepared before you consult a professional. Even though you haven’t yet received an estimate, you’ll want to have a rough idea of how much you want to spend. Costs will range from a couple hundred dollars for small projects to a few thousand dollars for total replacements.
  • Receive estimates from at least 3 roofing professionals: Using a site like BuildZoom or your own network, you should have multiple professionals inspect your roof and give you an estimate. This will help you find the best deal, although someone who bids far lower than other professionals may be in over his or her head.
  • Verify insurance and licensing: Check with your state that your roofing contractor has a proper license. Ask the professional for proof of general liability and worker’s compensation insurance, then call his or her insurance company to confirm.
  • Clearly spell out terms in the contract: Force yourself and your professional to put as much in writing as possible. A lot can go wrong during a roofing project, and your contract should clearly establish which problems your contractor would have to address without charging you more money.
  • Don’t pay for the project at once: Give a down payment–typically around 10%– and pay the rest in installments. This will incentivize your contractor to finish in a timely manner without cutting corners.

Paying for your mobile home’s roof repair

Your homeowners insurance likely won’t cover roof repairs caused from maintenance issues or wear and tear–which means you likely have to pay out of pocket.

In an ideal world, you would take the time to save cash. However, many mobile home roof repairs can’t wait and–with price tags up to a couple thousand dollars–you may have no choice but to seek out a financing option.

You have two financing options for your repair: personal loans and credit cards.

Personal loans for mobile home roof repair

Personal loans have fixed monthly payments and don’t require any home equity. You usually receive an instant decision after applying for the loan, and can get funded as soon as a day after you apply. These loans have no prepayment penalties, and you can usually qualify with a credit score above 640.

These loans are best for roof replacements or expensive roof overs. With minimums ranging from $500 to $2,000, it wouldn’t make sense to take out a personal loan for a quick DIY fix.

You can learn more by visiting our page on personal loans for your roof repair.

0% APR Credit cards

If you have decent credit, you may want to apply for a 0% APR credit card. These cards have an introductory 0% period (usually 6-18 months) followed by a rate increase. Make sure to develop a plan to pay off your balance before your low-rate period ends.

Unlike a personal loan, you can use a 0% APR card for a broad range of mobile home roof repairs–from a light roof over to a full replacement because.

You can learn more by visiting our page on 0% APR credit cards for home improvement.

Credit cards for homeowners whose credit needs work

Without good credit, you likely won’t qualify for a 0% APR card. If you can’t wait to save cash or improve your credit score, then a credit card designed for homeowners with subpar credit may be your best option.

In these situations, it’s critical to compare several different cards to find the best option. Even a slight difference in APRs can make a big difference, but you should still make a plan to pay off your balance as quickly as possible.

Conclusion

The goal of this article was not to teach you the ins and outs of every DIY fix for your mobile home’s roof. A professional will almost always give you better advice on your specific challenges than you’ll find online. Instead, we set out to show you how to think about your roof’s problems.

You can use the information presented in this guide to make the right decision about repairing your roof for your home and your bank account.