Yes, as long as the mobile home roof is in good condition, it should support the weight of an average adult without issue.
However, that doesn’t mean walking on your mobile home roof is necessarily safe or advisable. You’ll need to carefully consider factors such as the materials used, truss locations, the weather, and your experience level.
So, can you walk on a mobile home roof? Yes, but before taking your first step, check out our ultimate guide.
How Much Weight Can a Mobile Home Hold?
While specifics vary, most mobile home roofs can hold up to 30 pounds of live weight per square foot. It’s the same strength as indoor flooring is required to have according to most state building codes.
Even a mobile home with a roof weight limit of 10 pounds per square foot can hold substantial weight. For example, a 1,200 square foot mobile home with a roof that can hold ten pounds per square foot will support up to 12 tons – that’s about four times the weight of the average car.
Materials Used for Mobile Home Roofs
Weight isn’t the only factor to consider. The type of material used also plays a significant role in whether or not you should walk on your roof. Even if the roof supports your weight without a problem, your footfalls could damage the roofing materials.
Three types of materials are commonly used on the roofs of mobile homes.
Asphalt shingles are the most common type. They’re affordable and durable, but they do add a significant amount of weight to the roof. A single layer can add 2,000 pounds or more.
If you want to replace damaged shingles, you’ll need to remove them altogether. A brick structure can support multiple layers of asphalt shingles, but a mobile home is usually limited to one layer at a time.
When walking on an asphalt roof, only step along the trusses. Trusses are the assembled beams that provide support for the roof. To find the trusses, you can use a stud finder and potentially also see them from inside your attic.
Many mobile home roofs are made of metal, often lightweight types such as aluminum. Metal roofs provide more protection from the elements and last longer than shingles.
On the downside, metal isn’t as energy-efficient. Warm and cool air has an easier time flowing up and out of your home, often resulting in higher energy bills, depending on the weather where you live.
The most significant potential concern is slipping when walking on a metal roof, as metal roofs don’t provide much traction.
Thermoplastic polyolefin roofs, also known as rubber roofs, are a popular option – especially when replacing worn-out shingles or metal roofs on older mobile homes.
It’s a durable, lightweight, and flexible material that’s easy to install and maintain. TPO roofs are also highly energy efficient.
When walking on a TPO roof, mind your shoes. Avoid any footwear with spikes or heavy treads, as they can press into the TPO material. Placing wooden planks across your roof to walk on will help protect the surface from damage and distribute your body weight more evenly.
Mobile Home Roof Design Types
Aside from the materials used, the design of the mobile home roof also affects the extent to which you can walk on it.
There are two basic designs, typically related to the age of the structure:
Flat or Bowed
Most mobile homes built before 1976 have flat or bowed roofs. A bow is a freestanding, arched frame.
While flat roofs provide the most stable walking surface, they also face the most potential stress, as snow and water can accumulate on the surface. You’ll need to take this weight into account before stepping onto the roof.
Pitched or Peaked
After 1976, many mobile homes manufacturers switched from flat to pitched roofs. A pitched roof allows snow, water, and other substances to naturally flow away, reducing the potential for weight and water-related damage.
Walking on a pitched roof is more difficult than traversing a flat one. Even a slight, subtle angle increases your risk of slipping. While all pitched roofs pose risks, ones with a metal surface are hazardous.
Warning Signs – Before You Walk on a Roof
Never ignore the following warning signs that your roof is unsafe for you to stand on:
- Sagging: Not all sagging is visible. If the roof feels spongy or spring-like underneath your feet, get off of it immediately.
- Leaking: Going on your roof to repair a minor leak is usually safe, but if your roof is spouting multiple leaks in several areas, that’s often a sign of significant structural damage.
- Sounds: When walking on your roof, note any loud or sustained creaking noises, as they could indicate structural weakness.
When in doubt, stay off your roof. Even a minor miscalculation can result in serious injury.
How Can I Make the Roof Stronger on My Mobile Home?
If the roof on your home is older, you can potentially improve it by strengthening your existing trusses, adding new trusses to the walls, and repairing damaged covering, such as old shingles. Keep in mind not all older roofs can be repaired; replacement might be necessary.
Why Do You Need to Walk on the Roof of a Mobile Home?
Accessing the roof is often helpful for routine maintenance, such as clearing away leaves and other debris. It’s also sometimes necessary for repairing minor issues such as leaks.
How Long Do Shingles Last on a Mobile Home Roof?
High-quality shingles can last for up to 30 years, although that’s a best-case scenario. Generally, you’ll want to look into re-roofing after 15 years, or possibly less, depending on the temperatures and weather conditions in your area.
Can you walk on a mobile home roof? Yes, but before you do, you need to consider many factors, such as the roof’s age, the type of materials used, and any possible damage.
Getting on your roof allows you to conduct routine maintenance, perform minor repairs, and more. Fortunately, as long as you take the appropriate steps to mitigate potential dangers, you can safely step onto the roof of your mobile home.