Wednesday, December 28, 2011

All about eaves, roof pitch and roof load


The lack of eaves and a shallow (not steep) roof pitch are often design features that distinguish a manufactured home from a better looking conventional home.

An eave is the portion of the roof that overhangs the outside walls of a house. The soffit is the underside of the eave and by measuring its width you can tell how much of an overhang you have.

In most styles of house -- except for pueblo-style houses and some modern styles that don’t have eaves -- eaves add substantially to the appearance of a house.  They also protect the siding and window frames from deterioration and penetration from water falling off the roof and drooling down the side of the house. Rain gutters can do the same thing on a house with little eave but they require maintenance and don’t look good.

On a smaller manufactured home (under 1500 square feet) a one foot eave would be desirable, but a 6“ eave at least, is better than no eave at all. Without eaves, most homes look like a cheap box. On larger homes a 16” eave adds a look of substance to the home.

Sometimes the transport width of a manufactured home or a section of a home prohibits adding eaves, but eaves can come as detached units and be added at the site. Eaves may not be an option on some lower end homes like these, and the gray one would probably look nice with them:

Below are two photos of the same home, one with a 1" eave, and one where I photo-shopped (using Gimp) a 12" eave.


The pitch of a roof is how steep it is and the pitch is measured in inches with 3/12 pitch being a 3” vertical rise for every foot (12”) of  roof. In areas with high snow fall, sometimes insurers will require that you have at least a 4/12 pitch on your roof. A steeper roof of 4/12 or more will also make a manufactured home, look much more like a conventional home.

Many manufactured homes come with a 3/12 roof pitch but some can be upgraded to a 4/12, 5/12 or greater. Usually pitches of 5/12 come only on modular homes with hinged roofs, so they can be transported within height limits. The roof is flat and a crane lifts it up and it is unfolded into place on site.

Besides being better looking, a roof with a 4/12 pitch may also be better for shingles than a standard 3/12 pitched roof, if you elect to get a roof with shingles. Below is a chart showing the angle of various roof pitches.


Beefing up the strength of the roof  so it will hold more weight is not done by adding roofing material or sheathing but by adding rafters. It is something you have to pay attention to in areas with snow. Homes in non-snowy areas usually come with 20 lb. or 30 lb. roof load capacity.

In heavy snow areas, where you might get 5 or 6 ft. of snow on the roof, a 90 lb. roof is recommended. In areas where you might get 2 or 3 ft. of snow, you should upgrade to the 50 lb. roof.


  1. Yes, a 12" roof eave looks better. As for the roof pitch, the height mainly depends on the structure of the home: whether it has high or low ceiling. It is wise to consider the local climate where the home is located, as the amount of snow and rain fall dictates the weight of the roof.

  2. Wow, I didn’t know that a roof can be this complicated! Homeowners should read this to know what kind of roof suits their needs well. But, for me, in case that I decide to build my own house, I’ll definitely choose the roof that is capable of handling heavy rains. Besides, our home is one place that gives us security and comfort, so it must be built with high-quality. This is a very interesting topic. Thanks for sharing. :)

    Allyson Sunde

  3. Its nice information to share regarding the roof of mobile homes that should be kept in mind as per the Location.

  4. I have one of the"lower end"homes.There is a stringer 2 x 2 that ties the trusses altogether.You will have to remove that,which runs the length of the home on the roof line on both sides.You will have to remove it and sister in 2 x 2s on the rafters to get a overhang.Since its a 2 x 2 trusses,you will have to pre drill everytime or split it.Sounds like a lot of work??It is.Lay new metal roofing and install"real gutters"and not joist rotting"drip edge"and you have a new dry environment.HUD should have gotten involved with mobile homes along time ago and required a minimum of at least 4 inch overhang on all sides.The landfills wouldn't be filled up with them,

    1. Thanks for your comment. The comments that trickle in recently are usually ads, so it is nice to get a real one.

      And yes, it does sound like a lot of work. I hear you on the overhang and completely agree. In another post, I mention what one dealer told me when I asked, "Why don't they make single-wides with 6 inches of overhang?"

      He said that anything protruding would be more likely get chipped or damaged during transport. That made some sense, I guess.

      As far as the joist-rotting, I don't know really know much about gutters but I figured if you have a nice metal roof with standing seams, and enough overhang, I thought it would help to carry off water from the roof evenly, that you wouldn't need gutters. I could be wrong. Gutters are probably essential in rainy areas where you want to get the water away from the house.

  5. It has nothing to do with something protruding.Its all about money with Clayton homes.If you ever have seen a home moved,people get out of the way when a home is coming down the road.The lead truck gets people over.What I was referring to by joist rotting drip edge,is the factory "mini"gutters that came with the majority of a "metal on metal"mobile home homes with the overhang.If you have any holes or tears in your roof on the edge,the drip edge will hold the water"becase there is no pitch for the water to run.It will run down the walls and rot will start.It will rot the top plate,the studs,and eventually the floor.The majority of people will not know there is a problem until there is considerable damage to the home.Im redoing a singlewide that in some spots along the wall the studs don't even touch the floor because of rot.I tore the old tin roof off and laid new metal roofing with pitch gutters because we get a lot of rain in the spring and severe down pours in the summer.If you have a choice, and you are cannot do the work on your own home,stay away from mobile homes that have no overhang.If you have no choice,walk around the edge of the wall and push down with your foot.See if there is any soft spots or take your hand feel for dampness.Look at the home on a rainy day.

    1. Oh, I get it, the mini gutters, got ya.

      Throughout most of my blog, I recommend people look for a home with 6" eves at least, as on the Karsten single wide, and also R19 (at least) 2 x 6 walls. Those two things would be very hard for a person to find who is trying to pick up a used single wide trailer for under $6,000, or at any price.

      There's one thing worse than the mini-gutter no-eves peak roof trailer and that's one with a round roof with mini-gutters.

      Of course, eves cost more money but they are certainly worth it. It is disgusting that this mini-gutter thing with no eves became a standard for so many manufacturers turning out the cheapest homes possible because it makes the roof difficult and costly to repair. Therefore most of the trailers end up as garbage in 40 years.

      I've been in bottom line new single-wide homes by Clayton and other manufacturers that scream CHEAP throughout and that's of the things that are visible -- low ceilings, wallboard, fixtures, toilet, tub, sinks, everything.

  6. Think about it.All double wides,even older ones have overhangs.When they move it,the"protruding"overhang is on the "half"singlewide" part of the doublewide.Yea,clayton is full of crap.

    1. That was just one salesman who said that, about the eves and moving. I figured it was mostly an excuse for the reason you said. Salesman say a lot of things just to sell. There was one dealer, that after I explained that I live in an area that is not zoned for single wides, proceeded to try to try to sell me the home anyway.

  7. Bought a single wide from Clayton a yr ago. Everytime we have a hard rain, the rain comes into my front door. hate that my home does not have any eves or over hangs. Clayton cannot fix it because they are built that way. Any suggestions

    1. what about putting silicone sealant over the upper part of the door trim, and down the sides of the doors.

  8. You might try some of the self-adhesive plastic winterizing strip around the door to seal the openings so the water doesn't come in. If you're having this problem, other people probably are, so the people at the Home Depot might know what you can do to fix that. If water is coming under the door, there's a thing you can buy that is aluminum with rubber.

    In 15 years or so, when your roof is on the way out, you might consider a roof over, which needs external support, but then you can add eaves.

    Except for the e-home and the i-house, both which Clayton no longer makes, I don't like any of the Clayton single wide homes.

    In Washington, Oregon, and Northern California, the single-wide homes are really well made and there's a variety of manufacturers. In the South, it's very difficult to find a decent single-wide home and I understand how upsetting it must be to have something as disturbing as water coming in the door on a new home. It's good you wrote about it though, because the more consumers who make specific complaints, the more manufacturers will be compelled to fix what is wrong with their homes, or the manufacturer who does will get all the business.

    I gotta go out in a second, so I'm just posting this anonymously, but it's me, Greenotter.

  9. We have the same problem as above. Bought our Clayton home in Sept 2013. Everytime it rains, it looks like a waterfall on my front door. Called and complained about and they told me that it is a storm door they are not suppose to seal. Really, Thought all doors were suppose to seal shut, that is why we have them on the house.Needless to say I am looking to replace the whole door.

  10. Hi,my name is Robert.I made comments about about adding eaves.Where I live Clayton homes bought everyone out.They want you to buy a home from them,finance it through the"clayton Vanderbilt",and get their high ass home owners insurance if you don't have any.Clayton homes which is owned by Warren Buffet are crooks.They are a predatory lender....PERIOD.Whatever you do,if you are a young,first time home buyer or newly married and looking for a home.Stay the hell away from a mobile home,BUY A STICK BUILT HOME OR REMODEL ONE.You're life will be easier and smoother.Listen to me from experience.I ruined my life and had to file bankruptcy because of Clayton Vanderbilt.Stay away from a mobile home.I will save you endless trips to Lowes and Home Depot and hearing we don't carry that size or that item,because its for a mobile home.You were warned.