Driving through rural areas, one might notice an intriguing sight: tires positioned on the roofs of not only mobile homes but also traditional stick-and-brick houses. This peculiar practice often sparks curiosity, leaving many to wonder about its purpose. Are these tires merely a quirky rural trend, or do they serve a practical function?

In this discussion, we’ll explore the various reasons why people put tires on their roofs. This practice, observed in various regions, has sparked both genuine explanations and myths. We aim to understand the true motivations behind this practice and to separate fact from fiction.

Types of Mobile Homes

Manufacturers build mobile homes in factories as both permanent and temporary living spaces, offering various types. They place these homes on transportable trailer chassis and typically secure them by tying them down to a location, whether owned, rented, or within a mobile home park.

  1. Single-wide mobile homes
  2. Double-wide mobile homes
  3. Multisection manufactured homes
  4. Trailers as mobile homes

Single-Wide Mobile Homes

These are the most compact and affordable types of mobile homes. Typically, they are up to 18 feet wide and 90 feet long. Single-wides are transported as a single unit and are popular among first-time homeowners and those who require less space.

Double-Wide Mobile Homes

These homes provide more space and privacy. They are usually around 20 feet wide and up to 90 feet in length. They consist of two units that are prefabricated and joined together at the site, providing better sound isolation and a more home-like feel compared to single-wides.

Multi-Section Manufactured Homes

These are the largest types, consisting of three or more separate units. They offer extensive floor plan variety and closely resemble traditional site-built houses. Triple-wides are ideal for those needing ample space and can include luxurious features like walk-in closets and custom ceilings.

Trailers as Mobile Homes

Trailers, also known as travel trailers or caravans, are sometimes used as mobile homes, particularly for vacation purposes or temporary living situations. While they share some similarities with mobile homes, trailers are generally smaller and designed for temporary accommodation, often towed behind a vehicle for mobility.

Why Do People Put Tires on Their Roof?

People put tires on their roofs for several reasons. Some of these reasons are valid while most of them have no scientific base. However, we will discuss all of them and then debunk those that are based on misconceptions:

  1. To prevent roof rumbling
  2. To prevent roof lifting
  3. Protection from lightening
  4. Provide insulation
  5. Provide pest control
  6. Environmental considerations

To Prevent Roof Rumbling

The most common and valid reason for putting tires on the roof is the roof rumbling vibrations. Putting tires on roofs can be an effective solution to the problem of roof rumbling. Roof rumbling is a noise issue due to the roof’s reaction to environmental factors like wind or thermal changes.

The weight of a tire can act as an anchor, stabilizing lightweight roofing materials. This prevents the materials from vibrating in windy conditions, thus eliminating the cause of the rumbling sound.

Moreover, the rubber material of tires has inherent properties that can absorb and dampen vibrations. When placed on roofs, tires can reduce the vibrations which is particularly beneficial for metal roofs prone to such noises.

To Prevent Roof Lifting

People often place tires on their roofs as a protective measure against strong winds. The weight of the tires helps to anchor the roofing materials, reducing the risk of lifting during storms or high-wind events. However, this is a misconception and we will debunk it in the next section.

Protection from Lightening

Placing tires on roofs is believed by some to offer protection against lightning strikes, although this belief is more of a myth than a scientific fact.

The idea is that the metal roof is a conductor and can attract lightning. Rubber tires, being insulators, could somehow protect a building from lightning strikes. We will debunk this myth in the next section.

Provide Insulation

It is also believed that the air trapped inside tires makes them effective insulators. This quality is particularly beneficial in controlling the internal temperature of a home.

During winter, the tires help retain heat within the house, and in the summer, they can assist in reflecting the sun’s rays, thereby keeping the house cooler. This dual-action insulating capability contributes to more consistent indoor temperatures and can lead to reduced energy costs​​.

Provide Pest Control

Tires on roofs can also function as a pest control measure. By blocking potential entry points, the thick rubber of tires can help prevent vermin and other pests from entering the house. This method is considered a cost-effective alternative to more traditional pest control techniques​​. Is it also a myth? Let’s see in the next section.

Environmental Considerations

Using old tires on roofs is also seen as an environmentally friendly practice. It provides an alternative use for used tires, which might otherwise contribute to landfill waste. This recycling approach aligns with broader environmental sustainability efforts by reducing waste and repurposing materials that are difficult to decompose​​.

Myths and Misconceptions

While these are the primary reasons for placing tires on roofs, there are also myths and misconceptions surrounding this practice. Some believe that tires can attract lightning or cause other safety hazards. However, these claims lack scientific backing and are not valid reasons for the practice.

  1. Myth #1: Tires Prevent Lightning Strikes: The belief that rubber tires can prevent lightning strikes on roofs is a myth. Lightning protection systems usually involve conductive materials like metal rods, which direct the lightning strike safely to the ground. This mechanism is entirely different from what rubber tires could offer. Tires on a roof do not provide any protection against lightning.
  2. Myth #2: Metal Roofs Attract Lightning: While metal conducts electricity, it doesn’t attract lightning. A complex interplay of atmospheric conditions guides lightning strikes, and they do not strike metal roofs more likely than other materials. Proper lightning safety involves a comprehensive grounding system, not the avoidance of metal roofing.
  3. Myth #3: Strong Winds Can Easily Displace Metal Roofs of Mobile Homes: Modern mobile homes are designed to withstand strong winds, adhering to rigorous construction standards. The idea that adding tires can counteract winds strong enough to dislodge a heavy metal roof is flawed. If winds are powerful enough to lift a heavy roof, they could also displace the tires. Mobile homes undergo testing to ensure they can endure various weather conditions, including high winds.
  4. Myth #4: Tires on Roofs Serve as Pest Control: Contrary to the belief that tires can prevent pest infestations, they can actually become an ideal breeding ground for insects, especially if they collect water. Proper pest control involves sealing potential entry points and maintaining cleanliness, not placing tires on the roof.

What Are Rubber Roof Shingles?

Rubber roof shingles are an innovative roofing material made from recycled tires. They mimic the appearance of traditional shingles but offer enhanced durability and weather resistance. These shingles are eco-friendly, as they repurpose rubber that would otherwise end up in landfills.

They’re famous for their longevity and low maintenance needs and can improve a home’s energy efficiency due to their insulating properties. Rubber roof shingles represent a sustainable alternative to modern roofing, combining aesthetics with environmental consciousness.

Should You Put Tires On Your Roof?

Placing whole tires on your roof is generally not recommended. While they may provide temporary solutions for issues like roof rumbling, most of the reasons and not valid. Additionally, they can attract pests and violate building codes or homeowner association regulations.

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