Your tiny house will need a roofing system that will perform all of the duties of a roof for any sized structure on a much smaller scale. The forces of nature that come against a stationary, large house will come against your tiny house…with a few extras thrown in. Mobility brings extra wind, stress and sometimes rapid climate changes. All of this will be spaced over 300 instead of 3000 square feet.
Tiny House Roofing Systems
Ventilation and No Condensation
Tiny houses generate moisture inside from cooking, bathing, and laundry no different than other houses. It is important that any consistent sources of moisture inside the home be vented to the outside so as to prevent the warm moist air inside the home reaching dew point and condensing in the home’s exterior skin. If possible, roof assembles should include ventilation with an even balance of intake air and exhaust air. A solid roof deck as part of the roof assembly will help avoid condensation issues, as will a vapor barrier behind the home’s walls and ceilings. Insulation, ventilation, and vapor barriers are keys to avoiding dangerous mold and mildew inside a home or attic.
A small home can be a very loud home, especially during storms or even in busy areas if it has not been designed for quietness. The keys to a quiet roof system are insulation and air spaces. Many roofing materials rest right against the roof decking, conducting sound quickly into the living space below. Other roofing materials, such as formed metal shingles, include an integral airspace or even an insulated airspace which stops that immediate conduction of rain noise. Adding roof decking, at least a small attic space, and as much attic insulation as possible will also help dramatically with sound deadening. If rain noise is a particular concern, you may wish to re-consider skylights or at least look for sound deadening skylights.
An energy efficient home envelope accomplishes several things for owners of tiny homes. First, it makes the home more comfortable and enjoyable. Second, it helps to reduce energy costs. And, third, it is the green choice. While wintertime energy efficiency is achieved with insulation, the roof system offers great opportunity for summer energy savings as it is the primary source of summer heat gain. The use of light colored roofing or roofing with reflective pigments for coloring can be very helpful and even include a US Energy Star rating. Additionally, roofing materials that are formed with an integral air space as a thermal break, or with insulation, can also help keep summer heat outside.
Consider the importance of roofing materials with little thermal mass, such as metal products: materials with high thermal mass will absorb heat during the day and continue to radiate that heat into the home even after the sun has gone down.
Finally, consider the option of awnings or roof overhang extensions that can be bolted onto the sides of the home to help protect the home’s walls from the sun’s rays as well.
Your tiny home requires a complete roofing system for optimum performance and comfort.