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How do I build a permanent roof for a trailer?

Updated February 21, 2017

While trailers can be an alternative to home ownership for those who cannot afford to buy a house, over time the roof may need to be repaired or replaced. Some trailer owners choose to replace the original trailer roof with a permanent roof. Building a permanent trailer roof can be a do-it-yourself project or contracted out to a team of professionals. As with a traditional house roof, different options are available for a permanent roof, such as a metal roof laid on top of existing roof, shingle roof over existing roof or peaked roof that rests on an independent structure.

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  1. Dig holes around the perimeter of the trailer, spaced approximately 8-10 feet apart. Posts should be placed against the trailer exterior or a few inches away

  2. Place pressure treated posts in holes and cement around posts.

  3. Cut beams to the proper length to fit around the perimeter of the trailer and attach them to the top of the 4-by-4 posts with hammer and nails.

  4. Cut 2-by-4 lumber to the proper length to form rafters. Nail rafters to the beams that run along the perimeter of the trailer.

  5. Cut plywood decking to the proper size and nail them to the rafters.

  6. Apply tarpaper to decking, nailing it down with roofing nails if using shingles. If using metal roofing, skip to next step.

  7. Nail the shingles to the tar-papered deck or, if using metal, use screws to attach metal roofing to decking.

  8. Tip

    Use prebuilt roof trusses for each end of the trailer roof structure. Nail decking to the trusses on the end of roof structure and apply siding to match trailer to enclose trailer roof.


    Measure rafters long enough to give a roof overhang of 8-12 inches. If installing a metal roof wear slip-resistant shoes.

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Things You'll Need

  • 4-by-4 pressure treated lumber posts
  • 2-by-6 Wooden beams
  • 2-by-4 lumber for rafters
  • Plywood decking
  • Cement
  • Post hole diggers
  • Metal roofing or shingles
  • Screws and power screwdriver for metal roofing
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Ladder
  • Tarpaper

About the Author

Paul Young started writing professionally in 2008. His writings have been published on various websites, including U.K. van insurance site, The Van Insurer, and its sister site, The Bike Insurer. Young focuses his writing on news articles about the motorcycle and commercial vehicle industries, environmental projects, information technology and money and finance. Young is involved in ministry.

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