Roof Types – There are many things must be considered well when you are building a new house or retrofitting the old one.
You must choose carefully the right type of roof that fits to your home style and need.
It might be little bit difficult than what you realize, because you may have no idea about what are the types of roof, function, pros and cons.
Roofs function to protect your house and its occupants from many elements outside, yes it is the basic practical purpose of roof itself.
For instance, the shape of roof plays an important role in defining the overall look and style of a house.
Also, roof can provide the additional space for living which is energy efficient, weather-proof, to make your home more resilient.
Roofs are the way of home architecture, not only protection of your home from the outside element.
It gives your home style and identity. This article will help you to understand the best roof shape that fits to your home, garage, shed or a place you are going to build.
Here you also can find the recommended materials for the common roof types so you can build it appropriately.
1. Gable Roof
Gable roof is also known as pitched or peaked roof. It is of the most popular roofs in the US.
It has triangular shape making it can be easily recognized.
Pros: This kind of roof will easily shed water and snow, also provide more space for the vaulted ceiling and home attic.
Besides, it also allows the more ventilation for better air circulation.
Gable roof has simple design which makes it easy to build and relatively more affordable than others with more complex designs.
Cons: Gable roof can cause a problem especially in hurricane areas and high wind areas.
The roof can easily collapse when the frames are not properly constructed with enough supports.
Also, the high winds may cause the materials to peel away from the roof.
When there is too much overhang, winds even can create the uplift underneath then may cause the gable roof to detach from the walls.
So, gable roof may not be suitable for high wind areas, but if you still want to use it, make sure that you construct it properly with braces and immediately check the roof after large storm to ensure damage may occurred.
Suggested materials: to construct gable roof properly, the materials you can choose are shingles, cedar shakes, clay, concrete tiles, and metal.
When the roof contains valleys and hips, add shingles, standing seam or metal shingles to prevent roof leaks.
Notice as well that it is recommended to use at least a 10/12
Note: It is recommended to use at least a 10/12 pitch or 40° angle, for snowy regions.
Types of Gable Roofs
Side gable: Side gable is the first kind of gable roof which is basic pitched roof.
This kind of roof has two equal panels pitched at an angle, then they meet at a ridge in the middle of house.
Meanwhile, its triangle section may be left open for an open gable roof, or enclosed for a boxed gable roof.
Crossed gable: there are two gable roof sections which put together at a right angle, perpendicular to each other.
The pitches, heights and lengths may or may not differ from each other.
This kind of roof is an excellent roof type for homes with separate wings.
The cross gable roof can be used to accent different rooms of your home.
Also, the is roof mostly found in Cape Cod and Tudor styles houses.
Front gable: this kind of gable roof is placed at the house entrance. You can see the style of roof in Colonial style houses.
Dutch Gable Roof: A hybrid of a gable and hip roof, then it is called as dutch gable roof.
The gable roof is placed at the top of the hip roof to enhance the aesthetic appeal and provide more spaces.
2. Hip Roof
The type of roof with slopes on all four sides is called as hip roof. Each sides are all equal length so they come together at the top to form the ridge.
Pros: if compared to gable roof, hip roofs are more stable. It has inward slope of the sides making it more durable and sturdy.
Also, for high wind and snowy areas, the hip roof can perform excellently.
The roof also has slant allowing snows to easily slide off with no standing water.
This kind of roof can provide extra living space with the addition or crow’s nest or dormer.
Note: to use hip roof in high wind areas or strong storm, it is very recommended a pitch of 4/12-6/12 (18.5°-26.5° angle).
Cons: if compared to gable roof, hip roof could be more expensive. It has the more complex design and requires more building materials.
There is also addition of dormer, and when the roofing system is not installed properly, it is easier for the water leaks to form in the valleys.
Note: make sure that the roof is constructed and maintained properly to proper issues and major problems.
Suggested Materials: To construct hip roofs, you can use almost any type of roofing materials including metal, tiles and shingles.
Types of Hip Roofs
Simple hip: simple hip is the most common used of hip roof with polygon on two sides and a triangle on two sides.
All sides come together at the top to form the simple ridge.
Cross Hipped: This kind of roof is similar to a cross gable roof, and use separate hip roofs on house with different wings.
There is a line where the two roofs meet and it is called a valley. Make sure you do proper waterproofing because the valleys can allow water to pool.
Half Hipped: It is a kind of standard hip roof which has two sides shortened to create the eaves.
3. Mansard Roof
Mansard roof is also well-known as French roof. It is a four-sided roof with a double slope on each side.
The sides meet each other and form a low-pitched roof. Also, the lower slope is steeper than the upper, with sides can be either flat or curved.
It depends on the style of home itself.
Pros: Mansard roofs can provide great deal for extra living space.
Also, you can use the space with full attic or living quarters which is usually called as garret.
For more aesthetical appeal, the style can be either open or closed dormers depending on your need.
It also provides flexibility to make future home additions. It also allows you to save more money when you decide to build simple mansard design to start off.
Then, the dormers or garret can be added later. This kind of roof allows you to change the additions depending on your need. Moreover, it adds value to your house.
Cons: For areas with heavy snowfall, low pitched portion of mansard roof isn’t ideal.
Also, mansard roof is highly cost if compared to the other type of roof because it requires embellishments and details that go into them.
The added space also can more than make up for the extra cost of its initial construction.
Suggested materials: Mansard roof has unique design, and choosing material also must be done very carefully.
Many kinds of metal like copper or zinc for the steep portion of the roof can be more expensive at the initial, but then it requires much less maintenance making it a good option for long-term use.
To make mansard roof stand out, you can use wood or slate shingles in a diamond pattern.
Overlapping composition shingles should not be used in this type of roof. In a regular pattern, asphalt shingles can be used on the steeper portion.
Anyway, most roofing materials can be used to build mansard roof, but be aware of its low slope.
Make sure you flash it properly and make sure to waterproof it to protect the roof’s integrity.
Types of Mansard Roofs
You can build mansard roof in various silhouettes such as straight-angle, convex or concave.
4. Gambrel Roof
Gambrel roof is also well-known as barn roof, with mansard roof sense with two different slopes.
The difference between the two types of roof is that the gambrel roof has only two sides, meanwhile mansard roof has four.
The lower side of the gambrel roof has an almost vertical and steep slobe while the upper slope is much lower. It is similar to mansard roof.
You can see this kind of roof in barn style houses, farm style houses and log cabins.
You also can find it in Dutch Colonial and Georgian style homes.
Pros: Like the mansard roof type, Gambrel roof also provides the more living space for attic, loft and garret.
It will be very simple to frame out, as well.
Gambrel roof also only uses two roof beams along the gusset joints. The construction is very simple with less materials needed, so you can cut down the cost of building roof.
Also, for the outdoor sheds and storage buildings, gambrel roof will be a great option.
It has special shape which provides more storages without taking up the more space.
Cons: For heavy wind areas or areas with significant snowfall, this kind of roof is less recommended.
Its open design may cause the roof to collapse under the extreme weather and pressure.
Also, gambrel roof needs to be well constructed, well waterproofed at the ridges and well maintained on its regular basis.
Do inspection each year to check damage especially after storm and heavy snow or rainfall.
To add light to extra space, you can add windows but it has pros and cons. The windows may increase water leaks chances to occur.
But everyone knows that it can add to the overall home beauty.
Suggested materials: To build gambrel roof, the material used will depend on the style of the house.
Asphalt, slate shingles or wood are widely used to construct this roof.
However, metal also will be a very great option to cut down cost for maintenance in the future.
Note: When you are going to build Gambrel roof in in extreme weather areas, insist on reinforced trusses, especially on its upper pitch.
5. Flat Roof
As the name suggests, this kind of roof appear completely no pits, it is flat.
However, there is a slight pitch allowing water run-off and drainage.
Mostly, this kind of roof is used in industrial or commercial buildings.
If you love this roof style, you also can use it in residential house in both low and high rainfall areas.
Pros: Flat roof will provide Extra living space on the roof for a patio or garden.
You may also build penthouse room. You also can use it to place heating or cooling units to keep them out of sight.
Therefore, it is very practical in commercial roof design. Also, if you want to install PV solar panels for more energy efficient, this roof can support it.
For the construction, flat roof will be easier than pitched roof. It also costs down because it needs fewer building materials.
Cons: The flat roof is more susceptible to water leakage because it has low pitch.
For high rainfall and snowfall area, this kind of roof is less recommended.
The initial cost of building roof is less expensive than pitched roof, but it requires more maintenance and ongoing roof repair and replacement costs.
Suggesting materials: Use materials which is continuous with no seams to make sure the roof is imperative.
Tar and gravel, roll roofing, metal sheets, PVC, TPO, and rubber membrane are good choice.
Note: This kind of roof are on the rise in popularity. It is pleasing and energy efficient.
To create layers, you can use beneficial plant life, soil, drainage, and waterproofing membrane.
6. Skillion Roof
Skillion roof is a single, sloping roof, which is usually attached to a taller wall, is also referred to as a shed roof or lean-to.
It is a half of a pitched-roof, more to the angled roof. It is mostly used for home additions such as for porches and sheds.
However, these days, the roof is mostly used in modern style homes structure.
Pros: Skillion roofs are easier to assemble. They also use fewer building materials than the other types of roof.
The pitches are steep allowing water and snow to easily run off. So it is excellent for areas with high rain or snowfall.
To add architectural interest and aesthetic appeal, skillions are also excellent.
Cons: When the pitch is too high, the ceiling will be too low. Also, for high wind areas, the roof may have problems.
Suggested Materials: Rubber skins and roofing membranes can be eliminated to construct the roof because the roof has steep incline.
Use standing seam rather than tiles or shingles for the streamlined look. PVC solar panels is also recommended to be installed for Eco-friendly and energy independent home.
7. Jerkinhead Roof
Using both gable and hip roof elements, this kind of roof is called jerkinhead roof.
It is gable roof with hipped ends or hip roof with two short sides, may be referred as well as clipped gable or English hip roofs.
Pros: The roofs are more stable than regular gable roof. It also more resistant to wind damage.
They also can provide more space than a traditional hip roof. With the higher pitch, the roofs also offer more living space with better reinforcement.
For architectural appealing, the roofs are also excellent.
Cons: The roofs have the more complex design making higher cost for building.
Suggested Materials: You can build the roofs with most any roofing material.
8. Butterfly Roof
A proof which has V-shaped roof constructed of two tandem pieces which are angled up on the outside is butterfly roof.
The roofs have midsection which is angled downward and the two pieces meet into a valley. For modern and tropical style homes, the roofs are very popular.
Pros: It has upper angle of the outer edges allowing you to use larger windows.
Of course, it provides more natural light, lower heating bills in the winter. It is great to provide open feel to home design.
The valley also allows rainwater to be collected, so it is beneficial for high drought areas.
Also, the roofs are really good to incorporate with PV solar panels, water collection systems and natural light so it is good for environmentally friendly home design.
Cons: The design is so complex making the roofs are more expensive. It also needs higher upfront costs, and its maintenance will also be more expensive.
When drainage systems clogged, water may pool or leak causing weaken the pillars over time.
Then it also may cause the roof to collapse.
It is also more difficult to regulate the temperature throughout the home because its open design and tall windows.
Suggested Materials: You can use solid continuous membrane with no seams, metal, organic materials or solar panels.
9. Bonnet Roof
Also known as kicked-eaves, bonnet roofs are double sloped with the lower slope set at less of an angle than the upper slope.
It is the reverse of Mansard. The roofs have lower slope hangs over the side making it an excellent cover for an open porch.
In modern style homes, the bonnet roofs are not commonly used. Mostly, you can find the roofs in French Vernacular in regions of Louisiana and Mississippi.
Pros: The roofs have upper slope providing extra living space for a small attic or vaulted ceilings.
With overhanging eaves, you both can protect porch and walls from water damage.
water can run off easily the slopes of the roof and the modified hip structure.
So the roofs are more durable than gable roof.
Cons: The roofs need complex design requiring more building materials. They are also more difficult to construct.
Therefore, the roofs cost higher than other kind of roof with simpler design.
Also, the valleys are formed where the two slopes meet, which may cause snow and water to pool.
Do extra precaution by waterproofing these areas.
Suggested materials: The roofs can be made from most any type of material, including natural stone, metal and shingles.
10. Saltbox Roof
Roofs with asymmetrical in design is salt box. The roof has one side being more of slightly sloping flat roof and the other more of a lean to, also with gables at each end.
The roofs are mostly found early Colonial and Cape Cod designs houses.
People realized that it is possible to add the more space with less material by adding a lean to roof.
Pros: The roofs can make water to run off easily with the slope, so they are good for heavy rain area.
Also, the asymmetrical design makes it more durable. The roofs also provide more living space by making a home one and a half to two stories.
Cons: It requires tricky design making the building cost higher. There is also not much living space provided if compared to a regular pitched roof.
Some of the rooms may have slanted ceilings.
Suggested Materials: The roofs can be made from most building materials.
11. Sawtooth Roof
The roof which is two or more parallel pitched roofs in which the sloped and vertical surfaces alternate is called Sawtooth roof.
The roof resembles the side view of a saw blade as the name suggests. This kind of roof mostly used on commercial industrial buildings, but today it is used in modern home design.
Pros: The roof provides window to be placed in vertical spaces. It allows more natural light inside the home.
Besides, its higher peaks also can provide the opportunity for either vaulted ceilings or loft living space.
For homes with eco-friendly convenience such as geothermal, solar panels and radiant heating systems, the roof can be an excellent choice.
Cons: This kind of roof has the more complex design requiring higher cost as well.
Besides, it also requires high maintenance roof. Also, it may cause problem for water leaks because of its windows and valleys.
So it is less recommended in areas receiving heavy snowfall.
Suggested Materials: Sawtooth roof can be constructed with wood, steel or reinforced concrete depending on the style of the house.
12. Curved Roof
This kind of roof is much like the Skillion, or Shed roof with the curved planes.
The roof can provide modern, creative and unique design. The amount of curve can vary from slightly curved up to the arch shape.
Pros: The roofs are aesthetically pleasing and will be a good option to provide subtle shapes inside the home.
The curved roofs are used to cover the entire home or a single section. You also can customize the design to be advantageous to the region the home is being built.
In the high wind areas, you can build lower slope. Meanwhile, for the areas receiving more snowfall, you can have more of an arch to allow water to run-off.
Cons: The cost might be higher depending on the complexity of the design.
Suggested Materials: Metal is the best material for curved roofs.
13. Pyramid Roof
The roof is a type of hip roof with four sides come to a point at the top of the roof.
You will not find vertical sides or gables. For smaller building such as bungalows and cabins, the roof is ideal to use.
Pool houses, garages and storage buildings with auxiliary structures are also excellent with Pyramid roof.
Pros: this kind of roof could be extremely resistant to strong winds. So, for areas with high-wind, it will be an excellent architectural choice.
The roof also has more slopes providing extra space for ventilation, attics or high ceilings. It will be less energy cost.
Cons: The cost to construct the roofs will be higher due to the complexity of the design.
14. Dome Roof
Dome roof has polygonal with an inverted bowl shape which are very great for adding unique and aesthetically pleasing features to any style of home.
Also, they are excellent for cupolas, gazebos or crow’s nests.
Pros: Dome roofs are both durable and beautiful in design.
Cons: Dome roofs require complex design making it requires higher cost as well.
Suggested Materials: shingles, metal and even glass can be used to construct dome roofs.
However, if you want dome roof with less maintenance, metal is suggested.
15. Combination Roof
There is a type of roof that incorporating the design of various roofs on the same structure.
It is done for aesthetic and practical reasons. For instance, you may build a hip roof with a gable roof over dormers and a skillion over the porch.
Pros: Combination roof offers architectural interest to any house. It also will be a great way to build roof for each section according to where it works best.
Cons: Due to complexity, the cost will be much more expensive than the other types of roofing.
It will require more building materials and labor costs. Also, joining different roofs will add more ridges and valleys where water can pool and leak.
It might be little bit exhausting to choose the right roof, but after reading this article you know what you should choose.
Choose the type of roof depending on the area you live. For instance, for home in snowy area, a higher pitched roof can be a good choice.
It works best to easily shed off high accumulations of snow.
After you narrowed down the choices, consider your needs. Do you need eco-friendly house?
Or do you need extra space? lastly, do consideration as well about the style of home.
Do these considerations well and deeply so that you can build the best roof for your dream house.