Roof Types: Everything You Need To Know

Different Roof Types

When it comes to the architectural makeup of a building, the roof is a crucial aspect that goes beyond just providing shelter. It contributes to the overall aesthetic, defines the architectural style, and offers resilience against diverse weather patterns.

With the evolution of architectural designs, the types and styles of roofs have diversified extensively. This article delves into the various roof types, their characteristics, and what you should know when choosing one.

7 Commonly Used Roof Types

For every homeowner, here is a list of 7 commonly used roof types. When you are constructing your home, you should know which type of roof you need to have for your house.

1. Gable Roofs

The gable roof, also known as a pitched or peaked roof, is one of the most popular roof types in the US. This style features two sloping sides that come together at the top to form a ridge, creating a triangular shape known as a ‘gable’.

Gable roofs allow for effective water drainage, provide ample space for an attic, and are relatively easy to build. However, in areas with high winds or hurricanes, these roofs might not be the best choice as the open gable can catch wind like a sail.

2. Hip Roofs

Hip roofs have four sloping sides of the same length that meet at the top to form a ridge. This design offers more stability than the gable roof and is excellent for both high wind and snowy areas, as the slant allows snow to easily slide off.

Hip roofs also provide extra living space for an attic or a vaulted ceiling. Their complexity, however, can make them more expensive to build.

3. Mansard Roofs

Originating from France, Mansard roofs (or French roofs) feature four sides with two slopes on each side. The lower slope is steeper than the upper one, and often, the sides can flare out to give an aesthetically pleasing finish.

The design allows for increased living or storage space at the top of the house. However, Mansard roofs are not suitable for areas with heavy snowfall due to their low pitch.

4. Flat Roofs

Flat roofs, as the name suggests, appear to be entirely flat but usually have a slight pitch to allow for water runoff and drainage. These roofs are common for commercial buildings and modern, urban residential designs.

The surface can be utilised for various purposes like a living garden, a rooftop patio, or solar panels. Despite their functionality, a flat roof requires more maintenance to prevent leaks.

5. Gambrel Roofs

Gambrel roofs, or barn roofs, are similar to Mansard roofs but with only two sides instead of four. Each side has a shallow slope above a steeper one. The design is characteristic of Dutch colonial and Georgian-style homes.

Gambrel roofs provide ample space for an attic, loft, or living quarters and are relatively easy to construct. However, they might not fare well in areas with high winds or heavy snow.

6. Shed Roofs

Shed roofs, also known as lean-to roofs or pent roofs, are a single, sloping roof surfaces, often attached to a taller wall. This design is common for home additions, porches, and sheds.

Shed roofs are simple and economical to construct, allow for easy water runoff, and can be designed to provide natural light into the structure. However, they might not be the best choice for high-wind areas.

7. Butterfly Roofs

Butterfly roofs are a more modern, eco-friendly design, with two tandem pieces angled up on either side to form a ‘V’ shape. The design is perfect for collecting and managing rainwater and for high solar panel placement.

However, butterfly roofs can be complex to construct and can require significant maintenance due to drainage complexities.

Choosing a New Roof

Choosing a roof type depends on various factors such as the architectural style of your home, local weather conditions, your budget, and personal preferences.

A professional roofer can help you make the best decision for your building. Remember, a well-chosen roof not only protects your home from the elements but also adds significant value to your property.