Types Of Roofs – 12 Common Roof Styles


There are various types of roofs, each providing a different purpose and being better suited to specific weather conditions and architectural designs. Knowing which and what is best for your needs can be a daunting task.

In this article, we have compiled a list of common types of roofs used in construction to help you filter through the many roofing options and determine which is ideal for your project.

Common Types Of Roofs

A roof is the structure’s highest component that serves as a structural covering to protect it from the elements. Understanding the benefits and downsides of these common roof types may help you take better care of your home, whether you’re planning to build or maintain your current roof.

Roofs To Choose From

1. Gable Roof

This is one of the most common types of roofs. This roof has two slopes on each side that meet at the apex. Gable roofs can be steep or shallow, depending on the building’s needs.

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Gable Roof
Source: pontevedrafocus.com

Gable roofs feature a slope that allows water and snow to drain off, and the basic form allows for quick and inexpensive construction. Gable roofs are a great choice for any architectural style.

Its benefits include being simpler to construct and manage. A gable roof is not suggested for locations prone to high winds or storms. They are preferable for areas prone to rain, snow, and ice.

2. Gambrel Roof

Gambrel roofs are similar to gable roofs, except they have two pairs of identical slopes on each side of the roof. A roof with two slopes on each side, similar to a gable roof, but instead of meeting at the top, the peak is located in the center.

Gambrel Roof

These rooftops date back to the Dutch colonial era, although they are now commonly seen on homes and barns. Gambrel roofs have a simpler and more elegant design than gable roofs and are just as simple and inexpensive to build.

When it rains, the pitch allows for enough water to drain away. Because of their steep top slope, gambrel roofs cannot bear a considerable snow load. These roofs also do not perform well in hurricane-prone areas.

3. Hip Roof

Hip roofs are characterized by four steep sides that converge to form an apex or ridge. Hip roofs provide their internal support and can withstand heavy winds, making them an excellent choice for hurricane-prone areas.

Hip Roof
Source: prodom.sk

They not only improve the appearance of a home but also assist water and snow sliding off the roof, making them ideal for places prone to heavy winds, hurricanes, rain, ice, or snow.

Hip roofs are more expensive than gable roofs but offer additional stability and storage space. Hip roofs are more prone to water damage than other types of roofs because they have multiple seams. 

4. Bonnet Roof

A bonnet roof is a hip roof with four corners and a slight inclination at the bottom. They are modified hip roofs to be more wind resistant than regular hip and gable roofs.

Source: remodelingcosts.org

This type of roof extends beyond the exterior walls of the house and provides shade in the form of a bonnet. Its hipped components allow for installing an excellent gutter system while also making it wind resistant.

It is an expensive venture to construct structures with bonnet roofs. They also have a lot of seams, which increases the chance of water damage. This is an excellent choice for places prone to heavy winds, hurricanes, rain, ice, or snow.

5. Butterfly Roof

Butterfly roofs have two sloping sides that meet in a central valley, as opposed to gable roofs, with two parallel sloping sides converging at the apex. These one-of-a-kind roofs are designed in the style of the mid-twentieth century.

Butterfly Roof
Source: hive.blog

A butterfly roof’s slope promotes water drainage, making it a good alternative for rainwater harvesting. The aerodynamic design operates effectively in high-wind conditions.

Butterfly roofs are relatively expensive to build and not ideal for places that receive a lot of snow. These roofs are prone to leaking if snow accumulates on the roof’s crest. They are best suited to arid desert regions and areas prone to high winds.

6. Shed Roof

A shed roof, also known as a skillion roof, is the most basic type of roof. It is made of a single flat panel that slants to one side, typically the back of the structure where water drains.

Source: designtrends.com

The basic design is appropriate for rustic cabins. These roofs can be used in many architectural styles. A shed roof can be built for a reasonable cost and is ideal for both modern dwellings and barns.

The slope of these roofs provides for more efficient snow and water drainage. Storms with high winds may cause roof damage. In snowy areas, a shed roof is typically built with a steep slope to shed snow runoff better.

7. Mansard Roof

The Mansard roof is a hybrid form that incorporates aspects of the hip roof and the gambrel roof. It has four hipped sides, but each side has two slopes, creating the impression that the roof is curved.

Source: homesthetics.net

The mansard roof is also known as curb roof and french roof. These roofs are expensive to install due to their complicated design and detailing, but they add property value to a home.

Mansard roof has a steep top pitch to keep water and snow from running off. As a result, such roofs are the most vulnerable to damage from extreme weather. 

8. Dutch Roof

Build a hip roof, then add a gable roof on top to create a Dutch gabled roof. The gabled section, or gablet, rises from the hip section and extends the top, resulting in two short gable ends ideal for windows. If you want to convert your attic into a living space, this is the roof for you.

Dutch Gable Roof
Source: myteamengineering.com

However, it is far more complex and expensive to construct than a gable or hip roof because it has more potentially leaky seams. This product is ideal for places prone to rain, ice, snow, or wind.

9. Pyramid Roof

A pyramid roof is a hip roof variant. Its four sides meet in the center to form the shape of an ancient Egyptian pyramid. Pyramid roofs can be found on smaller residences, gazebos, sheds, cottages, and even tropical bungalows.

Source: vcalc.com

They are particularly weather-resistant since they lack gables and vertical sides and hence are ideal for places prone to heavy winds, hurricanes, rain, ice, or snow. They provide enough space for a drain pipe and have the potential to make a house or other structure appear higher.

Pyramid roofs feature many seams, which increases the chances of leaks. They are considerably more expensive to construct than a traditional gable. 

10. Flat Roof

Flat roofs are another prevalent roof form. They are exceptionally low-sloped to allow water runoff. Flat roofs allow future floors to be added to a home and pair well with open floor ideas.

Flat Roof
Source: dream-plans.com

They also require routine maintenance to ensure the sealants remain intact. Most people associate flat roofs with strip malls and industrial developments. Flat roofs suited the aesthetic of the time, blending in with the environment and allowing for big open floor plans. 

11. Curved Roof

Curved roof systems provide a contemporary shape and feel, with a curved arch at either end. Curves can be used to create stunning arched entrances or as wing expansions on commercial premises.

Source: klauslarsen.com

A curved roof is a very modern and appealing aspect of any building. Curved roofs aid in wind resistance but are usually chosen for the excellent aesthetic value they may add to a structure.

These roofs are exceptionally weather-resistant and suitable for all weather situations, but installation requires specialized labor, making them an expensive alternative. 

12. Jerkinhead Roof

Jerkinhead roofs, also known as bullnose and clipped gable roofs, combine aspects of both gable and hip roofs. Jerkinhead roofs are gable roofs with chopped parts on both ends.

The cut ends of jerkinhead roofs make them more wind resistant than regular gable roofs. These roofs feature a steep pitch that promotes water and snow drainage.

Jerkinhead Roof
Source: homestratosphere.com

They are more expensive to construct as compared to standard gable roofs. They are excellent for places prone to heavy winds, hurricanes, ice, rain, and snow.

Conclusion: 

The type of roof chosen is influenced by the shape or design of a building, the climatic conditions of a place, and the sort of construction materials available.

I hope this article has given you insights into the common types of roofs and helped you determine which roof type is best for your home.

However, if you are unable to choose and are considering a change in roof style or need to replace your existing roof, a local roofing professional can help you determine the best roof type for you.

Also Read

Types Of Roofing Sheets
Types Of Patio Roof
Types Of Roof Tiles
Types Of Roof Vents

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