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While many people never really think about the shape of their roof, it actually has a lot to do with the character and personality of their home. While some roof shapes were popularized by the architecture of the era, like when flat roofs started gaining popularity in the 60s and 70s due to the modern architectural movement, many are dictated by the weather in a certain region, the stylistic preference of the architect, or the cost of the design. Read on to learn about some of the 10 most popular roof types across America.

Gable Roof



A gable roof is the roof a child draws when they’re making a painting of a home. It looks like an inverted “V”, where the two slopes are angled evenly and meet up in the middle of a structure. There are several common variations on the gable roof including winged gables, cross gables, and box gables.

The gable roof is one of the most common roofs in America. It’s the simplest to install, but has a ton of diversity due to the variety of slope options available. Many homes that have gable roofs look nothing alike just because of the differences in slope!

Pros and Cons

While a gable roof is cheap, easily ventilated, offers simple solar panel installation, and is a great canvas for exterior house design, it does come with some downsides. This roof is not recommended for people who live in areas with high winds and snow, as often even the smallest mistake in assembly or installation can cause the roof to collapse (in case of heavy snow) or tear off (in case of high winds).
  • Winged Gable Roof: The winged gable roof has the same basic design as a regular gable roof, but varies at the very bottom of the slope. Instead of continuing along the same slope, the very tips of the roof are winged slightly upwards at a less extreme angle than the original slope.
  • Cross Gable Roof: Cross gable roofs are normal gable roofs that have small outcroppings that extend at right angles from the base roofing structure. There can be more than one cross section on the roof, and these are generally extended nooks with windows. The most common joinings are “T” or “L” shaped.
  • Box Gable Roof: To create a boxed gable roof, the regular gable structure is enclosed at either end. This emphasizes the triangle shape of the structure and makes the design a little more unique. Box gable designs often have additional embellishments and windows along the enclosed section.

Pyramid Roof



Reminiscent of the ancient pyramids of Giza, the pyramid roof is shaped with four sloping sides that meet in a single point in the middle. Pyramid roofs can be one section of a much larger, multi-roof complex, but can also be used on small structures like a garage or pool house.

Pros

Some of the benefits of pyramid roofs include resistance to high winds, beautiful aesthetic, and lower energy bills. The aerodynamic shape of the roof is less likely to be damaged by extreme weather conditions, while the overhangs around the entire structure add shade that keeps homes cooler in warm weather.

Cons 

Unfortunately, pyramid roofs can be more expensive to install and replace because of the larger surface area of this style. It also has less usable interior attic space and can cause drainage and ventilation issues. This roof does not shed water well and is more likely to leak.

Hip Roof



A hip roof looks very much like a pyramid roof, but it has one major difference. Instead of the slopes coming to a single point at the top, the sides meet at a ridge that runs most of the length of the structure.

Pros

Due to the inward slope and added ridge of the roof, this style is more stable than gable roofs and is a great choice for high wind and snow areas. In fact, the slant of the rood forces snow to slide off easily. This style of roofing also offers extra living space when used in conjunction with a dormer.

Cons

Like pyramid roofs, hip roofs are a far more expensive option due to the cost of additional materials to cover all the extra surface area. It can also suffer from leaks because of the additional seems.

Bonnet Roof



Bonnet roofs are very common in Louisiana and Mississippi, as they are influenced by French style architecture. The sloping roof juts out much further than a pyramid or hip roof to provide cover for outdoor porches and verandas.

Pros

The bonnet roof provides shade for a cool rest area outside the home, as well as extra living space inside due to the vaulted ceiling. The overhanging slopes also provide extra protection for the wall from water damage.

Cons

Because the two slope angles vary, there may be an issue with water pooling where the slopes meet. You’ll need to add extra waterproofing protection in these areas as an added precaution. This is also a more expensive roofing design.

Flat Roof



The flat roof is easy to identify, as it’s just a flat surface covering a structure. This style of roofing rose to prominence in the 60s and 70s, and it’s the most obvious impact the modern architectural movement had on roofing.

Pros and Cons

The flat roof is the easiest to construct and is generally more accessible. It’s also great in warmer climates, as it provides additional living space for residents. The biggest drawback for this style of roof is that it can often gather a large amount of debris that has nowhere to go.

Shed Roof



 Also known as a skillion roof, the shed roof is a single sloping roof that’s usually attached to a tall wall. It’s sort of like an angled flat roof or half of a pitched roof. Originally, skillion roofs were used for home additions and sheds, but with today’s modern style homes, they’re often the main roofing structure by design.

Pros

Shed roofs are super easy to assemble and don’t need as much building materials as other roof types. The steep slope makes it easy for snow and water to run off, which is great in snowy and rainy regions.

Cons

This is not a roof that’s ideal for windy locales, as the winds can catch on the slope much like they would on the sail of a boat. A badly designed pitch can also result in very low ceilings and cramped living space.

Butterfly Roof



The butterfly roof is a very uncommon roof style, but it provides a very modern, elegant aesthetic. It’s meant to look like a butterfly’s wings in flight and is shaped like a very shallow “V”. It can seen as an inverted gable roof.

Pros

The butterfly roof is ideal in tropical locations and it’s very eco friendly. The style offers a lot ventilation and natural light and the valley midsection could be used to collect water and funnel it to a rain barrel or other reservoir.

Cons

While water collection is great, it necessitates much higher maintenance than regular roofs and waterproofing is essential. It’s also harder to regulate the internal temperature of a building with this roof style and the upfront installation costs are much higher.

Salt Box Roof



The salt box roof is a fascinating design with a very interesting exterior shape. It is a long pitched roof that is asymmetrical with one very long side and one short side. Sometimes home with this shape are one story on one side and two stories on the other.

Pros

This slore style makes it easy for water to run off, which is perfect for areas with heavy rain. The asymmetrical shape is also more durable in areas with lots of wind and rain, and provides additional living space.

Cons

This design inherently created slanted ceilings on the interior of a building, which many people don’t like. The building costs are also higher due to the tricky design and installation process.

Gambrel Roof



To most, the gambrel roof recalls a barn or farmhouse roof, but this is not the only place gambrel’s are appropriate. Many Dutch Colonial and Georgian style homes utilize this design. There are two side and two different slopes in this roof style — the upper side which has a lower slope and the lower side which has a very steep slope.

Pros

With only two roof beams and gusset joints, construction is very easy and less materials are required. It also provides more storage and living space that’s available as an attic, loft, or garret.

Cons

Gambrel roofs look better with lots of windows, but this increases the chance of water leaks. This roof also is not recommended for high wind or snow areas, as the structure will collapse under high pressure. The gambrel roof requires regular water proofing and maintenance at all times of the year.

Dormer



While not strictly a roof style, a dormer is a common roof addition that is used to increase usable space and to create window openings. Dormers have evolved to work with many different types of architecture and have even been used on the spires of cathedrals and churches.

Conferring with Experts

If you’re interested in learning more about your roof type or you need help deciding on a new style for your structure, consulting with expert roofing contractors, like Custom Home Remodeling & Roofing, Inc., is the best policy.




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