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A List of Every Type of Roof


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As we all know, this blog is about educating our readers' minds with the tools to be successful in the designing and curation of their spaces. Today, we are going to be looking at the outside of the house - the roof! Roof lines make a HUGE difference in the curb appeal of your house. It is important to be able to identify roof types and know a little something about them, too! Let's have a look!

#1. Gable

A gable roof is a roof with two sloping sides that are open on either end creating a triangle extension.

Pros: Gable roofs easily shed water and snow. They also allow for the option to vault the interior ceiling or create usable attic space.

Cons: If not built properly in high wind, hurricane-prone areas, the wind can cause the structure to collapse.

Fun Fact: Historically, the open triangle area of the roof was used to showcase special, ornamental embellishments usually over the entry of a temple or other building.

#2. Hip

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A hip roof has all four sides sloping downward to the walls.

Pros: Hip roofs are more wind resistant than gable roofs. Like gable roofs, hip roofs can also accommodate an extra room with the addition of dormers.

Cons: There are many different variations of the hip roof making it a bit more complicated and expensive to build than a gable roof.

Fun Fact: Hipped roofs came into popularity during the Georgian style architectural period in England and are still widely used today.

#3. Flat

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Flat roofs give the appearance of a horizontal roof line where the exterior skin is sometimes carried higher than the roof line.

Pros: Flat roofs work very well in warmer, dry climates and are generally inexpensive to build. You can also utilize the surface for outdoor living, gardening, or solar panels.

Cons: Flat roofs are very high maintenance if you live in a snowy, wet climate. The weight of the snow can take a toll on the structure of the roof.

Fun Fact: Flat roofs are not totally flat! They actually have a 1/4" per foot slope.

#4. Shed

A shed roof has a single slope with no hips, valleys, or ridges.

Pros: With their modern look, shed roofs are very simple to build and use less material overall.

Cons: Similar to the gable roof, shed roofs can be dangerous in high wind areas - especially those with a large overhang.

Fun Fact: Shed roofs came onto the scene in the 1960s. Today, this roof style is coming back in the modern minimal styles as well as the ever famous farmhouse aesthetic.

#5. Lean-To

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While similar to a shed roof, a lean-to roof is basically a shed roof where the highest edge along with the three walls below it joins to a higher wall of another structure.

Pros: Lean-to roofs are growing in popularity in modern home building. The crossing of angles adds an architectural interest.

Cons: Just like a shed roof, if the pitch is too high, the difference in wall heights can make designing the interiors more difficult.

Fun Fact: Lean-to roofs were also heavily used in the 1960s and 1970s; some would argue - too heavily! They are making a comeback in modern applications.


#6. Gambrel

Think barn. Gambrel roofs are usually symmetrical where each side has a shallower slope above a steeper slope.

Pros: Gambrel roofs are great for adding another room or storage space without looking top heavy.

Cons: Because of the open design, gambrel roofs can be risky in high snowfall and stormy climates.

Fun Fact: This roofing style originated in Europe while the term 'gambrel' originated in America. Europeans grouped gambrel and mansard roofs as one calling either roof a 'mansard'.

#7. Mansard

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A mansard roof is actually a four sided gambrel roof where each of the side's slope increases halfway down. This change in pitch can be seen with a dividing line or a gentle curve.

Pros: Similar to the gambrel roof, mansard roofs are an excellent way to add another room without growing the size of the building.

Cons: Mansard roofs are one of the more high maintenance and decorative roof types resulting in a higher cost to build.

Fun Fact: The mansard roof originated in Paris by the famous Baroque architect Francois Mansart. In The roof style was also known for the ability to add another level of living space without risking a zoning violation for building height.

#8. A-Frame

Photo: Stay Lokal

An a-frame roof is the entire structure of the building. It is basically a very steep gable roof.

Pros: A-frame roofs have more flexibility and can be configured to a variety of home sizes whether it is a small 'tiny home' or a grand chalet in the mountains.

Cons: The steep slope can make planning the interior spaces a bit more difficult because the side walls, in some cases, are nonexistent.

Fun Fact: Architect Andrew Geller popularized this roof type in America on his famous Long Island beach house in 1957. Before this, a-frame roofs were seen throughout Finland and Japan.

#9. Butterfly

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A butterfly roof is a v-shaped roof where two planes angle downward and usually meet in the center of the building.

Pros: When constructed properly and cleaned regularly, the butterfly roof can be a way to collect rainwater from the angle.

Cons: I'm sure you already guessed it! Snowy, wet climates make this roof an absolute disaster to keep maintained. The inward angle is the perfect spot for snow and water to accumulate adding extra weight and moisture to the seam.

Fun Fact: In 1930, the famous Swiss-French architect, Le Corbusier, built a butterfly house on a vacation home in Chile. In America, the roof type became popular in Palm Springs in the 1950s.

We hope you learned some info about roofs that you can stick in your back pocket! Happy designing!

Have a lovely weekend!

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