Top 15 Roof Types, Plus Their Pros & Cons – Read Before You Build!

When building a new house or retrofitting an existing one, choosing the right type of a roof shape and style can be more difficult than most people realize.

Curved shed roof with standing seam panels on a ranch home.

Roofs do a lot more than just serving the most basic practical purpose of protecting a house and its occupants from the outside elements. For instance, a roof’s shape plays a major role in defining the overall look and style of a house. Roofs can also provide additional living space, as well as make your home more resilient, energy efficient, and weather-proof.

This definitive guide to roof architecture and styles will help you understand and identify the best roof shape for your home, shed, garage, or a place of business. We will also explore recommended roofing materials for the common roof types.

1. Gable
2. Hip
3. Mansard
4. Gambrel
5. Flat
6. Skillion
7. Jerkinhead
8. Butterfly
9. Bonnet
10. Saltbox
11. Sawtooth
12. Curved
13. Pyramid
14. Dome
15. Combination

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1. Gable Roof

Also known as pitched or peaked roof, gable roofs are some of the most popular roofs in the US. They are easily recognized by their triangular shape.

Pros: Gable roofs will easily shed water and snow, provide more space for the attic or vaulted ceilings and allow more ventilation. Their inherently simple design makes it easy to build them and cheaper than more complex designs.

Cons: Gable roofs can be problematic in high wind and hurricane areas. If the frames are not properly constructed with adequate supports, the roof can collapse.

High winds can also cause materials to peel away from gable roofs. If there is too much of an overhang, winds can create an uplift underneath and cause the roof to detach from the walls.

Hurricane roof bracing and strapping for wind mitigation in Florida

If a gable roof is used in high wind areas, be sure proper braces are used and have the roof inspected after a large storm to ensure no damage has occurred.

Suggested materials: Gabled roofs can be covered with almost any type of material including asphalt shingles, metal, and clay or concrete tiles.

However, if the roof also contains hips and valleys, it should either be shingled or roofed with metal shingles or standing seam to help prevent roof leaks.

Note: It is recommended to use at least a 10/12 pitch or 40° angle, for snowy regions.

Types of Gable Roofs

Side Gable: A side gable is a basic pitched roof. It has two equal panels pitched at an angle, meet at a ridge in the middle of a building. The triangle section can be left open for an open gable roof, or it can be enclosed for a boxed gable roof.

Crossed Gable: A crossed gable roof is two gable roof sections put together at a right angle. The two ridges are perpendicular to each other. Lengths, pitches or heights may or may not differ from each other.

Cross-Gable Roof with Dormers covered by slate tiles

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It’s an excellent roof design for homes with separate wings. Use a cross gable to accent different areas of the home, such as the garage, porch or dormers.

It’s often seen in Cape Cod and Tudor styles houses.

Front Gable: A front gable roof is placed at the entrance of the house. This design is often seen in Colonial style houses.

Dutch Gable Roof: A Dutch gable is a hybrid of a gable and hip roof. A gable roof is placed at the top of a hip roof for more space and enhanced aesthetic appeal.

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