Category Archives: Roof Types

Top 20 Roof Types and Pros & Cons – Roof Styles, Design & Architecture

It’s disappointing, but understandable, that more people don’t consider themselves “roof connoisseurs.” After all, most homeowners take their roofs for granted, as Bob Dylan put it, “shelter from the storm.” Oh, but accounting for only a mere 3% of the total house construction cost, a roof is so much more than that! 😉

Roof Types Diagram

Aside from material selection, what really gives your roof personality is its design and construction; how the peaks and valleys merge together. Some people might not be aware they had multiple choices regarding roof design, but here are 20 of the most popular roof styles and their associated pros and cons.

Flat

flat-roof

Most flat roofs are not really 100% flat, but rather they are low-sloped roofs that appear flat, but have a little bit of a slope to allow for the run-off of rainwater. Flat roofs are commonly found in modern architecture style homes, commercial buildings, or home additions such as a sunroom.

As the name implies, a truly flat roof would have no pitch, which could lead to the obvious problem of rainwater pooling up and creating a stagnant spa area for mosquitoes, bacteria, mold, etc.

The rainwater problem can be solved by centrally-located drains, scuppers, and gutters to evacuate the water. Asphalt shingles and other traditional roofing materials are not viable options for low-slope roofs. Low-slope roofs are instead covered either by EPDM rubber, single-ply membranes, and multi-ply membranes, or a tar/asphalt coating that provides water protection.

PVC and TPO roofs are also viable options to explore. – They offer better longevity and durability compared to EPDM rubber roofs.

Gable

gable roof

The term ‘gable’ refers to the triangular shape that is formed when the two pitched areas of your roof meet. It makes sense then that a gable style roof is basically one side up and the other side down similar to the roof on a traditional dog house.

Did you know? Roofing contractors love gable roofs, because gable shape entails covering only two flat surfaces without any hips or valleys, which means that virtually any type of roofing material can be used.

The gable design is available in almost any type of roof pitch, from low-slope ranch style homes to steep A-frames.

One of the only major problems with a gable roof is that they hang over creating eaves which are ripe for peeling off completely under strong winds.

Hipped

hip and dormer roof

One of the biggest problems with the gable roof style is that the two ends of the two house will have no shade or cover because there are only two roofing surfaces. A hipped roof is the style of a roof shape that fixes such a problem. A hip roof is defined as ‘when all sides slope downwards towards the walls’.

Hipped roofs usually have four sides – two with triangular shapes and two with trapezoids. One of the difficulties with a hipped roof is matching materials between the sides and ends. They do perform better in high wind areas however, especially the steeper the pitch.

Gablet (Dutch gable)

A casserole of roofs that solves the individual problems created in both the gabled and hipped design is the gablet (UK) or Dutch gable (North America) design.

A gablet basically puts a gabled roof on top of a hipped roof. The result is easier access to the lower portion (hipped) of the roof with the added benefits of natural light and attic or bedroom space (gable). Most types of materials such as asphalt shingles and metal roofing can be used in a Dutch gable roof and in fact using variations in colors or types, actually adds a nice contrast.

Jerkinhead

The jerkinhead design typically features mostly gable with a little bit of hipped influx mixed in. Gable roofs that are clipped into a short hipped design on the ends are structurally superior to wind uplift.

This design is frequently seen on the second story of a house where the clipped hip doesn’t disrupt the view from a dormer window.

Saltbox

A saltbox-style roof is one that’s popular in New England and other Northeaster states. The asymmetrical design is trademarked by the front of the home having 2 stories compared to one story in the back.

The look resembles a profile view of the old salt boxes which utilized that design so it was easier to pour.

The long protrusion of the rear roof portion extending almost to the ground makes it great for rainwater to disperse from.

One of the cons includes rooms on the backside of the house having slanted ceilings, limiting tall people to use essentially half the house. The saltbox does provide more wind resistance than a standard gable house though – perfect if you can get around the unique looks.

Catslide

A catslide is very similar to a saltbox style roof except that they are often only used in portions of the back roof or on home additions. Catslides extend beyond the eaves of a building, creating more depth at the cost of height. A catslide might be used as an extension into a mudroom/entrance or a transition into a three-seasons/sun room.

Dormer

Gable Roof Dormer

A dormer isn’t necessarily an independent roof type, but more of an addition to an existent roofing style. A dormer is a window and a roof (gabled, hipped, flat, among others) that protrudes from the existing slope of a roof. Like some contractor’s tool belts a dormer can either be functional or just for show.

A functional dormer creates usable space out of the roof of a building, adding natural light and headroom. A false dormer is blocked off from the interior and is only used to boost curb appeal from the exterior. Dormers are usually, but not always, roofed in the same material as the house. To many roofing contractors they are a nuisance and an extra spot where a leak could arise, but for homeowners they serve as a priceless reading nook or way to get some morning sunshine. 🙂

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Roofing Shingles Vs. Cedar Shakes Costs, Plus Pros & Cons in 2020

In this guide, we present a side-by-side comparison of cedar shingles and shakes vs. asphalt roofing, with focus on on material composition, installation costs, plus pros and cons and ROI of each option. Let’s get started!

The Difference Between Wood Shingles & Cedar Shakes

When used in roof covering, wood can be either shakes or shingles. Wood shakes have been used for centuries. They are split from logs and often left as split to retain the textured, rough-hewn effect.

Cedar shakes around a skylight Source: Kuhl’s Contracting

A wood shake is instantly recognizable by its thick butt end. With the advent of commercial sawmills a wood shake was often sawn after splitting to achieve a uniform back side.

These sawmills also produced a completely uniform product with an even taper and identical thickness by sawing shakes on both sides. This manufactured product is known as a wood shingle.

California redwood, western red cedar, cypress, spruce and pine are all used to manufacture wood shakes and shingles. Cedar is the most popular wood for shakes, southern yellow pine is also popular. Wood shakes and shingles can be pressure treated with fire retardants and chemical preservatives.

Types of Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt or composition shingles are most commonly constructed from organic material or fiberglass. Asphalt shingles are built upon a base or mat that was originally made of absorbent cotton rags.

Roofing Shingles Display

Later, more readily available wood pulp or paper replaced the natural fibers. Asphalt was poured onto that base, known as “felt”.

In the 1970s, fibrous glass was introduced, which did not rot like the organic materials. Today, 95 percent of asphalt shingles feature fiberglass felt.

Cedar Shingles/Shakes Cost Vs. Asphalt

In the roofing industry, an 18-inch wood shingle is referred to as “Perfection” and 24-inch wide shingles are known as “Royal.” A wood shake is a premium product, costing around $3.50 per square foot versus $2.50 a square foot for wood shingles.

Cedar Shakes Siding and Asphalt Roof By Red House Architects

The most expensive option for shingling a roof is wood shakes — between $7.50 to $12.50 per square foot or $750 and $1,250 per square (100 square feet), installed.

Cedar Shakes Roof By Linda McDougald Design

Wood shingles are slightly less pricey at $6.50 to $10.50 per square foot or $650 to $1,050 per square, installed.

For comparison, asphalt roofing can cost as little as $3.50 to $5.50 per square foot or $350 to $550 per square, installed.

Roofing Shingles Installation

Install Roof Shingles

$7,500
Average price
Install Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
Install Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

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So, why do homeowners opt for the much more expensive wood shingling? The answer is…

Aesthetics

It is hard to beat the appearance of a natural wood roof. If you are making over a traditional older house, cedar roofing is probably the historically appropriate choice. Not that asphalt shingles are an unattractive alternative.

Asphalt shingles come in a wide variety of colors and shapes and patterned asphalt roofs can be eye-catching in their own right.

Beyond looking great, wood shingling does not win many comparison battles with its asphalt-covered competition. Let’s explore some of the pros and cons up on your roof…

Longevity

Life expectancy for both asphalt and wood shingles is a tricky matter. Let’s tick off all the factors that can affect the longevity of a roof covering: quality of installation, diligence of maintenance, quality of materials, age of the house, overhanging trees, climate and foot traffic.

Chemically treated wood will outlast untreated shakes and shingles and a shake will survive longer than a shingle. Both asphalt and treated wood shingles can survive up to 30 years on a roof, given ideal conditions.

Durability Cedar shingles are resistant to insects but not large amounts of rain. Cedar shakes in a damp environment are susceptible to mold and mildew and rot.

Sap from overhanging trees will encourage mildew. When rot sets in it has likely affected more than a single shake and the entire roof is a candidate for replacement.

Cleaning Costs

Asphalt has its own weather issues. Algae is more likely to take hold on an asphalt roof than cedar shakes. While this will not hamper your roof’s protection abilities, it does lead to unsightly staining and premature replacement on appearance grounds, especially at resale time.

Cleaning either a asphalt or wood shingle roof with a solution of water and bleach applied professionally and gently with a powerwasher will run from $25 to $30 per square. And this is a job best left to competent professionals as a poorly handled powerwasher can wreak havoc on roof shingles.

Flammability

Some building codes where fire is a danger restrict or ban the use of wood shingling altogether. Asphalt shingles have a high resistance to flames.

Keep in mind that wood shakes and shingles can be pressure treated with fire retardants and chemical preservatives.

Wind and Impact Resistance

Cedar shakes and shingles are the clear winner here. Both have proven to be highly impact-resistant and have tested to withstand wind speeds of up to 245 miles per hour (which your house will never see).

Asphalt shingles will, however, blow off a roof in high winds. Fallen branches are also much more likely to damage an asphalt shingle that a wooden one.

Maintenance

Cedar is a high maintenance material. For starters, the wood needs to breathe and the roof must be kept clear of leaves, branches and debris.

Gutters must be regularly cleaned and ventilation kept open for air to flow around the shakes and shingles.

Topical treatments can be applied as water repellents and ultraviolet inhibitors that can prevent graying of a roof.

If individual shakes or shingles are required they will match the composition and color of the original roof – score one point for cedar.

While algae will not impair the performance of asphalt shingles, mosses that grow on a damp roof can cause the edges to lift or curl leaving them vulnerable to a blow-off in storms.

Moss can be removed with a 50:50 mix of laundry-strength liquid chlorine bleach and water soaked with a low-pressure sprayer.

The moss will eventually loosen and can be swept off the roof. It will return, however, if many of the same measures as keeping a wood roof dry – trimming tree branches, removing debris and clearing gutters — are not followed. Replacing individual shingles is often a DIY job.

ROI, Property Valuations, and Curb Appeal Considerations

In terms of property valuations, replacing a cedar roof with asphalt will instantly diminish the value of your property. — On some historic homes, as well as homes surrounded by other homes roofed with cedar, such as in historic districts/neighborhoods, this may not even be an option to begin with.

However, if you must replace a cedar roof with something else, then opting for a metal roof rather than asphalt will help preserve the valuation and curb appeal of your property.

Conclusion

On the cost and maintenance considerations – the “Big Two” for most homeowners – asphalt shingles are the clear choice over wood shakes.

And in fact, about 70 percent of American roofs are covered with asphalt shingles today. On the other hand, those wood shingled-roofs just look so darn good, don’t they? 😉


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Zinc Roofing Pricing Guide: Costs, Benefits, and ROI in 2020

Cost effective, durable, elegant — That’s what Zinc roofing is all about. Add in its magical, self-healing ability and it could just be the best roofing material. Ever.

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Steel and Aluminum roofing see much more play in the roofing market, thanks to their wide availability, lower costs and mass production. Copper roofing is Zinc’s real competition, and yet Zinc wallops Copper when it comes to pricing.

However, Zinc is no stranger to the residential metal roofing market in the US. Consider the fact that galvanized steel means zinc-coated Steel. It plays a significant role in ensuring Steel doesn’t prematurely rust. In the European roofing market, 70% of all residential roofs utilize Zinc.

How much Does a Zinc Roof Cost?

Cost of Materials

The material costs for Zinc roofing range between $4.50 and $8 per sq. ft., or $450 to $800 per square. The breakdown for material costs is as follows:

  • $4.50 to $6.50 for Zinc Shingles or Tiles
  • $6.00 to $8.50 for Zinc Standing Seam

Note: A roofing square equals 100 square feet. It’s the term professional contractors routinely use when calculating both costs and materials for a roofing project.

A typical two-story home with a roofing surface measuring 2,300 square feet, is referenced as having 23 squares of roofing work to be done.

All roofing jobs will also require appropriate fasteners, underlayment material, flashing, and other misc. material. — These necessary supplies will add around $1.00 per sq. ft. or $100 per square.

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