Different Types of Roofs: All Explained!


The roof is without any doubt one of the essential elements of a sturdy building. One cannot comprise the appropriate type of roof and the roofing materials while designing the building. So, here are 15 types of roofs that provide style, strength, and protection to your building: 

  1. Flat Roofs

Flat roofs can be generally seen on commercial buildings as well as homes with modern architectural styles. However, these roofs are not completely flat. They have a very slight slope so that the rainwater is not collected and can be sloped down. These flat or low slope roofs can be covered by single-ply membranes, multi-ply membranes, EPDM rubber, or a tar coating to provide further water protection.

  1. Gable Roof

The gable style refers to the sloping roofs formed by the two pitched areas where the roofs meet. The best part of this style is that as there is no need for any hips and valleys, therefore any type of roofing material can be used. The degree of the slope depends on the purpose of the building. However, the only problem with this style is that under circumstances of strong winds, the roofs can completely peel off.

  1. Hip Roof

Hip roofs are designed in such a way that they fix the problems with the Gable style, without compromising significantly on the roof style aesthetics. Here, all the sides of the roof slope downwards and towards the walls. It becomes possible as Hip roofs have four styles- two are triangular, and two are trapezoids. Hip roofs also stay durable in high wind areas.

  1. Dutch gable
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A Dutch Gable roof style is also known as Gablet style. It is a combination of a Gabled roof and Hipped roof. Here the lower part of the roof is in the Hipped style, and the upper part is in Gabled style. It results in more access to natural light and spacious living space in the attic. It is relieving to know that most styles of materials can be easily used in this style.

  1. Jerkinhead Roof
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The Jerkinhead roof has a larger proportion of Gable style and a lesser proportion of Hipped style in its design. The Gable roofs are clipped at the ends into the hipped design so that the structure becomes more robust and durable even in high winds. This can be used on the second story of the house for better results.

  1. SaltboxRoof Style
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The Saltbox-style roof has an asymmetrical design where the front of the house has two stories, and the back of the house has only one. This style is great for pour down rainwater because of the long overhang of the rear roof area. The major problem with this style is, however, that the backside of the house ends up having slanted ceilings, causing a bit of a problem for the taller people in the house, although this roof style is great for wind resistance.

  1. Dormer Style
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A Dormer is not a particular roof style, but it is an addition to the existing roof style. If you are someone who prefers a ‘happy corner’ of the house where you can indulge in a book reading or relax and soak in the sun, then you may give it a thought. A dormer can be fully functional or just for aesthetic appeal. It depends on the house owners’ needs.

  1. Shed Roof
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A Shed roof is a kind of pitched roof but only in one direction. Their shape allows rainwater to run off easily. Another reason why this style is preferred a lot by modern house owners is that it allows a healthy dose of natural light and makes the interiors look spacious. From metal roofing to natural slate and other kinds of slate roofing, all roofing materials can be used in a Shed roof style.

  1. Lean-To Roof
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A Lean-to roof is quite similar in some aspects as a shed roof. But the differentiating factor is that here the single slope on one end feeds into the edge of the adjacent building. This style is preferred by owners who would like to go have a home office or say a sunroom. The roof can be made with inexpensive material and will still be durable in the long run.

  1. Mansard Roof
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The Mansard roof style is inspired by French architecture and gives a soothing appeal to your building. There are two slopes on one side of the roof. The bottom part is much steeper than the top part. This design allows extra space in the interiors. Due to this positive feature, an extra room, even an extra story can be constructed under the part of the roof building. It is highly recommended to use metal roofing materials here as it avoids maintenance hassles in the long run.

  1. Gambrel Roof
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The Gambrel style is an extension of the French Mansard style. It can be seen in terms of their slopes. While Mansard has four slopes, Gambrel has only two slopes. This roof style can be generally seen in barns, and therefore it is also famously known as Barn Roof. This style is the best one for allowing a large amount of space and light inside as it has very steep, in fact, almost vertical slopes. The space in the attic is also increased in this roof style. Although metal is the most desired material for this roof style, asphalt shingles, slate shingles, or even wood shingles have gained some popularity.

  1. M-Shaped Roof
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An M-Shaped roof can be understood as a Double Gable roof style. Here, the two sloped sides meet in the middle. This pattern can be repeated according to the width of the building. One of the cons of this style is that the snow and rainwater would build up in the middle. But if a steep-pitched M-shaped roof is designed, it will solve the problem of water and snow building up, to a large extent. A central gutter can also be installed, which runs from front to the back to ease the problem further.

  1. Butterfly Roof
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A Butterfly roof joins in the middle and not the sides like the M-Shaped roof. It is a part of modern architectural roof designs and gives an illusion of a butterfly ready to fly when seen from the top. Here, the steepness of the slope cannot be of a high degree, unlike M-shaped roof design. No doubt, these styles allow a larger inflow of natural light and a good level of spaciousness in the interiors. But, because of its shape and low-steepness, rainwater and snow are collected. Thus, investments in the proper drainage system and capacity have to be taken into consideration while selecting this roof style.

  1. Hexagonal Roof (tented)
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When there is a six or eight walled property, then the roof style that is generally used is a Hexagonal Gazebo. There has to be a slope at the top, and the walls of the roofs need to have equal sides too. Thus, this roof style comes with high material costs if the building is for housing purpose or commercial purpose.

  1. Combination Roof
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As the name suggests, Combination roof styles use two or more styles to suit your particular needs. This gives an opportunity to experiment as well with roofing materials, styles, and other aesthetics. You can choose to have green roofs as well. Although if not designed properly, they can result in a lot of end-walls and valleys, which may be a cause of a lot of leaks. Therefore, this style is to be used only with the utmost expertise only.

Structure your roof according to your needs

Now that you are well aware of various types of roofs with their pros and cons, it is up to you to finalize the one that best suits your needs. You may consider factors such as budget, weather conditions, maintenance requirements, aesthetic appeal, and its practicality before finalizing the shield of your house. Always remember, ‘A decision well made, is a result well delivered.’