Roof Styles- Everything you need to know

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People have experimented with roofs to create various forms. Throughout history, the styles of roofs have shaped the architectural style of a house. You can credit the laws of physics for the varied possibilities in bringing out the elegant roofing designs. Except its laws, nothing can stop you from structuring your roof with your favorite designs, styles and shapes.

Knowing which roof styles to use in your house is a crucial decision. The roof doesn’t just make your house look beautiful; it also contributes to its strength. So, it is very important for the roof to be durable. You need to be smart enough to choose a roof style that is strong, complements the architecture of your house and makes it look beautiful. Here are some of the most common types of roof styles with their pros and cons.

Different types of Roof Styles

Roof styles- Gable roof style

A Gabled Roof, often called a ‘pitched roof’ or a ‘peaked roof’, is easily recognized from its triangular shape. Gable roof designs are simple and looks like an inverted V. They can be easily identified, as their slope and the ridge extend the length of the house. Gabled roof style is one of the most common roof styles opted by the people due to simplicity in design. The benefit of this type of roof is that it offers greater space for an attic.

Advantages of Gabled roof

  • Gable roofs can easily shed water and snow.
  • It provides more space for an attic and allows more ventilation.
  • Its simple design makes it easy to be built, and cheaper than other more complex roof styles.

Disadvantages of Gabled roof

  • Having Gable roofs can be problematic in high velocity wind and hurricane prone areas.
  • The roof may collapse if the frames are not properly constructed.
  • High-speed winds can also cause the material to peel away from gable roofs.
  • Not ideal for areas prone to high speed wind because they can easily get hold of the wind, much like a sail would.

Material suggested

  • Gabled roofs can be covered with almost any type of material.
  •  If there are hips and valleys on the roof, it should either be covered with metal shingles or have standing seams, to prevent any future roof leaks.

Roof styles- Hip roof style

hip roof is shaped like a pyramid. It is a type of roof where all sides slope downwards to the walls, usually with a fairly gentle slope. With two triangular sides and two trapezoidal, a house is divided symmetrically from the center lines.

Hip roofs are commonly seen in bungalows and cottages in modern domestic architecture. The very solid structures foster the architectural structure of the house. Although the roof itself is harder to construct, the walls that carry the roof are easier to build, as they all lie at the same level.

Advantages of Hip roof

  • The inward slope of all four sides makes the hip roof more sturdy and durable.
  • They are excellent for both high wind and snowy areas because the slant of the roof allows snow to easily slide off with no standing water.
  • They offer extra space for vaulted ceilings or an attic.
  • Provide more ventilation and freedom to have additions, such as dormers.

Disadvantages of Hip roof

  • Hip roofs are more expensive.
  • Its complex design requires more building materials.
  • Also, additional seams can develop water leakage points if a roofing system is not properly installed.

Materials suggested

  • Any type of roofing material.

Roof styles- Mansard roof style

A mansard roof is a four-sided gambrel-style hip roof, characterized by two slopes on each of its sides. The lower slope is punctured by dormer windows, at a steeper angle than the upper ones. The steep roof with windows create an additional floor of habitable space, and reduces the overall height of the roof. The upper slope of the roof may not be visible from ground level, when viewed from close proximity to the building.

Advantages of Mansard roof

  • Additions can be made using the extra living space to improve aesthetic appeal.
  • Can be started off with a simple design.
  • Helps to add value to the house as homeowners can easily make additions as their needs change.

Disadvantages of Mansard roof

  • The low pitched portion of the mansard roof isn’t ideal for areas receiving heavy snowfall.
  • It’s expensive because of the embellishments and details that go into them.

Suggested materials

  • Using metal, such as copper or zinc for the steep portion of the roof will require much less maintenance down the road, making it a good long-term choice.
  • Using wood or slate shingles in a diamond pattern is a way to make a mansard roof stand out.

Roof Styles- Flat roof style

“Pitch” is the term used to describe the degree of roof slope. Flat roofs have one slope and very little pitch. Flat roofs may drain over the roof edges, or through scuppers installed in a parapet wall, built around the perimeter. This type of roof is easy to identify due to its flatness in the structure.

Advantages of Flat roof

  • Extra space on the roof for a patio, garden or partially enclosed penthouse room.
  • The design is also conducive for installing PV solar panels, for a more energy efficient and energy independent home.
  • Easier to construct than pitched roofs, it requires fewer building materials, keeping the costs down.

Disadvantages of Flat roof

  • The low pitch makes flat roofs more susceptible to water leakage.
  • Not advised for high rainfall or high snowfall areas.
  • Expensive maintenance due to ongoing roof repair and replacement costs.

Suggested materials

  • The most common materials used are tar and gravel, roll roofing, metal sheets, PVC, TPO, and rubber membrane.

Roof styles- Shed roof style

Shed roofs have one slope but more pitch than a flat roof.  Shed roof can also be called Skillion roof because they are often used for additions. One potential problem area is along the upper edge of the shed roof, where it ties into the wall of the original home. This type of roof is a single sloping roof surface. You can think of it as just one half of a triangular roof or a flat roof that has been inclined slightly.

Advantages of Shed roof

  • Shed roof is easy to assemble and requires fewer building materials.
  • Their steep pitch allows snow and water to run off easily.
  • Used for design purposes to add architectural feature and aesthetic appeal.

Disadvantages of Shed roof

  • If a roof pitch is too high it can result in ceilings being too low.
  • Can create problems in high wind areas.

Suggested materials

  • To give a more streamlined look, you can use standing seam rather than tiles or shingles.

Roof styles- Gambrel roof style

Gambrel roof is the roof style with two slopes, each of which changes pitch in a convex manner. These types of roofs are Dutch-inspired and provides good amount of space in the attic. It is also most commonly used in residential construction which allows maximum space for the headroom, inside the building’s upper level.

Advantages of Gambrel roof

  • Provides extra living space for a garret, attic or loft. Plus it’s simple to frame out.
  • It requires fewer materials with a simple construction procedure.
  • It is less costly to maintain.
  • Great idea for outdoor sheds and storage buildings. Their shape can provide more storage without taking up more space.

Disadvantages of Gambrel roof

  • Not recommended for heavy wind areas or regions that receive significant snowfall.
  • Its open design can cause the roof to collapse under extreme pressure.
  • It needs to be constructed well, waterproofed at the ridges and maintained on a regular basis.
  • Necessary to inspect roof each year to check for damage from storms, heavy rainfall or snow.

Suggested materials

  • Wooden, asphalt or slate shingles are widely used.
  • Using metal can greatly cut down the cost of maintenance.

Roof styles- Bonnet roof style

Bonnet roofs are concave and have a change in pitch. It is the opposite of a gambrel. Bonnet provides an exotic look to the life style of the people. It requires huge volume of materials due to its roofing design. Bonnet roofs are not the commonly used roofs in modern houses. They were mainly used in French Vernacular and can be seen in regions of Louisiana and Mississippi.

Advantages of Bonnet roof

  • Provides extra space for a small attic or vaulted ceiling. It can also be used to have dormers or side windows.
  • The overhanging eaves not only provide protection for porches, but also help to protect walls from water damage.

Disadvantages of Bonnet roof

  • Difficult to construct due to its complex design.
  • Requires more building materials and hence is costly.
  • Although water easily runs off the slopes, valleys are formed where the two slopes meet. This can cause snow and water to pool. Extra precaution is needed to waterproof these areas.

Suggested materials

  • Any type of material can be considered.

Roof styles- Butterfly roof style

Butterfly roof style is certainly not a common style. It is a unique as it resembles to the shape of a butterfly. It usually has a haphazard arrangement in styling. When you inspect a home with a butterfly roof, look closely at the ceiling and floor beneath the low point. Just like other roof styles, it also has loopholes. Rain is the enemy of this style. These types of roof styles are owned to improve the aesthetic look of the overall house as well as to cover great areas.

Advantages of Butterfly roof

  • The upper angle of the outer edges allows larger windows to be installed.
  • Allows more natural light, lower heating bills in the winter and brings an open feel to the design.
  • The butterfly roof can be used to have environment-friendly designs.

Disadvantages of Butterfly roof

  • Complexity in design makes the butterfly roof more expensive.
  • Higher upfront cost and maintenance cost.
  • Ensuring the butterfly roof is waterproofed is essential. Drainage systems can get clogged, causing water to pool or leak. This will weaken the pillars over time, which can cause the roof to collapse.

Suggested materials

  • Any material that can keep butterfly roof watertight.

By choosing the right roof style, you can make an architectural statement. While picking up a style, make sure that your mind doesn’t get clogged up, just by its aesthetic appeal. Your short sightedness will only mark up your cost in the future. Think twice before you make any decision, since roof is the most prominent aspect of your house.

Finally, educate yourself to have a roof style that fits in your environment. Consider the major aspects related to the roofs. Research on ideal features strength, durability and not just looks.  Acquire the key aspect of roofing styles. Learn about the roofing materials. Keep in mind that the more outstanding and complex home you are building, the more your costs will go up. Be smart and make the best choice before you regret.

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