A Simple Guide to the Many Types of House Roofs

A Simple Guide to the Many Types of House Roofs

Roofing
By Alex Mikayelyan December 15, 2021

Your house is only as good as the roof over your head. Now, sure there are plenty of other components that contribute to your house being as wonderful and liveable as it is. But ask a child to draw a house and they’ll show you a block with a triangular roof over it. Why? Because even children, without any in-depth knowledge of construction and architecture, understand that a roof is an integral part of any house.

Roof construction and renovation are a huge undertaking. But before you can even consider what type of shingles to use or what room you can build in your attic, it is important to understand what type of roofs there are and what makes them different. These are the most common roof types in the United States and knowing them can help you decide on the one you need for your home. 

The Classic Gable Design

Avoid Accumulated Roof Water With the Gable Design

Avoid Accumulated Roof Water With the Gable Design

You will see this roof on houses all over the country. Also known as peaked roofs, these are among the most common roof types you can find. The advantages of gable roofs speak for themselves. The purpose of roofs is not to simply protect your interior from water, but to reroute it to the ground instead of having it pool up on the roof itself. With proper gable flashing installed, water will easily flow off the roof’s surface. This seamless flow of water prevents water from accumulating on the roof, reducing the risks of causing water damage to the shingles or leaking into the attic.

Gable roofs are also easy to build and maintain. This is thanks to how gable roofs are essentially two identical roofing panels attached together at the peak. Additionally, since a gable roof is so easy to build, it is also pretty cost-effective, since you won’t be spending extra on more complex roofing contractor projects. Add to that how easy it is for a gable roof to let in the breeze and allow for seamless ventilation and you have yourself a fan favorite. 

Hip Roof: The Hippest Roof There Is

Hip Roofs Are Great if You Live In a Windy Region

Hip Roofs Are Great if You Live In a Windy Region

While it may be harder to build, the hip roof pays off with a few benefits that other roof types lack. Unlike a gable roof, where it consists of two roof panels with the exterior walls racing up to the peak on either side, a hip roof has panels on all four sides. As a result, designing and building a hip roof is trickier, thus it will cost more to build.

Also, because you do not have those two walls on either side as you do with a gable roof – which can provide the attic with extra ventilation and a breeze through the windows – a hip roof is significantly stuffier and not as well ventilated. On the other hand, this can be used to your advantage if you live in a windy area. Because gable roofs allow for the wind to pass through, it can lead to a violent breeze on the inside of your home, causing doors and windows to slam, potentially shattering them. Hip roofs, having roofing panels on all four sides, do not let the violent wind enter your home.

Don’t Confuse a Dutch Roof for a Danish Roof

Dutch Roofs Are Expensive but Long-Lasting Investments

Dutch Roofs Are Expensive but Long-Lasting Investments

A Dutch roof is a middle ground between gable and hip roofs. It is the combination of a small gable roof that sits atop a much wider hip roof. So, not only do the gable walls and windows provide extra ventilation and air circulation, but also the hip roof keeps the entire structure of the roof sturdy, even in areas with a lot of violent wind.

You also have effective irrigation, as rainwater can flow down all four sides of the roof. The one downside of Dutch roofs is their complex design, which is not only harder and more expensive to build, but also requires extra maintenance, as there is more surface area to take care of. But if you’re up to the task, a Dutch roof is a very sturdy and versatile roof type that will stay strong for decades to come.

Live Like a Monarch Under a Butterfly House Roof

Skylights Tend to Make All the Difference

Skylights Tend to Make All the Difference

Looking for something more extravagant that oozes with Mid-Century Modern vibes? Look no further than the butterfly roof, with its inverted roofing panels that meet in the middle. The two exterior sides of the roof are poised up, reminiscent of butterfly wings, hence the name. Thanks to the inverted peak in the center and how the exterior sides of the roof are higher up, there are more opportunities to allow natural light to fill your home.

The inverted peak allows for the innermost room of your home to have skylights and the raised sides allow you to install tall panoramic windows. But the inverted peak does have one major downside, that being drainage. Unlike the traditional peaked roofs that allow water to easily flow off the edge of the roof, rainwater will flow towards the center into the inverted peak. This means you will need a more effective drainage system that will prevent any leaks or water damage from occurring.

A Flattering Flat Roof

Flat Roofs Tend to Come With Many Advantages

Flat Roofs Tend to Come With Many Advantages

Initially, flat roofs don’t seem all that reliable. The lack of sloped roof panels makes irrigation somewhat difficult and also doesn’t leave any room for an attic. But this is a common misconception which is to be expected considering that these roofs are called “flat”. In reality, they are not entirely flat but have a slight slope that does allow for water to flow over the edge of the roof. This slope is definitely not as visible as the one on gable, Dutch, or hip roofs, but it does allow for some irrigation.

The lack of attic space can actually be used to your advantage. In the summer, when you wish to cool off your home, a triangular roof traps a bit of heat in the peak, making it harder for your home to cool off. The less headroom that comes with a flat roof allows you to control the temperature in your home much more effectively. Flat roofs are also very easy to build compared to the traditional triangular design and much easier to maintain depending on the flat roof membrane you’re using.

The All-Round Beauty of a Dome Roof

Dome Roofs Are Not That Common, but They Do Come With Benefits

Dome Roofs Are Not That Common, but They Do Come With Benefits

Though not as common as peaked or triangular roof designs, you can still find a number of homes that have domed roofs. Domed roofs invoke the sensation of being in a Mediterranean or Greek coastal town, with those vibrant blue circular shapes dotting the side of a cliff. Now, the problem with dome roofs is their unorthodox shape. Rooms, furniture, and entire structures are designed with right angles in mind. So when you have a domed roof, you will need to make some adjustments to your interior, ventilation, and even chimneys to accommodate the unorthodox shape.


However, the benefits of having a domed roof are by no means outweighed by the downsides. It is no secret that circular architectural structures, be they archways or domes, are structurally very sound, in many cases more so than their rectangular or square counterparts. Domed roofs are also more sustainable than peaked or triangular ones, as they allow for better air circulation and are better at heat retention, meaning you’ll be spending less money on utilities to heat your interior.

AM

Written by
Alex Mikayelyan

Written by Alex Mikayelyan

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