Small Business Brief


Rarefied Roofs: The Ultimate Guide to All the Different Types of Roofs

Rarefied Roofs: The Ultimate Guide to All the Different Roof Styles

When Ezra Koenig said “I can see the mansard roof through the trees,” he was just flexing his roof knowledge. If you want to know more about roofs than the Vampire Weekend frontman, check out this guide to all the different roof styles available for your residence or business.

Whether you’re erecting a new home or fixing up an existing business building, selecting the best roof can be quite challenging.

For one, your roof does much more than protect your home/building and everyone in it from the elements. It also defines your building’s overall style and look.

A roof can additionally offer extra living space and make your business building more weatherproof, resilient and energy efficient.

Today, we’ve compiled a guide on all of the various roof styles available for your residence or business. Ready to learn more? Let’s go!

Popular Roof Styles Include a Gable Roof

A gable roof, or a peaked roof or pitched roof, is among the most common types of roofs across the United States.

You can easily recognize this type of roof by its triangular shape.

The pros of a gable roof? It can effortlessly shed snow and water. It’ll also provide you with more space if you want to store items in your attic or have vaulted ceilings.

In addition, gable roofs allow for more ventilation compared with other roof styles. On top of this, these roofs feature a simple design that makes them relatively simpler and cheaper to build.

A con of this type of roof? It can pose a problem in areas that are susceptible to hurricanes and high winds.

Here’s why.

If your roof’s frames aren’t constructed with supports that are adequate, the roof may collapse. This is because if you’re experiencing high winds, materials may pull away from your roof. In addition, if your roof is hanging over too much, winds may cause your roof to lift up and detach from your walls.

If you choose to install a gable roof in a high-wind area, be sure to use the right braces.

Gable Roof Materials and Style Options

You can cover a gable roof with a wide range of materials, ranging from concrete or clay tiles to metal, cedar shakes and asphalt shingles.

If your roof contains valleys and hips, you should cover it with a standing seam or metal shingles to prevent leaks.

As far as gable roof types go, there are four kinds you should familiarize yourself with.

The first is a side gable, which is basically a pitched roof. This type of roof has two panels that are equal in size and are pitched to form an angle at the midpoint of your building.

The second is a crossed gable, which is essentially two sections of a gable roof that form a right angle, with the ridges being perpendicular to one another.

This is a great style option if your building has separate wings. You can easily use cross gables for accenting your dormers, garage or porch, for example. This gable style works particularly well on Tudor- or Cape Cod-style homes.

The third gable roof style is a front gable, which goes at a building’s entrance. You’ll typically find this style on a Colonial-style home.

Finally, you have the Dutch gable roof, which is a mixture of a hip roof and a gable roof. These types of roofs are basically gable roofs placed on top of hip roofs for greater aesthetic appeal and more space.

Mansard Roof

This is yet another popular roof style option, also called a French roof.

The mansard roof has four sides, with each side featuring a double slope. These slopes meet to form a roof with a low pitch.

The roof’s upper slope is a lot less steep than the lower one is. Depending on your mansard roof’s style, the sides may be either curved or flat.

A pro of the mansard roof? It can provide a large amount of additional living space. In fact, many people with these types of roofs use the extra space they provide as living quarters — garrets — or full attics.

These roofs are also an excellent choice if you’d like the flexibility to add to your building in the future as your needs change.

A con of the mansard roof? The portion of the roof with a low pitch isn’t exactly ideal for an area that receives heavy snowfall.

These types of roofs are also more expensive than your typical roof due to the details and embellishments they feature. Of course, their character and extra space make these roofs worth it to many building owners.

Mansard Roof Materials and Style Options

Since the mansard roof’s design is so unique, you may want to choose a material for your roof that is equally as unique. This will make your roof even more special.

For example, why not try a metal, such as zinc or copper? These materials might be more costly upfront. However, they won’t require as much maintenance long term.

Slate or wood shingles can also be used on a mansard roof. In addition, you can feel free to use asphalt shingles on a portion of your roof that is steeper.

Whatever materials you do end up using for your mansard roof, make sure that your roof’s low-slope area is flashed properly. Also, be sure that it is waterproofed so that your roof’s integrity will be protected.

Regarding style options, your mansard roof can take a variety of silhouettes, such as concave, straight angle or convex.

Windows can also provide light for the additional living space that comes with this type of roof.

Hip Roof

This type of roof features slopes on each of the roof’s four sides. The sides’ lengths are equal and converge to create a ridge at the top.

The benefit of a hip roof is that it is more stable compared with a gable roof. The roof’s four sides have an inward slope that makes the roof more durable and sturdy.

Also, hip roofs are excellent options for both snowy and high-wind areas. The roof’s slant makes it easy for snow to slide off, so you don’t have to worry about standing water.

A hip roof may offer additional living space as well.

A con of hip roofs? They are costlier to build when compared with gable roofs. That’s because the design is more complex, so extra building materials are required to create them.

Hip Roof Materials and Style Options

A hip roof can feature just about any kind of material — for example, tiles, shingles or metal.

In addition, you can choose from four kinds of these roofs.

One is the simple hip roof, which you’ll see the most often. This hip roof features a triangle and a polygon on a couple of sides that converge to create a relatively simple ridge.

Meanwhile, cross hipped roofs mirror crossed gable roofs. If your home has different wings, you can easily install more than one hip roof. But be sure that you waterproof the roof properly to avoid water issues where the two roofs meet — an area known as the valley.

Finally, the half hipped roof is basically a hip roof with two sides that have been shortened to form eaves.

Gambrel Roof

This type of roof, also known as a barn roof, is a lot like a mansard roof since it has two slopes. However, the gambrel roof has just two sides, whereas the mansard roof has four of them.

The gambrel roof’s lower side has a steep slope that is almost vertical, which makes it similar to a mansard roof. Meanwhile, the slope on the upper side is a lot lower.

You’ll often find gambrel roofs atop barns, log cabins and farmhouses. These types of roofs are also installed on Georgian- and Dutch Colonial-style homes.

The benefit of the gambrel roof? Framing it out is simple, and it offers additional living space. On top of this, it isn’t extremely expensive to construct due to its simple design.

A con of this type of roof? It doesn’t work well in a region that experiences heavy winds or significant snowfall. In addition, its open design may cause it to collapse when under a lot of pressure.

If you decide to go with a gambrel roof, it wouldn’t hurt to have it inspected every year for snow, rainfall or storm damage.

How We Can Help

We offer a wide range of advice on tips in the area of running a small business and entrepreneurship. We also focus on the areas of productivity, customer service, and marketing.

Get in touch with us to find out more about roof styles that would fit your business building (or your personal home), along with other tips for keeping your business going strong. With our help, you can easily add value to your business for years to come.