10 Most Common Roof Types

A roof plays a significant role in the overall curb appeal and looks of a home. When the time comes to install a new roof, there are several things to consider when talking to your roofing contractor

If you’re thinking about getting a new roof, you may want to know the basics about the most common types. The design you choose will make a significant impact on the choice of roofing materials. 

In this article, you’ll learn about the ten most common roof types. 

Gable Roof 

A gable roof is a perfect choice if you want a classic, elegant silhouette. It’s the type children favor most when they draw a house. Two sloping faces of the structure meet and join at the top ridge creating the distinctive triangle shape of this classic design. 

It’s cost-effective, functional, simple, and stylish, so it’s no wonder the gable is still one of the most commonly used roof types in the U.S.

Mansard Roof

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A mansard roof, also known as a curb or a French roof, features an ornate classical style. More complex than the gable style, a mansard features two slates on all faces of the roof. The lower slope is almost vertical, and the upper one stands at a subtle low angle. Influenced by French designs, this type got its name after a French architect, Francois Mansart. He made the roof famous in the 17th century. 

The most distinctive use of the mansard roof is on the Louvre building in Paris. 

Flat Roof

While it may appear like a flat roof has no slope when you look at it from the ground, there is always a slight pitch allowing moisture to slide down. 

Flat roofs are primarily used in government, commercial, and industrial buildings. However, they’ve become increasingly popular as solutions for modern residential buildings too. Over the last decades, more people are choosing flat roofs for their contemporary-style homes.  They look perfect combined with modern house architecture. 

Jerkinhead Roof

If you’re looking to add some vintage flair to your home, a jerkinhead roof should do the trick. It adds interest and character to any type of home by combining visual elements of the gable and hip roof type. Jerkinhead is also called a clipped gable or an English hip. You’ll see it on Victorian-style houses but also on cottages and bungalows. In addition to its rustic, elegant look, jerkinhead offers more space than the typical hip roof and better stability than the typical gable. 

Shed Roof

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A shed roof will add a sharp focal point to your entire home, making an affordable option for a new addition that makes a fantastic visual impact. It features a single slope, and it is also sometimes called a lean-to roof. A shed roof is as easy to build as the gable, and it’s approximately the same size, too.  

Roofers usually include a ridge venting system if applicable due to possible ventilation issues in some areas of the roof. 

Gambrel Roof

A gambrel roof is a simple solution for a traditional home. As mansard’s close ‘relative,’ this type features a steep top angle pitch visible from the ground. Although it is the most commonly used roof type for barns, it’s also frequently featured on residential homes. The most recognizable example of a gambrel roof is the Horror house in Amityville, NY.

Hip Roof

The hip roof is a strong competitor for the title of “most popular roof.” It usually features a subtle pitch while all sides slop towards the house walls. By creating an exciting home profile with no vertical sides, a hip roof can look even more attractive with added dormers. You can always add a personal touch and customize it with various details. 

Far more stable than most popular roof styles, hip roofs are ideal for places with extreme weather conditions, including heavy snowfall and strong winds. 

Saltbox Roof

The saltbox roof is asymmetrical, and it features one dramatic angle and one subtle slope. Architects usually use it on buildings in Colonial Revival and Cape Cod styles. It’s a convenient way of adding living space to the upper parts of a home. A saltbox roof also offers better stability than many other popular roof types.

Dutch Hip

A Dutch hip roof, also known as a Dutch gable roof, combines both styles, offering benefits of both. It includes a gable roof (or a gablet) on top and a hip roof with four sides. The triangular gablet section is usually aligned with the wall below. Roofers typically place a small window on this part of the roof, too. Many Dutch hip roofs have recognizable curved sides, giving pleasing aesthetics to the entire house. 

Bonnet Roof

The bonnet is an upgraded version of the hip style. The bottom slope is less steep, and the upper slope stands at a higher angle than with the hip style. A bonnet roof works particularly well on porches. It is usually seen in Massachusetts and the Mississippi Delta area. However, you can see its influence on modern homes across the entire country. 

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