Every design decision is important when it comes to building your dream home. From the interior paint colors to the foliage in your front yard to the style of your roof, every detail matters. Whether you’re building your dream home from the ground up or renovating an old house, there are many factors you’ll need to consider when choosing a roof style. Below are four different types of roofing styles that are popular in the United States, along with the advantages and disadvantages of each. This guide will help you choose the design that’s best for your home.
One of the most popular roof styles in the United States, you may also know of gable roofs as pitched or peaked roofs. These roofs have two sides that slope up, coming together at the top to form a ridge. You can easily recognize them by their triangular shape. Gabled roofs can take many forms, but most homes with this roof style opt for open gable or box gable. Though they appear on many different houses, this roof style is highly popular among ranch-style and Cape Cod-style homes. This roof style is so recognizable, in fact, that is has inspired several well-known pieces of literature, including Anne of Green Gables and The House of the Seven Gables.
Gable roofs are very popular and with good reason. Due to the steeper slope, this roof can easily shed both water and snow, making them perfect for areas that experience heavy rainfall or brutal winters. The snow and rain will easily slide off the roof, lessening the chances of leaks and water damage. Due to their rather simple design, gable roofs are often less expensive than other roof styles. The initial construction cost is lower, and because of the steep slope and reduced risk of water damage, you won’t have to worry about maintenance costs in the future. Additionally, gable roofs provide a bit more space, which homeowners can use as additional attic space or convert into a loft or extra bedroom.
Though this roof style is ideal for areas with heavy rain and snowfall, contractors do not recommend gable roofs for areas that experience high winds or hurricanes. Gable roofs tend to have a slight overhang from the face of the house that, in areas with high wind, may cause the roof to peel away. Due to their construction, gable roofs also pose the threat of collapsing. If builders do not construct the frame of the roof using sturdy supports, it may run the risk of caving in.
Gable roofs are very versatile and will work well with almost any roofing material. Asphalt shingles or concrete tiles are a popular choice for this style, but metal roofing is also an option. Metal is becoming more popular because it’s more eco-friendly and durable than other roofing materials. When choosing your roof style and materials, you may also need to consider the pitch of your roof. Since the slope of a gabled roof tends to be steeper than the other styles, a larger portion of the roof becomes more visible—this plays a significant role in your home’s overall appearance. Asphalt is a popular low-cost solution but has an average life span of only 13 to 20 years. Plus, it will begin to show significant age and streaking within the first 10 years. A quality metal roof, however, will last 60 years or more and maintain its color and beauty for the duration of its lifespan. Additionally, a quality metal roof is interlocking on all sides and will be able to withstand up to 120 mph winds, greatly reducing the risk of wind damage.
Another popular roof style in the U.S. is the hip roof. Somewhat similar to the gable roof, hip roofs consist of slopes that form a ridge along the top. Unlike gable roofs, however, hip roofs consist of four slopes instead of two. The pitch of the slope can vary from home to home as well as the size of the ridge. In some homes, the slopes all meet in a point on top of the roof, similar to the shape of a pyramid. In others, the roof may consist of several ridges, often referred to as the hips and valleys of a roof. A great way to utilize the ridges of a hip roof is by installing a ridge vent. This efficient and cost-effective addition will ensure that your attic is properly ventilated. A ridge vent helps your home become more energy-efficient and allows your air conditioner to work much easier.
Hip roofs are typically more stable than gable roofs because they consist of four slopes rather than two. Since they are a bit sturdier, these roofs are a better choice for areas that experience high wind. Like gable roofs, the slope allows water and snow to easily slide off the roof, leaving little to no standing water. This greatly reduces the possibility of water damage and leaks.
Because hip roofs consist of four slopes instead of two, the construction cost for this roof style can be a bit higher than for gable roofs. This style of roof consists of a complex system of trusses and rafters, which may lead to a longer construction period. Hip roofs also require more building materials. Between the cost of labor and materials, the price can begin to add up quickly.
Similar to gable roofs, hip roofs work well with most roofing materials. Shingles and tiles are popular for this roof style, as are slate and metal. Hip roofs may have a shallower pitch than other roofing styles so a standing seam metal roof, in which the seam is vertical rather than horizontal, may be a good choice, as it allows rain and snow to slide off even easier.
Popular in European architecture, Mansard roofs are four-sided roofs in which each side consists of two slopes at different pitches. The lower slopes are at a steeper pitch than the upper ones and often adorned with dormer windows. Similar to hip roofs, the upper slopes of mansard roofs come together to form a ridge. Also known as a French roof, this style appears atop notable French landmarks, including the Château de Dampierre and parts of the Louvre.
Mansard roofs are a great option for homeowners looking to add a little extra space to their home. This double sloped style can increase the amount of interior space in your attic or allow for another story to your home without requiring much additional masonry. If you choose not to add an attic or extra floor, you can use mansard roofs to create higher, vaulted ceilings. Mansard roofs also lend themselves to additional decorations, such as elaborate dormer windows.
Due to the double-sloped architecture and relatively gentle slope of mansard roofs, this style is not ideal for areas that receive heavy snow. The snow does not slide off as easily as with hip and gable roofs, which can lead to leaks and may even cause the roof to buckle. Mansard roofs are also more costly than other styles and the installation process tends to be longer. Since many mansard roofs also include additions and embellishments, the installation may take some time and the cost of labor may be higher.
Homeowners who choose mansard roofs often choose the unique design as a way to stand out from their neighbors. As such, they may choose an equally unique roofing material, such as slate shingles in a diamond pattern or shiny copper metal roofing. Metal roofing is a great option for this roof style. The smoothness of the metal allows snow to easily slide off the roof. Additionally, metal roofing comes in a variety of styles that will help your home stand out from the crowd. Most roofing materials will work well for this roof style, but homeowners should stay away from overlapping composition shingles.
Gambrel roofs are similar in construction to mansard roofs, with double-sloped sides; however, this style only covers two sides of the home, whereas mansard roofs cover four. Gambrel roofs are the top choice for barn roofs in the United States, but they are also common in Dutch Colonial style houses.
Like mansard roofs, gambrel roofs allow additional space for an extra floor or garret. It’s for this reason that gambrel roofs are so popular among barns and sheds. They can provide additional storage without taking up any additional space. You can also easily convert the space from mansard roofs into an attic, as well.
Contractors construct gambrel roofs with a rather open design, making them slightly more susceptible to collapse. Similar to mansard roofs, this style is not ideal for areas that receive heavy snow and rainfall, as the extreme pressure of these elements can cause the roof to buckle. Areas that experience strong winds or hurricanes should also avoid this style since the roof only covers two sides of the home. This makes it easier for the roof to peel away from the house. For those with gambrel roofs, you should have them inspected yearly. It’s important to note that the costs for these inspections and subsequent maintenance can add up over time.
Wood and slate shingles are particularly common for gambrel roofs, but almost any material will do. Metal shingles or panels, however, are one of the best materials for gambrel roofs due to their durability and longevity. Metal roofs can last upwards of 40 years and require less maintenance than other roofing materials, making them a great choice for gambrel roofs. A highly durable material like metal will lessen the risk of weather damage and decrease the cost of maintenance over time.
Choosing the style of your dream home’s roof can be daunting and, as we’ve seen above, there are many factors to consider. Some roofing styles fit better with certain architecture styles but ultimately the choice will come down to personal taste.
Distinctive Metal Roofing offers metal roofs in various colors which we can apply to many different types of roofing styles. Whether you choose an ornately embellished mansard roof or a more practical hip roof, our Ohio metal roofing professionals can help you make your dream home into a reality.