Most Common Roof Styles And Roof Types Explained

Roof Styles

The roof is one of the most important parts of your home, and it also happens to be one of the first things people notice. Whether you’re looking for a new roof or just curious about all the different types available, this blog post will help you understand everything from metal roofs to slate roofs.

This article will cover the most common roof styles and roof types in detail so that you can choose what’s right for you. We’ll get into the nitty-gritty details about each type.

Finally, some roof styles may be more suited for some climates and regions. The weather in your particular locality will affect the overall performance, appearance, and condition of your roof.

Different Roof Styles And Roof Types

When you want to buy a new roof for your home, you have tons of options under your belt. All of them come with their own unique properties. Some of the more common roof styles include:

Gable Roof

Gable roofs are some of the most common types of roofs available. Take a drive through the streets of the U.S. and you will find plenty of houses with Gabled roofs. Your child’s first drawing of a house may be that of a triangle resting on top of a house. The two sides of the triangle rise to meet the ridge. When the two pitched areas of the roof meet, a triangle spot is formed and this is what is called a gable.

Gable roofs are easy to build, ventilation of them is easy, the water on them drains off easily and they can be applied on numerous home designs. Forget water, even ice or snow drains off them very easily so if you live in regions that are prone to a lot of rainfall or it snows an awful lot, it would be super useful to go with a gable roof. The triangle shape is not just great for water drainage, but space also allows for some extra living space under the roof. Since the design is easy, they are inexpensive as well. Most pitched roof designs are based on the basic gable roof. 

You can make things a little interesting by going with different gable designs. Crossed, Dutch, Box, Clipped and Front Gables are the most common types of Gable Roofs. 

You can find Box Gable roofs in the colder climates or where it snows a lot. Now, these kinds of roofs feature triangle extensions at both ends of the roof structure, and the roof section will be box-tailored at the end. The one difference between this and the standard gable roof is that the triangle part of the roof will be highlighted predominantly. These roofs are also great at warding off rain or snow.

Front Gable roofs were more popular in older style Colonial buildings, but are gaining in popularity these days. Lots of modern buildings have this style of Gable roofs. In front Gable Roofs, the roof ridge will be in line with your building’s entrance. A front Gable roof is placed at the entrance to highlight the entrance and add coverage to the entryway.

Crossed Gables feature two ridges that meet at right angles. These are typically seen in Cape Cod or Tudor-style homes. Two or more gable roof ridges intersect at an angle perpendicular to each other. Generally, larger homes or homes with garages in them, or homes with complex exterior structures will have the crossed gable roof structure. If front gables are used to highlight the entrance, the purpose of crossed gables is to showcase the various additions to the home like porches, garages, or dormers.

Dutch Gables combines the best of both gable and hip roof types. Rather than simply having a hip roof, the entire look and feel of your building structure can be enhanced if you go with Dutch Gables. A petite gable or gablet is added over the top of a hipped roof for a more picturesque look. 

Clipped Gable Roof or Bullnose, are designed in the shape of a gable but with a slight difference. Like Dutch Gables, it combines certain elements of hip roofs as well. Clipped Gable Roofs, like basic gable shape, have two sides that rise to meet a ridge. And then comes the difference, the peaks at the top that are bent in to create small hips at the ends of the ridge. The clipped gable roofs lift the overall aesthetic appeal of your building.

Your roofing contractor could add different colors and materials to these Gable roof variations to highlight the features of the roofs and to add some architectural interest.

Hip Roof

A hip roof is the more common type of roof design after the Gable Roof. Hip roofs have four sloping surfaces of equal lengths and they all meet to form a ridge. Towards the end, you will see slope triangles. When you look from the outside, hip roofs look like an abbreviated pyramid. When it comes to hip roofs, the appearance is all about the roofs, and so the color of the shingles you use and the design will play a huge role in how the roofs look on the outside. 

Although they are not great for ventilation, if your house is located in a highly windy area, then hip roofs are a good option. These roofs work well when your area is prone to snowfall as the snow slides right off these roofs.

The difference between Gable and Hip Roofs lies in the number of slopes. Hip roofs have four as opposed to the two of Gable roofs. 

Gambrel Roof

Gambrel roofs are another unique style of roofs. We’re sure you must have heard of barn roofs. Gambrel roofs have two sloped sides, one of them is steep while the other one is gentle. The lower store is steep, whereas the upper slope is gentle. The design allows the upper storage to be used as a loft or an attic room.

The appeal of Gambrel roofs lay in the rustic look. These kinds of roofs are used in Dutch Colonial or Georgian style homes. Farms, barns, cabins, all of them use Gambrel roofs. 

These roofs are popular for more than the looks and functionality alone. They are easy to construct and they cost way less. The one drawback with these roofs is that they are not great for areas that are very snowy or receive plenty of rain. The open design is such that if too much snow clogs on the roofs, they may even collapse under the weight. We recommend the use of reinforced trusses on the upper part of the roof, perhaps even the entire building for added support and stability.

Mansard Roof

Mansard roofs have their origin in France, and they were popular throughout Europe. It’s more complex to construct than hip or Gable roofs. These roofs are now popular across the United States as well.

Mansard roofs consist of four double sloped sides, all of which meet to form a low-pitched roof in the middle. The steep, lower slope can either be flat or curved. Since the bottom part of the roof slope is steep, the pitch doesn’t take off and this gives more room on the inside.

If you want to enhance the amount of living space in your building, Mansard roofs are the way to go. While not ideal for places where there may be extreme weather conditions, and they may cost more than other roofing types due to all the intrinsic details, they are definitely worth it and improve the overall value of your home.

If you are building your new home, you could add multiple windows and dormers to enhance the appeal of your home. 

Shed Roof

Understanding what a shed roof is is easy even if you have not come across one. It is a flat roof which is sloped. It has more pitch, and therefore, it is used in conjunction with other roof styles. It also allows room for additions, so the upper part of your home can be used as an attic. There is also room for vaulted ceilings or an upper floor for your home if you require it. 

The whole effect is simple and subtle, and that is your taste, you can go with shed roofs for your property.

Flat Roof

As is obvious from the name, flat roofs are, well, flat! They are not 100% flat, however. There is some degree of inclination. The slope of flat roofs is less than 10 degrees (this is called pitch). This low pitch or slope is provided so that the precipitation runs off. 

These roofs are straightforward to construct, and affordable when compared to the more complex and sloped roof structures in the market. If you live in areas that receive very low rainfall or in arid regions, this could be a super cost-effective option for you. If not, make sure you have a proper irrigation system in place, otherwise, the roof could be flooded and cause damage.

You could combine flat roofs with other roofing styles like gable or hip roofs for a more stylish and contemporary look. It can also be used for additional upper floor living space.

So, there you have it! These are some of the most common roof styles. Although there are other styles of roofs like the Butterfly Roof that takes the form of an inverted V with the two roof angles sloping down from opposite edges to meet in the middle to form a valley, Dome-shaped roofs take the shape of a dome(no surprises there!), and  M-Shaped roofs which are basically nothing but double Gable with two sloped sides that meet in the middle with similar sloped on either side. The awesome thing about M-shaped roofs is that even the barest of houses can be made to look pretty impressive because of the zig-zag silhouette.


A roof is one of the most overlooked aspects of any architectural design. We bet you didn’t know there were so many roofing types before you hit up this guide! The right roof can make all the difference in lifting up the aesthetic appeal of your home and also can greatly enhance the value of your home. 

You should know that all roofs will be subjected to wear and tear, however good you are at maintaining them well. They are also subjected to natural elements like rain, snow, storm, or harsh rays of the sun. So, when you select a roof type, be sure to take the climatic conditions in which you live into account. You may also want to take note of the building codes in your locality which may or may not allow certain roof types. You may either want to blend in with the surroundings or stand out – the roof type you select should be a reflection of that.

The materials a particular roof type is made out of, the cost, and the shape and color of the different roof types will all play a significant role in how well the finished product, that is, your home, will finally turn out. 

Whether you are building a new home from scratch, renovating your old home, or replacing your old roof with a new one either because it was damaged or simply because you think a newer roof will make all a striking difference in improving the overall building aesthetics, we’re sure you will find this guide very useful indeed. Good luck!

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