Top 10 Most Common Roof Shapes

Sep 26, 2017

Top 10 Most Common Roof Shapes

*In alphabetical order

Bonnet Roof

Bonnet roofs were most common in 1700s buildings. A bonnet roof is made of two slopes, one upper steep slope, and another gentle lower one, in addition to four sides.

illustration of a house with a bonnet roof

Pros

Cons

Added living space, attic, or vaulted ceiling provided by the upper slope

Needs more building materials

Added protection provided by overhanging eaves 

More difficult to construct

Protects walls against water damage

More expensive than other roofs

Note:

Valleys can be formed where the slopes meet and can cause water and snow to pool. Homeowners should take precaution and make sure to waterproof this area.

Recommended Materials:

  • Shingles
  • Metal
  • Natural stone

 

Butterfly Roof

A Butterfly roof adds a modern look for buildings with its inverted pitch roof angled upwards in a way that creates a V-shape. This style allows for larger walls and windows, and can easily collect rainwater using its middle channel.

illustration of a house with a butterfly roof

Pros

Cons

Allows the use of larger windows 

Complicated to build

Lets in more natural light, thus resulting in lower heating bills

More expensive 

Allows the collection of rainwater in its valley

Needs regular maintenance 

Environment-friendly, as it can incorporate PV solar panels and water collection systems

 

Note:

Butterfly roofs need to be waterproofed and drainage systems need to be regularly unclogged.

Recommended Materials:

  • Solid seamless membrane
  • Metal
  • Organic materials
  • Solar panels

 

Complex Roof

illustration of a house with a complex roof

Complex or combination roofs combine two or more shapes of roofs. They add a unique look for buildings and are usually used for aesthetic or practical reasons.

Pros Cons
Has great architectural interest  Can be very expensive depending on complexity 
Gives homeowners the ability to use the best type of roof for each section of the home
 

Adds several valleys and ridges, which creates weak points

 


Flat Roof

Flat roofs are not actually flat; they are slightly pitched in order to drain water. Flat rooms are quite popular for residential, commercial, and industrial buildings.

illustration of a house with a flat roof
Pros Cons
Added living space on the roof for a patio, garden, or a penthouse room  Exposed to water leakage
Provides pace for heating and cooling units  Requires regular maintenance 
Can easily incorporate PV solar panels  
Easy to construct, therefore it is less expensive  

Recommended Materials:

Continuous seamless materials, such as:


Gable Roof

Gable roofs are commonly seen on Colonial-style houses, but they are getting increasingly popular in modern day buildings. They are identified by the roof ridge that comes in line with the building’s entrance.

illustration of a house with a gable roof
Pros Cons
Can easily discard water and snow Does not perform well in high winds and hurricanes
Added space for an attic or vaulted ceilings  
Allows for more ventilation  
Easy to construct, therefore it is less expensive  

Recommended Materials:


Gambrel Roof

Gambrel roofs have two symmetrical sides, a shallow upper section, and steep low slopes on each side. This design is usually seen in barns, as it maximizes the loft space inside the building.

illustration of a house with a gambrel roof
Pros Cons
Added living space, attic, garret, or loft Does not perform well in high winds and hurricanes
Easy to construct, therefore it is less expensive Needs regular maintenance 

Recommended Materials:

  • Wooden shingles
  • Asphalt shingles 
  • Slate shingles 
  • Metal 

Hip Roof

Hip roofs are very popular, mainly due to their simplicity. They can be identified by their four symmetrical sides, gentle slopes, and the fact that the roof faces have identical pitches.

illustration of a house with a hip roof
Pros Cons
Very stable, sturdy and durable Expensive to build 
Performs well in high wind and snowy areas  
Added living space  

Recommended Materials:

  • Shingles
  • Metal
  • Tiles

Mansard Roof

Mansard roofs are similar to gambrel roofs, apart from the fact that they are four-sided. Each of the four sides has two slopes, a steep and a shallow one.

illustration of a house with a Mansard roof
Pros Cons
Added living space, attic, garret, or loft Does not perform well in areas of heavy snowfall
Allows for future home additions  

Recommended Materials:

For the steep portions:

  • Metal
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Asphalt shingles

For other portions:

  • Ceramic tiles
  • Clay tiles
  • cement tiles

Saltbox Roof

illustration of a house with a saltbox roof

Saltbox roofs are usually seen in colonial-style houses as well as in industrial buildings and garages. Can be recognized by their asymmetrical design; as one side is a sloping flat roof, and the other is at a steep angle.

Pros Cons
Water runs off easily  Difficult to construct, therefore it’s more expensive 
Durable and strong  
Added living space  

 


Shed Roof

Also known as a Skillion roof, this roof has one flat surface at a steep angle, that allows water to run off easily.

illustration of a house with a shed roof
Pros Cons
Water runs off easily  Can be problematic in areas with high wind 
Excellent for areas of high rain and snow   

Easy to construct

 

Recommended Materials:



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