Types Of Roofing

(Last Updated On: February 22, 2017)
Types of roofing
Various types of roofing

When building a new home or even renovating the old one, choosing the right types of roofing can be a difficult task than most of the people would think. Types of roofing materials you choose is not just for covering your house but it has a practical purpose of giving protection from various outside elements. Types of roofing sheets you choose play a very important role in making your home energy efficient. Types of roofing materials or types of roofing shingles you choose also contribute in adding extra space to your home. Choosing the types of roofing sheets also adds in bringing natural lights to your home. Types of roofing materials also bring in style and aesthetic appeal to your home. There are plenty of types of roofing available in the market some of them you might be aware of while some of them you might not be aware of. If you are considering having new roof installed in your old home or having new roof installed in your new home, you must consider all your options, study each of them very carefully and then opt for the one you find most suitable to your surrounding and your home structure. Here are some of the types of roofing which you can take into consideration while searching for roofing options.

  • Gable roof

Gable roof installed in a house
Home with gable roof

Gabled roof is also known as the pitched roof or peaked roof. These types of roofing are considered as one of the most popular types of roofing in whole US. These types of roofing can be easily identified by their triangular shape. These types of roofing are very much suitable in wet areas as they can easily shed snow and water and it gives you with more space for vaulted ceiling or attic space. These types of roofing have inherently simple design and it makes them very easy to build and also very much cheaper as compared to other complex designs. When it has such pros, it also has some of the drawbacks. Gable roofs can be really problematic in the areas with hurricane and high wind. If the construction of frames are not properly done then chances are there of roof collapse. Extreme high winds can also cause the materials to peel away from the roof. If the overhang is too much, then the winds can also create an uplift in the under part and it can also cause the roof to detach from the walls. If a gable roof is installed in high wind areas, make sure that proper braces are used and have your roof inspected if stormy situation has touched your roof. These types of roofing can be covered by almost any type of materials including cedar shakes, metal, terra cotta, asphalt shingles, concrete and clay tiles. If the roofs also contain valleys and hips, you should either install types of roofing shingles or standing seams for preventing the roof leaks. If you are thinking to install it in a snowy area then consider at least 10/12 pitch or 40 degree angle.

Types of gable roofs

  • Side gable

Side gable is generally a basic pitched roof. It consists of two equal panels which are pitched at an angle and meet at a ridge in the middle of the building. The triangular section can be left open for making an open gable roof or it can also be enclosed for boxed gable roof.

  • Crossed gable

Crossed gable roof is basically a two gable roof sections which are placed together at a right angle. Both the ridges are perpendicular to each other. Pitches, heights and lengths may be same or may be different from each other. This a perfect design for those homes having separate wings. Make use of gable roofs for different areas of the home like garage, dormers or porch. This style is usually seen in Tudor style houses and Cape Cod.

  • Front gable

Front gable roofs are generally placed on the entrance of the home. This design is usually seen in the colonial styled houses.

  • Dutch gable roof

Dutch gable roof is a hybrid form of hip roof and gable roof. It is placed on the top of the hip roof for better space and better aesthetic appeal.

  • Hip roof

Home with hip roof
Hip roof styled house

Hip roof contains slopes on all the four sides. All these sides are of equal length and come along at the top for forming a ridge. When seen from the stability perspective, these types of roofing are comparatively more stable then gable roofs. It has inward slopes on all the four sides and this is what makes it more durable and sturdy. These types of roofing are extremely good for snowy areas and also high winds areas. Slant of the roof will allow the snow to easily slide off and also stop the collection of water on the roof. These types of roofing also give extra living space for attic or vaulted ceilings. They also give more ventilation and also give ability for making additions like dormers or crow’s nest. For strong storms or high wind areas, you will need a pitch of 33 to 50 degrees. Hip roofs are considered to be more expensive to build as compared to gable roofs. It’s really the complex designs which need more building materials. Additional seams will make easier for water leaks for forming, if the roofing system is not installed properly. Proper construction and maintenance is must for preventing minor issues from turning into big and major problems. Hip roofs can also withstand almost any type of materials like metal, shingles or tiles.

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Types of hip roofs

  • Simple hipped roof

This is the most common types of hip roofs. It has a polygon on two sides and also triangle on two sides. Both the sides come together at the top for forming a simple ridge.

  • Cross hipped roof

It is just similar to cross gable roof. It uses separate hip roofs on the home with different wings. The line where two of the roofs meet is knows as valley. Here proper waterproofing is very much important as valleys can allow the water to pool on the roof.

  • Half hipped roof

These are the standard hip roofs which have two sides, which are shortened for creating eaves.

  • Mansard roof

Home with mansard roof
House having mansard roof

Mansard roof is also known as French roof. It is a four sided roof having a double slope on each of the sides which meet up forming a low pitched roof. The lower slope is steeper as compared to that of the upper slope. The sides of the roof can either be flat or it can also be curved or flat depending upon the style. Mansard roof can also create a great deal for extra living space. Use the space as the full attic space or living quarters which is called as garret which is very much popular. The style depends upon either open or closed dormers for more and beautiful aesthetic appeal. Mansard roofs are very much great for people who want more flexibility for making any future additions in home.

When you are first designing and building your home, you can save your money by having a simple design of mansard while starting. Then after, you can add up dormers and garret at a later date. This will not only add the value to the house but it will also allow the homeowner to easily make any addition as and when they want as per their needs. With all these benefits, these types of roofing have only one drawback and that is, it is not an ideal choice for areas which receives heavy snowfall. This is because it has low pitched portions and it accumulates snow and rain which is not good for roof. The cost of such types of roofing is more as compared to typical roofs due to its embellishments and all the details which go into them. The added space and character which is available in these types of roofing can cover up for the extra cost of construction. Mansard roof has very much unique design and choosing such unique material can make the roof much more special. Making use of metal like zinc or copper for steep portion of the roof can prove to be more expensive upfront but it will need very less maintenance thus making it a good choice for long term.

Making use of slate or wood shingles that too in a diamond pattern is a nice way to make your mansard roof stand out. Make sure to not to use the overlapping composition shingles. However, asphalt shingles can be used on steeper portion of roof in regular pattern. Most of the materials can be used for mansard roof but be extra careful about the low slope part of the roof. Make sure that it is properly waterproofed and flashed for protecting the roofs integrity.

  • Gambrel roof

House having gambrel roof
Home with gambrel roof

A gambrel roof or also known as barn roof is very much similar to mansard in a way that it has two different slopes. The difference between both of them is that gambrel has only two sides whereas mansard has four sides. Similar to that of mansard, lower side of the gambrel roof has vertical steep slope where the upper slope is much lower. Gambrels are usually installed on top of barns, log cabins, farm houses, Georgian style homes and also on Dutch colonial homes. Similar to that of mansard, gambrel also provides added living space for attic, loft and garret. It is also very simple to frame out. Gambrel uses only two roof beams along with the gusset joints. As this construction is very much simple with very few materials needed, it is very much cost effective and less expensive. Gambrel roofs are excellent pick for outdoor sheds and storage buildings. The shape of these types of roofing is such, that it provides more storage space with occupying very less space.

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Gambrel roofs are not at all recommended for areas with heavy wind or heavy snowfall. The open design is more likely to cause roof collapse under extreme pressure. Gambrel roof also has a need to be constructed very well, maintained regularly and waterproofed at the ridges. It’s advisable to have your gambrel roof inspected every year to check for any damage from snow, heavy rainfall and storms. The material to be used on gambrel roof will be depending upon the style of the house. Asphalt, wood and slate shingles are widely used.  However, using the metal will be considered as the great cut down on the amount of maintenance needed. If you are having gambrel roof in an area with extreme weather conditions then it is advisable to install reinforced trusses especially on the upper pitch.

  • Flat roof

Home with Flat roof
Flat roof installed in home

Just as its name, flat roofs appear to be totally flat with no pitch. However they have a little bit pitched to allow for drainage and water run-off. Such roofs are basically used for commercial or industrial buildings. However, they can be also installed in residential areas despite of the fact whether it is a high rainfall or low rainfall area. Most of the people will not consider the amount of outdoor space which flat roof provides but it is one of the pros of flat roofs. Having a flat roof opens you with the options of building pent house or patio or even a roof garden. You also have the option of placing your heating and cooling units on the roof. This will keep them out of sight. This is a very common practice in commercial roofing designs. This design is also very much suitable for installing PV solar panels for better energy efficiency and independent home. Such types of roofing are also very much easy to construct as compared to pitched roofs and they also needs lesser building materials keeping the cost down.

One of the cons of such types of roofing is that they have low pitch and this makes them more susceptible to water leakage. These are not very much suitable to areas with high rainfall or snowfall. The upfront cost of such types of roofing is less but it can be prove to be more expensive in the long run because of its maintenance, repair or replacement issues.

While installing flat roofs, choose the material which is waterproof and also choose the material which is continuous with no seams at all. Most commonly used materials for such types of roofing are gravel and tar, metal sheets, roll roofing, TPO, PVC and rubber membrane.

  • Skillion roofs

Skillion roof styled home
House with skillion roof

Skillion roofs are also known as shed roof or lean to. Such types of roofing are single sloping roof which are generally attached to a taller wall. It can be considered as half of the pitched roof or also as a more angled flat roof. Skillion roofs are generally used for home additions, porches and sheds. However now they are also used on overall structure of modern styled homes. Such types of roofing are very much easy to assemble and also needs very less building materials as compared to other roof types. The steep pitch of theirs allows water and snow to easily run off which makes them perfect for high rain and snow areas. They are also used purely for design purpose for adding aesthetic appeal and architectural interest. If the roof pitch is very much high then it can result in the ceiling being very much low. Also the homes which are using only a skillion roof can face troubles in high wind areas. Due to steep incline, roofing membranes and rubber skins can be removed. For giving more streamlined look, you can make use of standing seam instead of shingles or tiles. For more energy independent home and eco-friendly homes, you can consider installing large PV solar panels.

  • Jerkinhead roof

Home styled with jerkinhead roof
House having jerkinhead roof

A jerkinhead roof makes use of the elements of both hip roofs and gable roofs. It can be taken as gable roofs having hipped ends or it can be described as a hip roof having two short sides. They can also be referred to as English hip roofs or clipped gable. Jerkinhead roofs are considered to be more stable as compared to that of regular gable roof. By turning the point down or clipping, roof gains better resistant capacity to wind damage. Such types of roofing also provides with more space than a traditional hip roofs. High pitch offers with more living space. Such types of roofing also add architectural interest to your homes. Such types of roofing have complex designs and it increases the cost and makes it expensive. Such types of roofing can be constructed with any kind of roofing materials.

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  • Butterfly roof

Home having butterfly roof
Butterfly roof styled home

Such types of roofing have a V shape with a construction of two tandem pieces which are angled on the outside part. The angle of the midsection is downward where two pieces meet up into the valley. The overall effect of such types of roofing is like butterfly wings in a flight. Such types of roofing are very much popular for home designs which are tropical, eco-friendly and modern. The upper angle of outer edge of such types of roofing allows the use of larger windows in the home. Such types of roofing are very much popular for giving more natural light, lowering your heating bills in cold weather and also bringing in the open feel to the design. The valley placed in the mid-section of such types of roofing allows the rain water to be collected, making it very much helpful in the areas with drought. A downspout which is attached to the rain barrel or any other type of water reservoir is generally installed for this purpose only. Such types of roofing lends itself to an environment friendly home design like PV solar panels, system of water collection and natural light, all can be very easily incorporated. The designs of such types of roofing are bit complex and thus it increases its cost. Not only the initial costing of such types of roofing is high but also the maintenance cost in the long run is also very much high. Make sure to waterproof such types of roofing. Drainage system can get clogged and it can cause the water to leak or pool. This can cause the pillars to weaken overtime which can also result in roof collapse. Tall windows and open design can make it difficult to regulate the temperature throughout your entire home.

Each of the types of roofing discussed above have some pros and some cons. Know all of them in detail and then decide whether they are suitable to your home or not, whether they are in your budget, whether they are appropriate for the weather conditions around you and then take the final decision.

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