Structural Types of Roofs

There are many different types of roofs used on homes and other buildings.  The purpose of this roof guide is to list and briefly explain roof types to give you an understanding of your own roof – or if you are considering building a home, what your options are.

We start from the most basic and move to the more complex roof types.

Flat Roof: There are no peaks, valleys or dormers in a flat roof.  These are common on commercial buildings but less common on homes — though some modern designs employ them.  Occasionally, they are also used on small additions to a home.

Gable Roof: This is the most common, basic type of non-flat roof.  A gable is the triangular section of the exterior wall that is formed underneath the peak, or high point of the roof.  Simply built homes often have a single roof peak and a gable at both ends.

Cross Gable Roof: A home with a gable roof that is built in an L-shape is called a cross gable roof.  It will have on valley where the roof turns.

Hip Roof: Instead of peaks, the roof has a separate plane of roofing that faces the same direction as the wall of the home, where the peak would otherwise be.

Cross-Hip Roof: A hip roof on an L-shaped home is known as a cross-hip roof.  It produces a single valley at the turn of the house.

Pyramid Hip Roof: A square structure with a hip roof is called a pyramid hip roof because the roof is pyramid-shaped.

Bonnet Roof: This roof looks like a hip roof except that it has a short extension around the perimeter of the roof that looks like the brim of a cap or bonnet.

Saltbox Roof: A saltbox roof is similar to a gable roof except that the ridge of the roof is offset on the house, making the gable end asymetrical. One plane of the roof is longer and may have a greater slope, usually toward the back of the house.

Gambrel Roof:  Often seen on barns, though some homes employ them, a gambrel roof is a modified gable roof.  As the roof runs down from the peak, it takes 1 or 2 turns that increase the downward slope.  The last section of the roof is sometimes almost vertical.

Finally, these are the basic roof types found on homes.  Simple homes may have only one type and complex homes may incorporate several types into their architecture.  Roof types do have a distinct effect on the overall look of the home, so consider your options when planning a new construction project.


Structural Roof Types Articles and Guides

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