If you’re facing a new construction of a home, roof, or addition to your existing home, you’re going to have many decisions to make regarding materials, design, budget, etc. This is why you’ll find it useful to become familiar with the roofing materials and roof style.
New construction is your opportunity to not only refresh your existing roof but build a whole new one, and that can mean changing it’s design and style entirely. Believe it or not, that are dozens of different roof styles beyond just a simple pitched roof. We’re going to help you by listing out some pros and cons of roof styles and what kind of homes they can be good for, or not.
A gable roof is what you imagine when you think of a typical house—square sides with a triangle-shaped roof. Gable roofs are incredibly common amongst many different styles and types of homes. They’re super versatile, and their simple design makes it easy to install and work well to keep your home free of standing water and sheds snow and ice.
Pros of Gable Roofs
- Their simple design makes it super easy to install and is a timeless look, working well for any new construction.
- They don’t require a lot of materials or complicated install, which makes them super affordable.
- High pitch allows for easy water and snow drain off in addition to proper gutters and downspouts.
Cons of Gable Roofs
- They aren’t the best design to fight against severe weather. Strong winds can lift or blow off gable roofs.
- They are the most basic of designs, so if you want to stand out, maybe choose a more unique roof style.
Dutch Gable Roofs
There are many different variations of gable roofs, and we want to cover them all because despite having a similar base component, they can be vastly different and offer even more functionality. The dutch gable roof, for example, combines elements of a simple gable design plus a hip roof on the front. So they can work great for attic spaces on your home or garage and have room to add additional windows for more light.
Pros of Dutch Gable Roofs
- Provide extra attic space and more windows
- Adding windows on the gablet can improve circulation
- Can work as added storage as well if you don’t need extra living space
Cons of Dutch Gable Roofs
- Requires more materials and maintenance
- Has more joints that need to be sealed to prevent leaks
- Snow can build up on the gablet if the pitch is low
Clipped Gable Roofs
A clipped gable roof goes by many names such as bullnose or jerkinhead. It’s called a clipped gable roof because it looks like some clipped off the ends of a basic gable roof, creating a small angle at each corner of the roof. A hip roof has a much bigger “hip” at the end of the roof, but a clipped gable roof will have one much smaller.
Pros of Clipped Gable Roofs
- Even this small detail provides a unique architectural design that will stand out.
- Can be used to showcase shingles on the end for some added dimension and style
- Reduces wind force at the peak of the roof
Cons of Clipped Gable Roofs
- The small joints on the “clipped” gablet require extra attention to avoid leaks at the peak ends of your roof
A gambrel roof is more often than not used on barns or small sheds. There are four surfaces to this roof, starting with a pitched low slope on top, which then bends down in two panels that run the rest of the way down the side of the house. It looks a bit like half an octagon shape. This four-sided design allows for a wider area and makes more head space because the pitch is a little lower and not so steep on the edges. For this reason, this roof works perfectly for barns with upper-level lofts to hold stacked hay.
Pros of Gambrel Roofs
- They are relatively easy to install.
- Can add a lot of extra space on your upper floor, and allow for window installation as well.
- Can work with just about any roofing material.
Cons of Gambrel Roofs
- Can be susceptible to strong wind damage.
- Poor ventilation.
- Difficult to install on existing structures—works best for new construction.
- Susceptible to snow and water accumulation due to its low slope.
What is more often used in commercial structures like apartment buildings, malls, and office buildings, became widely used on mid-century modern residential homes in the 50s and 60s. It’s important to note that a flat roof is not officially flat—they must have a slight slope of at least 2% to allow for water and snow run-off. Otherwise, you’d just have sitting water that can cause leaks and cave-ins.
Pros of Flat Roofs
- They offer a very unique design you won’t find on most homes.
- The flat roof allows for big, wide-open floor plans.
- There is an opportunity to add on levels to your home.
Cons of Flat Roofs
- Very susceptible to leaks and must be properly sealed.
- Require a bit more maintenance to ensure the sealant (rubber, tar, etc.) remains intact to keep from leaking.
A shed roof is kind of like a flat roof, but it’s at a much steeper incline. With just a single slope, you will commonly find shed roofs utilized on cabins, barns, and of course, sheds. The high-pitch slope is very simple but perfectly effective for water and snow shed.
Pros of Shed Roofs
- Can be installed very quickly due to needing very few materials.
- Works with just about any roofing material.
- Perfect opportunity to install skylights for natural light.
- Prevents standing water.
Cons of Shed Roofs
- Not ideal for larger structures—maybe just stick to sheds and barns.
- Requires a strong gutter and downspouts system to handle double the water on its single slope.
At Northface Construction, we say that your roof is more than something that simply goes on top of your house. You want to make sure it’s not only functional and leak-proof, but the materials and style you use suit your desired aesthetic and boost your curb appeal. For more information on how to get started on your new roof, check out our roofing details here, then contact us to get a FREE quote, today!