12 Most Common Roof Types Compared (Pros & Cons)
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12 Most Common Roof Types Compared (Pros & Cons)

Posted by Northface Construction  - Owner & Founder

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. What might be surprising is one of the most important decisions is the roof type! Not only will this play a huge role in the overall style of your home, but it will also affect the function and performance of your home against the elements.

With so many factors to consider, we’re going to help you by listing out some pros and cons of roof styles and what kind of homes they are best suited for.

Gable Roofs

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.

gable roof

Pros of Gable Roofs

Cons of Gable Roofs

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

Cons of Dutch Gable Roofs

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.

clipped gable

Pros of Clipped Gable Roofs

Cons of Clipped Gable Roofs


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.

gambrel roof

Pros of Gambrel Roofs

Cons of Gambrel Roofs

Flat Roof

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.

flat roof

Pros of Flat Roofs

Cons of Flat Roofs


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.

shed roof

Pros of Shed Roofs

Cons of Shed Roofs

Hip Roofs

A hip roof is made up of 4 equal sloped sides that converge to a ridge in the middle. It’s almost like a pyramid, but not quite. Two sides will meet to form a small flat ridge, while the other two come to a point where it meets the ridge. Hip roofs will have a much slighter slope than other styles, and the majority of your roof’s surface will be visible looking at your home. The increased visibility means it’s essential to pick a roofing color and material that you enjoy as it makes up a large part of your home’s curb appeal.

hip roof

Pros of Hip Roofs

Cons of Hip Roofs

Mansard Roofs

Mansard roofs originated in French architecture but have been adopted in America for those wanting extra attic space and room to install Dormer windows on their upper floors. It also has four sides, but then an additional slope and four sides on top, as the picture demonstrates. The sides may be a straight angle or be curved outwards for a unique design. 

mansard roof

Pros of Mansard Roofs

Cons of Mansard Roofs

Hexagonal Roofs

You are most likely going to find a hexagonal roof on an outdoor gazebo. The hexagonal roof’s shape is an eight-sided roof, where all sides meet at a single point on the top. 

hexagonal roof

Pros of Hexagonal Roofs

Cons of Hexagonal Roofs


A saltbox roof is similar to a gable roof as it has two sides with open ends that meet in the middle. However, one side is generally much longer than the other, and it’s also often positioned to have the open ends of the sides of your homes rather than a peak from the front view. They’ve proven very effective in climates that get snow because of their lack of flat spots and high pitch; they allow snow and ice to shed easily. 

saltbox roof

Pros of Saltbox Roofs

Cons of Saltbox Roofs

Dormer Roof

Dormer roofs are more often called Dormer windows, as they are windows added to a Mansard style house that jut outward like a small room or extension of the upper attic living space. They allow for more natural light and ventilation into the space. 

dormer roof

Pros of Dormer Roofs

Cons of Dormer Roofs


butterfly roof

Butterfly roofs get their name from, you guessed it, butterflies. The roof is shaped like their wings because rather than point up in the center to meet at the ridge, they point downwards in a V-shape and meet in a valley in the center. 

Pros of Butterfly Roofs

Cons of Butterfly Roofs

Tips on Choosing the Best Type of Roof for Your Home

At Northface, we work with roofs of all shapes and sizes, so we’re well equipped to guide you toward the best roofing solution for your home. However, some types of roofs just don’t work for certain styles or shapes of homes, and we’re here to help you find the best roofing type.

When choosing the best roofing solution for your new home, there are a few critical questions to ask yourself:

These questions can help you narrow down the best roofing types for your home. You can also start with your home’s style/aesthetic and go from there. Here are the best roof pairings for various home styles.

Mid-Century Modern

Mid-century modern homes have a lot of clean lines and low slope roofs. So a low-slope hip or flat roof works excellent for this style of home. On the other hand, high pitch roofs just don’t work with a mid-century modern home, which is often one-level ramblers who don’t require the extra space on top. You may even see some butterfly roofs installed on more modern architectural designs.

mid century modern


A craftsman home benefits from many types of roofs but mainly gable roofing, hip roofs, and dormer roofs. Craftsman homes often have a lot of elements and levels on the roof, which is where dormers and hips, or a combination of different types, give it their unique appeal.

craftsman home


A classic tudor home will have a much steeper pitch than other types of homes, and gable roofs work great for this design. Tudors may also showcase dormers on the front of the home with beautiful windows in each.

tudor home


Colonial-style homes will also feature higher pitch gable roofs, maybe some dormers, and also a hip or flat roof on the front for the awning supported by large white pillars.

colonial home


There is no one way to build a cottage home, which is why they can be very unique in their aesthetic and design. You might find some more interesting roofing types on a cottage style home such as mansard roofs, dutch gable, gambrel, or even a high pitch, a-frame gable roof.

cottage home


Farmhouse homes will more often than not feature a gambrel roof. It’s the type of roof you most often attribute to a barn or a farmhouse, or you may just have a simple gable roof.

farmhouse home

Getting the Best Roof for Your Home

Once you’ve decided on which type of roof you want for your home, now it’s time to find a quality contractor to install it!

Finding the right contractor to install your new roof could arguably be more important than selecting the type of roof. Considering the installation will determine whether or not your roof will be effective against the elements, it shouldn’t take much convincing to take the time to find the best contractor to do the job.

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 getting started on your new roof, check out our roofing details here, then contact us to get a FREE quote today!


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