12 Most Common Roof Types [Video Comparison Guide]
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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. 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.

Gable Roofs

gable roof

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

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

clipped gable

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

Cons of Clipped Gable Roofs


gambrel 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

Cons of Gambrel Roofs

Flat Roof

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.

Pros of Flat Roofs

Cons of Flat Roofs


shed roof

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

Cons of Shed Roofs

Hip Roofs

hip roof


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.

Pros of Hip Roofs


Cons of Hip Roofs


Mansard Roofs

mansard roof


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. 

Pros of Mansard Roofs



Cons of Mansard Roofs


Hexagonal Roofs

hexagonal roof

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. 


Pros of Hexagonal Roofs


Cons of Hexagonal Roofs



saltbox roof

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. 

Pros of Saltbox Roofs


Cons of Saltbox Roofs


Dormer Roof

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. 

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

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!

One response to “12 Most Common Roof Types Compared (Pros & Cons)”

  1. Many thanks for your blog post, Hook Webmaster! Your post is quite informative for common roof styles. You mentioned the pros and cons of all roof styles clearly. Thanks again for this amazing post!

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