House & Home

10 Popular Roofing Styles: Which is the Best for You?

Posted September 12, 2014

Besides performing the essential function of protecting human beings from sun, rain, hail, and snow, roofs come in various shapes that add architectural interest to the buildings they cover. Factors to consider when choosing a roof are local climate, cost to build and maintain, and the style of your home as a whole. If you are actively planning to build a house -- or just daydreaming about your future residence -- it's fascinating to learn about different roofing styles and decide which one you like best.

1. Flat

A flat roof is the simplest kind to build. It takes the least amount of roofing material but needs to be carefully waterproofed, because it doesn't drain well. If you'd like to relax on a glamorous terrace or plant an eco-friendly urban garden atop your roof, a flat design could be for you.

2. Shed (skillion)

A shed roof consists of a single plane, which is slanted, high on one side, low on the other. This is an improvement on the flat roof due to better drainage. Although it will leave you with odd-shaped rooms underneath, adventurous souls may plan this deliberately as a unique architectural feature.

3. Gable (pitched)

A gable roof has two sides that slope down from a central ridge. Easy to build and suitable for whatever climate you may live in, it can be vented and doesn't collect precipitation or debris like fallen leaves. The gable roof allows space for an attic, great for insulation purposes; you'll find it less complicated to insulate the floor of an unheated attic space (which can be used for storage of non-cold sensitive items) than the roof itself.

4. Hipped

A hipped roof has two long sides and two shorter ones slanting down from a ridge in the middle. The eaves can overhang your property, shading overly sunny windows and shielding the entrance, as well as protecting siding from rain. With its high-quality wind resistance, the hipped roof is ideal for warm climates where there a frequent rainstorms. It's an excellent Miami roofing choice, for example.

5. Pyramid

A pyramid roof is similar to the hipped variety, with the difference that the former is topped by a sharp peak instead of a flat ridge.

6. Mansard

A mansard is also a variation on the hipped roof theme, with four sides. There are two slopes to this elegant roofing type, with a lower slope that is much steeper than the upper and contains dormer windows. If you'd like to maximize your usable living space, this design will allow for an additional story under the roof.

7. Gambrel (Gambrill)

A gambrel roof resembles the mansard, except its short ends are vertical gables and it juts out over the fa├žade of the building.

8. Bonnet

A bonnet is a pyramid roof modified to offer more shade to your home's outdoor area. Two of its sides change pitch partway down, from a steep slope to a gentler one, and stretch out to form large eaves.

9. Curved or Arched

A curved or, even more dramatically, an arched roof is a striking architectural feature, which may be used to cover your whole house or just a very visible portion. It provides good drainage and is usually manufactured from steel for maximum strength.

10. Domed

Most outstanding of all, a domed roof will add an exciting finishing touch if you are planning an over-the-top luxurious property. Construction is costly, though, compared to other roofing types.

Laura Firszt writes for

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