What are the 9 Different Types of Roofs & Their Pros & Cons

types of roofs

Whether you’re building a new home or updating your current place, a new roof can be quite expensive. On average, a residential roof replacement costs around $20,000. If you’re going to be putting that much money down on one component of your house, you probably want to be sure that you’re getting the best roof available.

Luckily for you, there is a veritable buffet of roof options available, you just have to pick one that makes sense for your home and its geographical location. Below, we’ll go through some of the 9 different types of roofs and detail their pros and cons.

1. Gable Roof

Gable roofs are one of the most popular roofs available, famous for their classic triangular shape. There are two types of Gable roofs: Box and Open. Open Gable roofs sit flush with your walls which requires that two of your walls are built for a Gable roof. With a Box Gable roof, the roof hangs over the walls, and are built with a triangular cut-out that sits on top of your walls.

The Gable roof has several benefits. Most importantly, because of their intense slope, rain and snow easily slough off the roof, preventing damage from water or weight. On top of that, these roofs create attic space for storage and improve your home’s ventilation.

The con of this type of roof is that they aren’t great for high-wind, hurricane-prone areas.

They can be built with adequate supports to make them more hurricane-safe, but they are still more susceptible to collapsing or being torn off the house if the overhang is caught by an updraft.

2. Hip Roof

Hip roofs are like Gable roofs, except that all four sides of the roof are sloped, at (typically) a less extreme angle.

Like Gable roofs, these roofs are great for snow and rain but are even more durable. Similarly, they also provide attic space or additional living space.

The cons of this type of roof are that they are more expensive to build, as they require more building materials. 

Also, if not properly installed, they are more prone to water leaks through the valleys of the roof. A roof valley is the “seam” of the roof where two sides of a roof connect.

3. Gambrel Roof

A Gambrel roof, also known as a Barn roof, is like a Gable roof, except that the sloped sides of the roof have two different angles. On either side, a Gambrel roof will start out with a slight angle, and then drop into a steep, nearly vertical angle halfway down the side.

Gambrel roofs are great because they provide a tremendous amount of additional living space, and are very cheap to build. They only require two support beams, so they’re easier to build as well.

However, their open design, unfortunately, means that they aren’t great in areas prone to heavy rain or snow, as the weight can cause them to collapse.

4. Mansard Roof

A Mansard roof is more than just a Vampire Weekend song. Mansards are famous French-style roofs that are very similar to Gambrel roofs in that their sides also slope at two different angles.

In the case of Mansard roofs, however, all four sides of the roof are pitched at two different angles. The top is less sloped and like the Gambrel, the lower half of the roof is pitched at a near-vertical angle.

The benefit of the Mansard roof is that they’re very unique looking and can create a living space, known as a garrett. However, they are not good for rainfall-heavy areas as the top of the roof is typically not pitched at a sufficiently steep angle.

5. Skillion Roof

Skillion roofs are also known as shed roofs or lean-tos. This roof is made from one piece, attached to a higher wall and a lower wall, creating an angle down to just one side of the house.

Aesthetically, these types of roofs can give your house a very modern look if used for the main portion of your home. Their steep angle can adequately slough off rain and snow as well.

However, if the angle of the roof is too steep, it can drastically reduce the height if your home’s walls. They can also suffer from damage in high-wind regions.

6. Flat Roof

Flat roofs are, obviously, roofs that have no angle. They do have a slight slope to them to allow for water run-off, but it’s almost imperceptible.

These types of roofs are usually used for large commercial buildings as they aren’t very aesthetically pleasing, but are extremely cheap to build. If used residentially, however, they do give you the opportunity to create a deck or rooftop garden.

The downside, of course, is that these roofs are not great for areas with heavy rain or snow.

7. Curved Roof

Curved roofs are usually built like Skillion roofs, except that the slope is curved instead of being harshly angled. Curved roofs are very durable and manage well in high-wind areas.

The cons, however, is that you’re mostly restricted to metal building materials, and they can be prohibitively expensive to build.

8. Pyramid Roof

A pyramid roof is really a type of hip roof, except that all sides of the roof come to a single point on top, as the name implies.

This roof is fantastic because it gives you an extreme angle to give your home more space and shed snow and rain. Unlike Gable roofs, it also allows you to have angled roofs while still being wind-resistant.

The only con with this roof is that it is expensive to build.

9. Combination Roof

Lastly, we have a combination roof, which as the name suggests, incorporates design elements from different roof types. The benefit of this roof is that you can really customize the look of your house and give it an eclectic design.

The downside, of course, is that building costs for this type of roof is very high, depending on how complex you want the design to be.

Now That You Know About All the Different Types of Roofs…

You can make a sound decision regarding which type, or types of roofs you want to utilize to create your dream home.

If you have more questions about roofing or want to discuss your project with roofing professionals, consider contacting us.