A Guide to 12 Different Roofing Styles You Can Choose For Your Home

November 12, 2019
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What's the best type of roof for your home or business? Well, it depends on various factors like your design preferences, the area you live in, and much more. Home is one of the greatest investments that are not cheap, and surely having the right roofing will tremendously add value to your property. If you are looking for roofing designs that protect your house, increase space, and curb appeal, we've researched all of them to save you the trouble. Here's a guide to 12 different roofing styles you can choose for your home. 

1. Mansard 

The French mansard roof is a four-sided roof design that has double slopes on each side. It has upper and bottom slop. The bottom slope is much steeper than the upper one. The top part of the roof slope meets the lower slope at an angle, making it resemble a tent on top of your house.

The mansard design helps to create more space inside, which can be used as an attic or extra story (garret). It is a popular roof design because of its flexibility but can be a framing nightmare. If you intend to make an addition in the future to increase your home value, you should use a mansard roof as a placeholder. What's more, a variety of shingle types can be used for Mansard roofs, such as asphalt, vinyl, wood, metal, or slate.

The main downsides of a mansard roof are extra costs compared to traditional roofs, as well as it is not an ideal roof for substantial snowfall places. 

2. Gable 

The gable style roof is a simple design with two pitched areas of the roof that meet to form a triangular shape. The roof pitch can be made to be a low slope ranch style or a steep A-frame style with a decorative bargeboard. It is preferred because of its simplicity and is easy to construct with natural and synthetic roofing materials. This roof design has benefits such as:

  • It creates more space that can be used for an attic.
  • It quickly sheds snow or water
  • Any roofing material can be used to construct it
  • However, it is more susceptible to peeling off during strong winds and hurricanes.
  • Various styles of gable roofs can be used for their aesthetics.
The Box Gable

This is a gable roof design that has two sloping sides meeting at the top to form a ridge; however, on either side, it has a triangular extension that is boxed from the wall hence the name box gable.

The Open Gable

It is similar to the box gable design, but the triangular extension is excluded leaving the sides open hence the name open gable. Adding a creative louver design to your open gable roof can provide some extra protection from sun and elements while improving house aesthetics.

3. Hip 

A hip roof is one that has slopes on all four sides which come together at the top, forming a ridge. All four sides are of equal length and slope towards the walls. Because of the inward slope on all the four sides, hip roofs are more stable, durable, and sturdier than gable roofs. This makes them very suitable for areas that have strong winds and are snowy. With the addition of a dormer and durable shingles, they can offer more living space. Below are various types of hip roofs

Simple Hip: This roof style has a polygon and triangle on two sides.

Half Hipped: This roof style features a standard hip roof, but two of the sides are shortened to create eaves. 

4. Jerkinhead

The Jerkinhead design is a roof design that combines the gable and hip roof designs, creating an exciting curb appeal. Think of it as a gable roof with hipped ends. This design has gable roofs that have been clipped to resemble short hips on the downward end, making them more resistant to wind uplift. On top of creating additional space, Jerkinhead roofs improve the architectural design of your house.

The main downside of Jerkinhead designs is the increased costs of making the complex design. 

5. Butterfly

The butterfly roof is a modern V-shaped roof. It's like an inverted gable roof where the two sides meet downward at the center, forming a valley. It resembles a flying butterfly with its wings up. Being odd-looking makes it less popular as other roofs, but it is an aesthetically unique roof.

With the butterfly design comes more water captured at the center of a house, which requires stable drainage. For areas that have heavy snowing, this design is not recommended since the outer edges are inclined up. They can trap snow.

Oftentimes, Butterfly roofs will extend past the house walls and act as a porch or patio cover, so the addition of some porch columns is something to consider here.

 It is an excellent roof option for dry areas because you can easily collect more water. It also lets in more light and allows you to fit larger and higher windows in your house. 

6. Clerestory 

Clerestory roofs look like gable roofs with two sides meeting at the top but different heights. One slope is a few feet lower, creating a space where a vertical wall made of windows can be built to let in more warmth and natural light. The window can be a single one or multiple, depending on your preferences. The best thing about these windows is that by being at the roof of the house, they are private. It's fun to get creative here and add some unique trim ideas and decorative frieze board to really personalize your home's look.

The main challenge of this roof design is that the window space can be an entry point for the rain if not correctly installed. 

7. Gambrel

A Gambrel roof – also called a barn roof – has two different slopes like a mansard roof. However, instead of four sides, it has only two sides. The lower slope has a steeper and more vertical slope than the upper slope. Most gambrel roofs have window dormers installed for letting in more light, and providing better ventilation Gambrels roofs are mostly used in farmhouses, barns, as well as log cabins.

The main advantages of a gambrel roof are:

  • Firstly, they provide additional space which can get used for lofts, attics, or a garret.
  • They are excellent for making storage houses since the roof doesn't take up much house space.
  • The main downside of a gambrel roof is that it is not very suitable if you live in snowy areas or an area with strong winds. 
8. Flat 

The flat roof designs are simple, modern roofs that have been growing in popularity in recent times. Because of their clean lines – they are predominantly used in modern midcentury homes looking to move away from traditional roof designs.

Flat roofs have a slight slope meant to prevent water pooling, which could create a breeding place for mosquitos, mold, or bacteria. Most flat roofs are fitted with scuppers, drains, and gutters, to help in water drainage.

When extended, they provide excellent shelter from the sun and eliminate problems with asphalt roofs and other shingle materials. If you are going for a flat roof, make sure the materials used are continuous and don't have any seams. Suitable materials for flat roofs include roll roofing, PVC, TPO, gravel and metal sheets. Another application for flat roof designs is the addition of a rooftop deck, creating another floor for your home and the potential for a better view. If you are planning on installing a rooftop deck, be sure that the deck tiles are installed so that the deck board spacing is semi-permeable and can allow for water to drain through to the moderately sloped design.

The main advantages of a flat roof are:

  • They are aesthetically pleasing,
  • The upper flat space can get used for other activities like a rooftop garden. It's no surprise they are trendy in commercial buildings
  • Flat roofs can be used to create sunrooms using retractable awnings that can be made of materials like aluminum, cloth, vinyl, or wood.
  • Flats roofs add more living space 

The main cons include:

  • They are more susceptible to water leakage
  • They make a break under the intense weight of snow
  • They require constant cleaning to ensure dirt does not accumulate if you leave near trees or other taller buildings with ongoing activities. 
9. Sawtooth 

Sawtooth roofs have two or more parallel pitched slopes alternating with walls. The result is multiple series of ridges with dual pitches either side. They resemble a side view of a saw blade; hence, the name sawtooth. The wall parts are fitted with windows to allow more light into the house. Because of how they get designed, their slope sheds rainwater into a central drain at each point of alternation (valley), creating a vaulted ceiling look in the inside part of the house.

When used in a series of three, they can be perfect light entry points for a house. The popularity of more environmentally friendly homes has led to increased adoption of saw-tooth roofs in houses, a while back they were. Only popularly used in industrial buildings

Most of the materials used for these roofs are eco-friendly. Additionally, sawtooth roofs are ideal for the installation of solar panels at the top 

The downsides include the roof being more susceptible to water leakage because of having slopes and added windows. They are also being complex to construct, more expensive than other types, and cost much higher to maintain. 

10. Pyramid 

A pyramid roof is similar to a hip roof, but all the four sides meet at the top of the roof. They do not feature any vertical sides or gables. Basically, the roof looks like a pyramid on top of your house. They get mostly used for ranch style homes, small buildings like cabins and bungalows, auxiliary structures like garages, pool houses as well as storage buildings, Pyramid roofs are excellent choices for places with strong winds and those that are hurricane-prone. 

11. Curved 

Curved roofs are unique and relatively new roof designs that have a curved shed style. The amount of curve can range from a slight one to an arch shape. Being modern designs, they get chosen for aesthetics, eco-friendliness (Yes, they reduce C02 emissions) rather than durability. They fit well when used on homes, cottages, stables, and garages as well as arched entrances. The main types of curved roof are:

  • Old Gothic.
  • Bullnose.
  • 180-Degree Double Vault
  • Curved Transition.
  • Cranked Ridge.

Since the curve can get made to any preferred degree, they can be tailored to be perfect for different locations from areas with strong winds to snowy areas. They are very low maintenance roof designs but can cost you more if you are going for complexity. Metal sheeting is the recommended material for use in the construction of curved roofs since it can get easily  manipulated. 

12. A-Frame

The A-Frame roof is unique, it resembles a gable roof, but the slopes are steeper. The top is very pointed, and the slopes extend down to the foundation line, almost touching the ground. Houses with this type of roof have much shorter walls making it a preferred low-cost roof choice. They were popular choices in Finland, China, Japan, and South Pacific islands during World War II.

For their uses on beach vacation homes, being clean designs, and easy to construct, they have gained popularity in America. Combined with metal slabs or asphalt shingles, they are great for shunting heavy snowfalls, but their large surface can be a problem if you are looking for an energy-efficient home. Another downside is that the shorter walls created leave little space for in-house decorations. 


Roofing provides protection to your home, both inside and outside. That being said, it is essential that you choose the right roofing commensurate to your building and to your preference. As you can see from above, there are many styles to choose from, not to mention roof and house color combinations. But not matter which one you install, you need to make sure that it is sturdy enough to withstand the weather and all the necessary layouts and accessories are properly installed. The only way to achieve that is to hire a professional roofing company who knows what they are doing and have fantastic reviews from their previous customers to back it up.

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