roof styles

Finding the Right Fit: The Pros and Cons of 5 Common Roof Styles

When people talk about a “roof over your head” the funny thing is their not necessarily talking about an actual roof. It’s usually a euphemism for shelter or a home.

But a roof is arguably the most important part of your shelter. It’s what literally keeps you safe and protected, so why is it that when building a new home we don’t pay enough attention to them?

We’re certainly busy calculating square footage, picking out paint colors, rugs, etc., but what about choosing roof styles? Today, we’ll take a look at five common roof styles and show you the pros and cons of each to help you make a better decision.

1. Gable Roofs

When you were in elementary school did you draw pictures of homes? If so, it was probably a box with a door, windows, and a triangle on top.

That’s a gable roof.

It’s simply a roof with one pitch in the center and two slopes down either side of the house. It’s probably one of the most common residential roof styles around – at least in the United States – but it’s not perfect.

We’ll go over some gable roof advantages and disadvantages.

Pros

The gable roof is one of the most common roof designs around, so one benefit is that it’s an affordable option. If your budget isn’t bursting at the seams, this might be a good option to consider.

That doesn’t mean it’s poor quality, though. The slopes of a gable mean that it sheds water, snow, sleet, and other precipitation very well.

If you live in a particularly rainy area, you’ll be happy to know that you’ll have no problem with drainage. This tall roof also allows for more attic space or higher, vaulted ceilings indoors.

This makes it a good option for people who live in areas where it’s difficult or impossible to build a basement. You’ll want that extra attic storage.

Cons

The biggest downside to a gable roof is that it is susceptible to high winds and hurricane conditions. Strong winds can create uplift and potentially separate the roof from the walls.

Therefore, when working with a builder, you want to have one who is able to foresee roof damage and danger and help you make the right decision.

2. Flat Roof

Can you guess what shape this roof is? We sure hope so.

That being said, a flat roof is a flat surface that does happen to have a slight pitch to it. It’s usually just enough to allow run-off and drainage of water, snow, sleet, and other elements.

You usually see this style on business and industrial buildings, but it definitely shows up in residential designs from time to time. It can certainly create a unique and alluring look.

Pros

What’s the biggest advantage of flat top designs? Extra living space.

Don’t underestimate the power and beauty of a rooftop garden, patio, or suite. Plus, this space can be used for heating and cooling units, clearing up your lawn and the sides of your house from clutter.

Not to mention, these options are usually quite cheap due to their simple design.

If you’re an environmentally conscious homeowner, a flat roof is perfect for laying solar panels. Make your home more energy efficient and even qualify for tax credits!

Cons

With flat roofs, you need to be careful about water damage and leakage. The slight pitch allows for some run-off and drainage, but flat roofs aren’t perfect in this regard.

3. Hip Roof

No, a hip roof isn’t some young, cool, has-it-all-together roof design, it’s a roof that has slopes on all four sides at the same length and a ridge on top.

These are often a top competitor to the gable roof for people building a new home or updating their roof. Just like that style, though, the hip comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Pros

Most notably, the hip roof is more stable and secure than the gable roof. This is an excellent option for people in high wind areas, especially areas that see frequent hurricane activity every year.

This design also allows for some extra living space in the form of a dormer or a crow’s nest.

Cons

Hip roofs are more complex than other roofs on this list, so they may be a tad more expensive to build. They require more effort on the designer and builders part, too.

4. Skillion Roof

A skillion roof is a single slope roof that is attached to two sides of the home, one taller than the other. Think of it like a slanted flat roof design.

You’ll often see this design on sheds, but it is used in residential homes as well, especially in modern styles.

Pros

The skillion roof is easy to assemble and doesn’t use as much material as other roof designs. This makes it relatively easy to build and therefore rather affordable.

Between the skillion and the flat roof, it seems like modern home designs are both affordable and aesthetically interesting.

Cons

Skillion roofs can have issues with condensation build up due to lack of ventilation.

5. Sawtooth Roof

A sawtooth roof consists of two or more single slanted pitches that alternate in direction creating a unique and varied look. Similar to flat roofs, this is another design that was primarily used in industrial buildings but is used for residential purposes now.

Pros

Where you would normally have a roof with your attic, a sawtooth roof allows for higher windows, allowing more natural and beautiful sunlight.

The slanted roofs also allow for high, vaulted ceilings. This combined with the vertical windows you can now use make for a very alluring aesthetic that will make your house seem large.

Cons

A sawtooth roof requires a lot of materials to build. It’s also a much more complex design and is, therefore, a more expensive option.

It may be beautiful to some people, but it might be a little too extravagant or “out of the norm” for others.

Making the Right Choice with Roof Styles

When you’re building a house, there are so many things to have fun with. There are so many exciting options to consider, but don’t skimp on the roof. Choosing from the right roof styles is an important step of the process.

And if you’re repairing or updating your home, then it’s a great opportunity to have some fun and give yourself a change. If you need help deciding on a new roof design or need some roof maintenance or repair, contact us right away!

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