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  • Writer's pictureShannon George

10 Common Roof Structures

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

Roof structures are just as diverse as houses. Depending on the construction of a house, a roof may make up to 40% of the exterior, frequently playing a significant role in its overall appearance and curb appeal, as well as impacting the total value of the property. With the right roof type, your house may become more energy-efficient, and weatherproof, and provide the much-needed room for extra storage or more living space. When the time comes to replace your roof, choose roofing materials and shingle colors that suit the form and slope of your roof as well as the external architecture of your house. To see what Herring Residential and Commercial Roofing offers, click here.

10 Roof Types

Gabled Roof:

A gable roof is one of the first styles of a house that draws. The simplicity of the lines may make it simpler for little hands to draw, but it does not distract from the roof's functionality and popularity. Gable roofs are the most popular roof form. This is due, in part, to the fact that they will look well on a variety of home designs and can be less expensive than their more intricate counterparts. Gable allows snow, rain, and ice to readily drain and have vaulted ceilings or ample attic storage.

Asphalt shingles, cedar shingles or shakes, slate, and clay or concrete tiles, among others, may be used on basic gable roofs.

  • The clipped gable roof (jerkinhead or bullnose roof) has the basic shape of a gable, with two sides rising to meet a ridge, but they also borrow a feature from hip roofs: the top peaks are "bent in," resulting in small hips at the roof ridge ends. These hips provide an interesting architectural element to homes while emphasizing high-performance, designer shingles.

  • Another kind of hybrid roof is the Dutch gable roof, which combines architectural elements from both gable and hip roofs. A little gable roof, or "gablet," lies atop a hip roof. The gable part provides homeowners with extra attic space and may even be equipped with windows to let in more light.


A traditional hip roof is the second most common kind of roof after gable roofs and is composed of four equal-length slopes that meet at the ridge to form a simple crest. Because the slopes allow rainwater to easily run down the roof, hip roofs are even more ideal for snowy and icy situations. Hip roofs are more stable than gable roofs due to the inward pitch on all four sides coming together. An additional perk is a shade provided by the overhang on all four sides. Because the bulk of the roof on a hip roof is visible, the type and color of your roofing shingles should be chosen with care. Hip roofs often include architectural details such as front gables to highlight a porch or entryway, as well as dormers or crow's nests to provide extra storage or living space under the roof. They may be composed of a variety of roofing materials, including asphalt shingles, standing seam metal or metal tiles, clay or concrete tiles, and so on. Hip-style roofs are more expensive than gable roofs because of their more intricate design, but they are nonetheless quite popular due to their durability and lifespan. It should be noted that with extra dormers, your roofing contractor should pay particular attention to the seams surrounding the valleys.


Pyramid roofs, which are similar to hip roofs but lack gables and vertical sides, are often used for smaller houses such as cabins, bungalows, sheds, garages, and other buildings. Because of their wind resistance, pyramid roofs are popular in hurricane and windstorm-prone areas. They also give excellent ventilation and extra storage, or the interior may be left open for a high ceiling. The overhanging eaves of a pyramid roof also help to boost energy efficiency. Pyramid roofs are more costly to construct and maintain due to the complexity of the roof design, but the extra expense is frequently worth the advantages that come with this structure. They may be produced from practically any common roofing material, including asphalt shingles, composite shingles, metal shingles, slate, clay or concrete tiles, or hardwood shingles or shakes.


Mansard roofs are a traditional French architectural style. The most well-known example is the Louvre Museum in Paris. The mansard roof, which has four double-sloping sides that meet in the middle to form a low-pitched roof, has achieved significant favor in the United States. The style enables homeowners to make full use of the upper floor, typically referred to as the loft, thanks to an abundance of internal attic space and varied windows. Mansard roofs have the additional benefit of making future additions easy. Dormer windows are recommended for bringing in light, especially if you want to use the attic as a living area. Mansard roofs are sometimes more expensive than other types of roofs due to all of the extra elements that go into them, but they may be worth it for the future flexibility, and increased value they provide to a property if expanding on is a factor. Mansard roofs may be made of almost any roofing material, including but not limited to copper, wood, slate, and asphalt shingles. However, distinctive metals such as copper or zinc may make a powerful statement. Another option for making your mansard roof stand out is to use wood or slate shingles in distinctive patterns, such as an overlapping diamond design. Because the lowest areas of your mansard roof are more prone to damage from snow, water, and ice, you'll want to take additional precautions to ensure that they're completely waterproofed and flashed. Mansard roofing is not recommended in areas with heavy snowfall, such as the northeast and northern Midwest of the United States.


A bonnet roof, also known as a kicked-eaved roof, features a double slope like mansard roofs; however, unlike mansard roofing, the top slope on a bonnet roof has less of a pitch. A bonnet roof's lower slope extends over the front and back of the house, making it a suitable cover for a porch or outdoor patio. The bonnet roof is most commonly seen in Louisiana and Mississippi. It offers advantages that include more living or storage space under the roof, plenty of room for dormer windows, and overhanging eaves that protect the siding and the rest of the home from water damage. The structure, which is essentially a modified hip roof, is more robust than a gable roof. Due to the complexity of its construction and the danger of water settling in the valleys between the slopes, a bonnet or kicked-eave roof may be more costly to install or maintain, thus particular care must be given while waterproofing such locations. Bonnet roofs may be constructed from practically any common roofing material, including asphalt shingles, metal shingles, slate, or wood shingles or shakes.


A shed roof, also known as a Skillion roof or a 'lean-to,' is a popular alternative for those that like modern home designs. They are single-angled sloping roofs that may be attached to a taller wall or used in place of a flat roof for a stand-alone structure. This "lean-to" style has long been used for porches and additions, as well as contemporary construction. The majority of shed roofs have lower slopes, with 12 inches or less being the most common. Higher slopes may aid in the flow of water off the roof. Shed roofs allow for some unusual window arrangements, ranging from tiny rows of glass panes directly beneath the roof to massive picture windows over the front of the house. Flat roofs tend to be less expensive since they are simpler to construct and useless material. Because of the ease of design and construction, these roofs are ideal for additions to existing homes, sheds, and porches. This roof's slope provides for quick snow and water run-off, which explains its popularity in the mountains, northern midwest, and New England. Seamed metal roofing is a good ideal roof material for the shed roof.


Flat roofs are most often seen on strip malls and industrial buildings, although they gained prominence between the 1940s and 1970s. Many of Hollywood's elite and rich residents had their houses constructed with flat roofs, allowing for large open floor designs. The term "flat" does not necessarily mean "level." An incline is required to allow for water drainage. Some houses have a flat roof with a section of the roof that is shaped like a gable or hip. A flat roof may also be utilized in home additions to generate more living space on the second floor. Heating and cooling units may also be positioned on top of a flat roof, which is a great method to keep them out of the way and avoid hiding your home's design with that equipment. One notable advantage of the flat roof is the simplicity with which solar panels may be put, boosting the home's energy efficiency. EPDM rubber, PVC roofing membranes, tar and gravel, and metal sheets are the most prevalent flat roof materials. As with any form of roof, hiring a reputable and knowledgeable roofing company is critical to ensure the lifetime of a flat roof.


A gambrel roof is similar to a traditional barn roof. It has two sides, each with two slopes: one steep and one gentle. The top provides plenty of attic space, and with windows, natural light enhances the use of the top area. Because the gambrel roof's vast sides are exposed, attention should be made to shingle choice. The gambrel roof, although similar to the mansard roof, varies in that it has only two sloping sides, resulting in a triangular roof rather than the square form of the mansard. The gambrel roof is most often seen on Dutch Colonial and Georgian-style dwellings, as well as barns, log cabins and farmhouses.


A saltbox roof has a flat roof on one side with a little slope and a "lean-to" structure on the other. The phrase "saltbox roof" refers to the original style of saltboxes marketed in New England. When early settlers in the Northeastern United States built a lean-to on top of their existing gabled roofs, the form of the roof developed. They were popularized on Colonial and Cape Cod-style homes and are recognizable by their distinctive asymmetrical shape. When seen from either side, a saltbox roof has gables at each end, creating the illusion of a triangle. A saltbox roof facilitates rapid snow and rain drainage. Asphalt, metal, wood, cedar, and composite shingles are the most common roofing materials for a saltbox roof.


The butterfly roof is a v-shaped roof with two raised wings that meet in the heart of the valley, giving it its name. Butterfly roofs are a good choice for residences with a contemporary style and are beneficial in desert climates because the valley in the center collects precious rainwater. Butterfly roofs also allow for wider windows, which lets in more natural light. Solar panels are simple to install on a butterfly roof, making it a popular choice for places suitable to this form of architecture, such as the southwestern United States and tropical Southeast. Because these roofs are more complex to create and maintain, the cost reflected is thus reflected. It is essential to have a good drainage system as well as high-quality waterproofing. The broad windows and open design of a butterfly roof may result in increased heating and cooling expenditures since it is more difficult to manage the temperature inside the home.

No matter the roof structure, rest assured that the experts at Herring Residential and Commercial Roofing offer superior roofing with quality guaranteed workmanship. Find out about our quality service at a fair price by scheduling an estimate today.


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