Intricate roofs incorporate several of the basic roof designs such as a gable roof sitting atop a gambrel or variations of the gable & valley roof design using one or a variety of different types of roof trusses (also see our very detailed diagrams showing the different parts of a roof truss).
That said, in many cases a home will incorporate one roof style throughout.
Below is our poll where you can vote for your favorite style of roof. Below that is our list of roof design illustrations that clearly illustrate the various types of roof designs.
Types of Roofs Overview Chart
The A-Frame is very easy to identify.
It’s steep, pointed roof which extends all the way to the ground or close to the ground. The roof makes up much or all off the walls of the home. It’s a very simple roof design and is inexpensive because the roof serves as both roof and walls.
The bonnet roof is identified with the extending ledge around the base of the roof.
The other part of the roof can be many designs such as hip, gambrel or gable… when adding an extended ledge, it becomes a bonnet variation of that roof design.
The butterfly roof is an inverted gable roof.
It’s a V-shape. It’s rather odd looking roof design and is not used much. However, one benefit of the butterfly roof is you end up with tall ceilings on two sides of the home.
A clerestory roof has an interior wall built extending above one section of the roof, with this section of wall often lined with several windows, or one long window.
The sections of roof either side of the vertical wall are typically sloping, allowing a large amount of natural light into the windows.
A combination roof is, quite literally, a combination of types of roofs.
Often incorporating two or more designs for aesthetics and practical reasons, combination roofs can feature a range of styles; a clerestory and hip roof, for example. This is a great option for a unique, interesting look.
A curved roof adds an extremely modern, interesting feature to any building. Modern roofs take advantage of the flexibility of metal materials, creating one large curved structure.
Curved roofs do help to reduce resistance to wind, but are mainly chosen due to the stunning aesthetic look they can add to a building.
A dome roof, unsurprisingly, is a roof in the shape of a dome.
A complex and durable design, this type of roof adds a beautiful aesthetic to a building, and can be seen in many historical buildings from the Capitol Building in Washington D.C., to the iconic St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.
Dormers contain a window that projects vertically from a traditional pitched roof, creating an extended window in the roof.
This type of roof is most popular in loft conversions, providing an easy way of expanding the space and natural light in the converted loft room.
While plain looking below, the flat roof is frequently used on modern and mid-century style homes and can be a striking design if you like the modern look.
Box gable roofs have two sloping sides that meet to form a ridge, with a triangular
extension on either side that is boxed off from the walls.
This type of roof is popular for areas with cold weather conditions, providing a stable design that deals well with rain and snow.
An open gable roof is identical to a box gable roof, with the only exception the boxed offsides on either end.
In this type of roof, the ends are left open to meet the walls directly there are no added benefits between the two, the choice is purely based on aesthetics.
A cross gable roof is a design that consists of two or more gable roof ridges that intersect at an angle, most commonly perpendicular to one another.
This type of roof is often seen in buildings with a more complex layout, for example, homes with an attached garage.
The Dutch gable (hip) roof is a hybrid of a gable and hip type of roof.
A full or partial gable can be found at the end of the ridge in the roof, allowing for a greater amount of internal roof space.
This style also improves the look of the roof providing a more unique and interesting design than the very common simple hip roof.
Front gable roofs have the roof ridge in line with the building’s entrance.
This type of roof is commonly seen on Colonial-style homes, but is an increasingly popular design for modern buildings.
Gable and Valley Roof
The gable and valley roof is a very popular roof design. It’s also known as a cross gable roof since the home has a cross footprint.
Interestingly, you can mix and match roof styles when building a gable and valley roof designs for a cross footprint home.
Gable Roof with Dormer Window
The gable roof with dormer is extremely popular and again you can mix and match roof styles.
For example, you can have the main roof gabled with a gambrel dormer or vice-versa.
Gable Roof with Shed Addition
Some gable roof designs have a shed roof addition on the side.
This is a popular alteration to the standard gable roof, providing more headroom and space for an extension without having to completely alter the existing roof.
The gambrel roof has a distinct look for sure. It’s a 4-sided roof. The top 2 sides extending from the peak are not as steep as the bottom 2 sides.
Gambrel roofs often include window dormers, but not as always.
This complex roofing design makes any garden gazebo really stand out.
Formed of six triangular identically pitched roof panels and six supporting rafters, this type of roof is most typically used for a beautifully unique gazebo addition to a home or commercial garden lawn.
Jerkinhead roofs, also known as clipped gables or snub gables, are essentially a gable roof with the two peak ends are clipped off.
The advantage of this design is that the clipped ends to reduce potential wind damage to the home, making the roof more stable.
The hip roof is identified with inward sloping ends on the roof. If the four sides of the
roof meets at a point, it’s a pyramid hip roof. When they don’t, it’s a simple hip roof.
American Foursquare homes’ key feature is the hipped roof.
Hip and Valley Roof
The hip and valley roof is similar to the gable and valley except the roof ends slope inward.
You can combine gable and hip designs with a cross footprint home as well.
The pyramid hip roof is one where all four sides meet in one point.
It can include dormers, but is often used on ranch style homes which has no upper floor and therefore dormers aren’t necessary.
A cross hipped roof is a common roof type, with perpendicular hip sections that form an “L” or “T” shape in the roof hip.
This is a great option for buildings with more complex layout than a simple rectangular of square, and is a type of roof that will hold well in rain, snow or windy conditions.
A half hipped roof is almost identical to a simple hip roof design, but instead, the two sides of the roof are shortened, creating eaves at the either side of the house.
This type of roof provides more options for extending the loft and installing windows, allowing a greater amount of natural light into the room.
The popular simple hip roof is a type of roof where all four sides feature symmetrical gentle slopes towards the walls, with no gables or vertical sides to the roof.
The defining feature of hip roofs is that the roof faces are almost always identical in pitch, making them symmetrical from the center point.
A mansard roof is a four-sided gambrel roof, with each side having a double slope of one steep slope and one shallow upper slope.
Mansard roofs are a popular option for buildings wishing to maximize the amount of living space in the building, providing the option to use the loft as an additional living space.
Mansard with Dormers
Mansard roof with dormers built-in.
The mansard roof is identified with steep sides that create a cap effect. This is a French roof historically and the design has a functional purpose which is to create more usable space in upper floors. Mansard roofs can include window dormers and often do since the space is usable and therefore the dormers provide natural light.
The pyramid version of the mansard roof includes a pyramid design on top of the steep sides instead of a flat top.
Flare-Out Mansard Roof
This mansard style roof flares out at the bottom.
An M-shaped roof is double-pitched roof; essentially a double gable.
The roof rests on two bearing walls with two sloping walls meeting in the middle to form an “M” shape.
Central guttering runs between the two pitches to stop any snow or rain building up in the winter season.
A parapet roof is a flat roof with the walls of the building extending upwards past the roof by a few feet around the edges.
The addition of a parapet makes a flat roof far safer, providing a small barrier that provides additional security to reduce the likelihood of anyone standing the roof falling over the edge.
While not popular, the saltbox roof is great for creating vaulted ceilings in part of a home and a corresponding loft overlooking the vaulted ceiling rooms.
Shed or Sloped Roof
The shed roof is a very simple roof. It’s essentially a flat roof that’s sloped.
It allows for vaulted ceilings or an upper floor for part of the home, depending on the slope and design of the home.
Additionally, the clipped ends provide more headroom in the loft than a traditional hip roof.
Shed Roof or Skillion
A skillion roof has a single flat surface pitched at a steep angle to allow water runoff.
Also known as a “shed roof”, skillion roofs are extremely easy and cheap to construct as they are made of simply one piece of roofing.
Skillion and Lean-To
A lean-to roof, similar to a skillion roof, is composed of one angled pitch.
The roof is supported at one end by a wall raised higher than the other, enabling the roof to be pitched at a steeper angle to allow runoff in heavy rain.
Vote for your favorite roof style
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