Basic Roof Styles
There are 4 main styles of roof. There’s a flat roof, which is self-explanatory. They’re not installed completely level or they would not allow for any runoff. They have the advantage of being cheaper to install and maintain and they are much easier to work on.
When a single roof plane or a flat roof sits on a building at an angle with one wall higher than the other, it’s no longer a flat roof and it’s called a skillion roof.
The roof like an upside-down V where the roof doesn’t meet the end wall is a gabled roof or gable roof. That upside down V at the end is the gable. A simple gable roof has a single central ridge.
A roof that meets all the walls horizontally is a hipped roof or hip roof. A standard hipped roof has a central ridge and instead of the triangle of the gable sitting vertical, it is angled back to form two ridges called hips.
Cross Gabled and Cross Hipped
But most houses aren’t simple squares or rectangles. An L shaped or T shaped house can have two gable roofs that meet with a valley at the interior angle. That’s called a cross gabled roof.
The same applies to hipped roofs. The L or T shape can be covered by a cross hipped roof.
Mix and Match
Roofs are often a combination of these basic styles – you can have a gabled roof at a right angle to a hipped roof. Sometimes for decorative purposes the hipped roof and the gable roof are combined on the same plane in a style called Dutch gable.
There are other styles that are variations of these basic forms. An A-frame is, for instance, an exaggerated sort of gable. The classic barn roof style called a gambrel roof is another gable variation with a gently sloping top section changing to a steep slope. A mansard roof has the same gentle and steep pitches but is hipped rather than gabled.
There can be practical reasons for some of these styles. A gambrel roof gives you more space for a second storey and sheds snow better than from a less steeply sloped roof.
Gabled roofs tend to be cheaper to build than hipped roofs, although hipped roofs are more resistant to high winds. But in the end, it mostly comes down to taste. All the roofing styles successfully keep the rain out and won’t blow away if they are properly secured, so it’s the look of the roof that matters. That said, from the point of view of a roofer a steep A frame doesn’t look very good at all. They’re not easy to stand on. Jim’s Roofing doesn’t mind what style of roof you have. We like them all and know how to keep them looking great.