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Roofing 101: What is a Skillion Roof?

australian skillion roof

Steep and sloping are two words that one does not usually associate with a new house. And yet, there are few terms more suited to describing the skillion roof style which is rising in popularity. Home builders looking to create their forever home will want to become well versed in skillion roofs, along with their advantages – like how installing a skillion can save you money.

This popular style showcases that roofs can be a design feature as well as a structure that provides necessary protection from the elements. So whether you’re undergoing major renovations or compiling ideas for a new roof, the skillion could be the answer you seek. Here’s what you need to know about skillion roofs:

What is a Skillion Roof?

A skillion roof is a popular form of metal roofing distinguished by its flat surfaces pitched to one side. This angled style is favoured for new builds thanks to its modern aesthetic, affordability and superior drainage.

Skillion roofs differ from other designs including the familiar hip and gable roof which are defined by their tapered sides that meet at peaks. A skillion is always a flat surface resting at an angle or pitched to the side at a minimum of 10 – 15 degrees, but it can be much steeper.

The skillion roof is gaining popularity in Australia as modern aesthetics favour rural and industrial flair. It’s not uncommon for builders to fondly refer to this style as a ‘shed roof’ due to the similarities in shape and materials to those used on industrial sites and farms.

Skillion Roof Variations

There are several variations to the striking skillion style. The butterfly roof is one such example. It’s a popular style amongst the eco conscious, as two sloping separate skillions are angled down towards the centre of a roof effectively channeling rainwater to a central location. The collected water can then be captured by a rainwater tank for further use. The butterfly roof takes its name from the fact that the two skillions resemble butterfly wings.

A split skillion is a style suitable for a multi-tiered home. It features several sections pitched in different directions and at different angles, which adds to the architectural presence and street appeal of a home.

The third skillion style is the oval roof which adds a soft curve to the flat surface. This style captures a more organic look and maximises the interior space beneath. However, additional costs and install requirements commonly exclude this style from residential builds. Expect to see it crop up on farms, sheds, at schools and public playgrounds.

Skillion Roof Materials

Skillion roofs are constructed using steel cladding which is the most common and reliable form of metal roofing in Australia. Brands including Colorbond, Zyncalume, Lysaght and Straco all produce steel in unique styles which are suitable for the job.

Beyond the steel cladding, construction relies on standard roofing materials including a membrane and roof insulation underneath. The Skillion is designed for superior drainage, so several of the steps required to waterproof a low pitched roof can be ruled out.

american skillion roof

4 Immediate Benefits of Installing a Skillion Roof

Whether you’re looking for new build inspiration or plan on undergoing significant renovations, there are several advantages of installing a skillion roof over the alternatives. They include:

1. Contemporary Architectural Design

Modern architecture favours the sleek, minimalist approach and is known for embracing industrial design cues. A skillion roof ticks all of these boxes.

In recent years, the clean lines, smooth surfaces and raw materials of industrial builds have all crossed over to residential housing. It’s hard to say exactly why this stripped back style had made such an impact on modern architecture. It could have something to do with the eco-friendly and occasionally recycled materials. It could also be a throwback to Australia’s working class history as opposed to the common Tudor stylings and classic European designs.

A skillion roof works well in conjunction with timber, steel and concrete. These industrial cues are only expected to rise in popularity keeping your home at the forefront of the trend.

2. Fast, Easy and Affordable

The streamlined structure of a skillion roof makes it fast and easier to install than the alternative roof styles. This is especially true if there’s just one skillion, as less framework, less rain management and less waterproofing is required.

Steel cladding is also one of the most affordable roof materials costing just a fraction of roof tiles per square meter. Combine these elements and you’re looking at one of the most affordable types of roofing available in Australia. Skillion roofs are great options for those building on a budget who still wish to achieve that modern, architecture appeal.

3. Superior Drainage

The steep pitch of a skillion roof makes it less likely to experience the drainage problems encountered with a standard flat roof and those with a shallower pitch. Less gutters and downpipes are also required to achieve the same results as a gabled or hip roof.

As a skillion is pitched in fewer directions, it becomes easier to manage the flow of rainwater. With all water flowing to a central location, a suitably placed tank can be used to capture and store the rainwater for use across the garden and lawn. A plumber can also connect the tank to a home’s faucets so the collected water can be treated and used internally.

suburban home

4. Solar Panel Support

The flat surfaces and pitch of a skillion maxises sun exposure throughout the day, making this an excellent roof type for utilising solar panels.
The hip and gable, for comparison, feature multiple sides that are affected by the sun at different times of the day. Panels installed on these roof types may provide enough power to suit your needs, but they can produce less power than a solar panel setup on a skillion roof that’s exposed to more direct sunlight.

It’s also likely that the square or rectangle structure of a skillion can fit more panels than the tapered shapes of other roof types.

Any downsides to Skillion roofs?

There are minimal disadvantages to a skillion roof. The ceiling height at one end of a home will be reduced, which may affect the choice and installation of homewares and appliances.

Having a roof that’s higher on one end can also make maintenance more complicated. You may need a ladder with an adjustable height or two separate ladders to take care of DIY tasks at either ends of the roof.

Skillion Roof Repairs and Restoration

When your skillion roof needs repairs or a restoration, Jim’s Roofing is here for the job. Our team of technicians is available 24/7 for all work and we strive to be at your door within the hour when dealing with emergencies.

Our team also consists of licensed plumbers capable of managing your gutters, downpipes and rainwater tanks. We can even connect your tank to your faucets so you can make use of the harvested water for interior use.

To explore the possibilities of a quality skillion roof, call Jim’s Roofing today or request a call back online!