Types of Roofs
The styles of roofs vary from area to area due to different tastes, needs and climates. What you have in Asia looks a lot different than roofs in South America. Some of the most primary needs of a roof are protection from the weather, overall design compatibility with the existing structure, and housing of internal elements such as piping, electrical wiring, ventilation, and insulation.
Gable roof designs are one of the simpler and most common styles when it comes to roofs. The gable roof style looks like an upside down V.
Pros: There are numerous advantages to the gable roof style. First its simple design makes it more easy to construct and less expensive than alternative roof types. Also there is available space underneath the roof, allowing for an attic or a more open concept. Gable roof structures easily shed water and snow which make them great for areas with heavy snowfall such as Canada. The steep pitch of gable roofs allows for excellent water drainage and fewer leaks. They also allow for more ventilation, and provide more space for an attic or vaulted ceilings.
Cons: Gable roofs are more prone to wind damage, as they tend to be more steeply pitched than other roof types. In addition, if a roof is not adequately supported by its framing, it could be at risk for collapsing. Also, if there is too much overhang, winds underneath can actually lift the roof away from the home’s walls. This style roof is not recommended in areas prone to tornadoes.
Flat roofs are common especially with commercial buildings. Theyare definitely the most simple roof to construct because they have little to no pitch. The most common types of systems used with flat roofs are rubber.
Pros: By far the biggest advantage of using a flat roof is the expense. From the initial building and installation to the materials most often used to cover the roof, flat roofs are fairly cheap.
Cons: The biggest disadvantage to installing a flat roof is the drainage, or lack thereof, which can be a problem in Vancouver. Flat roofs do drain, but not nearly as efficiently as a roof with any kind of pitch. Therefore water has a tendency to puddle and remain on the roof, which could lead to the roofing material breaking down or to eventual leaks, particularly along the seams.
Hip roofs are a common residential style. They are more difficult to construct when compared to flat roofs and gable roofs because they have a more complicated truss and rafter structure. A hip roof style roof has four sloping sides with zero vertical walls. Hip roofs can be both square and rectangular.
Pros: Hip roofs are more stable than gable roofs because the inward slope of all four sides is what makes it more sturdy and durable.
They are excellent for high wind, rain, and snowy areas. The slant of the roof allows snow and rain to easily slide off with no standing water. Hip roofs can offer extra living space with an addition of a dormer or a crow’s nest.
Cons: Hip roofs are more expensive to build than a gable roof. It’s a more complex design that requires more building materials. Also, with the addition of a dormer, additional seams can make it easier for the water leaks to form in the valleys, if a roofing system is not properly installed.
A dome roof is polygonal with an inverted bowl shape. Dome roofs are great for adding unique and aesthetically pleasing features to any home. They are excellent choices for cupolas, gazebos or crow’s nests.
Pros: Not something you see every day, dome roofs are beautiful, unique and durable.
Cons: The complexity of a dome roof makes them expensive to construct. However, depending on the structure, a prefabricated one may be available.
A gambrel roof is basically how you picture a barn roof. While used on barns, it is also used in residential construction. This type of roof has the benefit of providing a good amount of space in the attic. In fact, it provides so much extra space that it is often turned into bedrooms or other living areas. The gambrel only uses two roof beams, along with gusset joints.
Pros: Since the construction is quite simple with fewer materials needed, this helps to keep the cost of a roof down. It also provides extra living space for a garret, attic or loft. Plus it’s simple to frame out. Gambrel roofs are also a great idea for outdoor sheds and storage buildings. Their shape can provide more storage without taking up more space.
Cons: The gambrel roof is not recommended for heavy wind areas or regions that receive significant snowfall. The open design can cause the roof to collapse under extreme pressure.
A mansard roof, also known as a French roof, is a four-sided roof with a double slope on each side that meet forming a low-pitched roof. The lower slope is much steeper than the upper.
Pros: Mansard roofs can help create a great deal of extra living space. Using the space as a full attic or living quarters is very popular. The style lends itself to either open or closed dormers for more aesthetic appeal. Mansard roofs are great for people wanting flexibility to make future home additions. When first designing and building a home, you can actually save money by having a simple mansard design to start off. This will not only add value to the house, but it also allows homeowners to easily make additions as their needs change.
Cons: A low pitched portion of a mansard roof isn’t ideal for areas receiving heavy snowfall. They also typically cost more than other roofs because of the embellishments and details that go into them. But, the added space and character can more than make up for the extra cost of initial construction.
A Sawtooth roof is two or more parallel pitched roofs in which the sloped and vertical surfaces alternate. As the name suggests, the roof resembles the side of a saw blade or a graph line. Sawtooth roofs were once only used in industrial buildings. However, now they have become trendy and are now used in modern home design.
Pros: Very chic looking, this design can have windows placed in the vertical spaces of the roof, allowing more natural light inside the home. The higher peaks provide the opportunity for either attic, vaulted ceilings or loft living space. The combination of the various slopes and use of natural light make this design an excellent choice for homes with Eco-friendly conveniences, geothermal, solar panels, and radiant heating systems.
Cons: The complex design and various building materials make the Sawtooth roof much more expensive than other roof types. It’s also a high maintenance roof. Adding windows, valleys and varying slopes creates a higher chance for water leaks. For this reason, Sawtooth roofs aren’t advisable in heavy snowfall areas.
When building a new home or retrofitting an existing one, choosing the right kind of roof can be more difficult than you might imagine. After all, roofs do a lot more than just serve the most basic practical purpose of protecting a house and its occupants from the outside elements. For instance, a roof’s shape plays a major role in defining the overall look and style of a house. They must fit in with the character of not only the rest of the house, but the entire neighbourhood as well. Roofs play a big part in providing additional living space, as well as make your home more resilient, energy efficient, and weather-proof.