Skip to main content

This handy chart shows you all the common (and not-so-common) roof types

A chart with all the info to decide which type of roof is best for your home

The roof of your home is a crucial element. After all, it keeps the moisture out, keeps the heat in, and protects your valuables from damage by the elements. The design of your roof is an important factor to consider when you’re buying a home, building a new house, or overhauling the roof on your existing property. Let’s discuss why roof types matter and which type of roof is best for your home, considering the benefits and drawbacks.

White Cape Cod-style house with a red roof
Hussain / Adobe Stock

Why does roof type matter?

Some people may think that the design and shape of a home’s roof are irrelevant. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Why?

  • Certain roof types are more expensive
  • Some roof types afford more living space
  • Not all roofs allow for green features like solar panels
  • The roof type should mesh with the neighborhood
  • The roof should be appropriate for the climate
Recommended Videos

All types of roofs are not created equal. It’s crucial for the aesthetics of your home, the value of your property, and the impact on your pocketbook to pick one of the appropriate roof types for your home.

chart of different roof types and names
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Common and uncommon roof types your home could use

Open gable

The most common and recognizable shape of roofs out there, a gable roof is one that’s in the simple, typical triangle shape with peaked lines. These roofs are economic and efficient, with many in colder climates preferring them due to snow and ice sliding easily off for quick maintenance and protection from water damage. A wide range of roofing materials can also be used on gable roofs because of their simplistic design.

An open gable roof style refers to the area between the two sloping sides being left open.

Box gable

Similar to a standard open gable roof in design and pitch, the box gable roof type has one simple change: The areas on each end of the house between the two sloping roof sides are fixed with an extension in the shape of a triangle that “boxes” the end in.

Dutch gable

There are other variations of gable roofs, but one popular style is the Dutch gable roof. With this type of roof, the architectural design is a bit more interesting, as a smaller gable is added to a hip roof style for additional living space and character.

Hip

A hip-style roof has four sloping sides as opposed to the two sides of the gable style. The four sides come to meet at the top, where they create a ridge. Hip roofs offer a bit more stability, snow and rain protection, and shade than gable roofs.

Cross hipped

Cross-hipped roofs look like two ends of a standard hip roof, but they’re laid out to make an L-shape instead of a straight line. This creates a “valley” on the inside seam of the roof’s L-shape.

Intersecting/overlaid hip

When a gable-style and hip-style roof combine, the result is either an intersecting or overlaid hip design. Typically, a traditional gable roof gets a perpendicular section of a hip-style roof overlaid on one or both of its sides.

Hip and valley roof

A step up from intersecting/overlaid hip roofs, hip and valley roofs contain multiple overlaid hip-style sections around the main roof.

Pyramid hip

Pyramid hip roofs look just like they sound — like an Egyptian pyramid. Four sloping sides meet at a point at the top of the roof, which is great for stability as well as weather and moisture resistance.

Gambrel

A gambrel roof is often called a “barn roof” due to its two double-sloping sides that create a half-octagon design. Two gentle slopes make up the top point of the roof — much like a softer gable style — but two more panels are attached to the bottom of those at a steeper slope, creating the signature barn appearance.

Mansard

Similar to a gambrel-style roof, the mansard roof is a French design that has four double-sloping sides instead of two like the gambrel. It’s an extremely sturdy design that basically adds another entire level of living space on the top floor under the roof.

Dormer

Dormer roofs contain smaller rooms that jut out from the roof and are covered by their own style of roof — often gable. These small rooms allow for additional living space and a more interesting exterior design.

M-shaped

A roof that’s in the M-shaped style is simply two gable roofs, side by side and attached at the bottom of the inside slopes. This style allows for additional windows and opportunities for natural light in larger structures.

Jerkinhed

Sometimes called a “clipped gable,” jerkinhead roofs are basically a combination of gable and hip — but with a twist. Instead of four sloping sides of even length — like a hip roof — two of the jerkinhed’s slopes are much shorter, allowing for more light than a standard hip roof but more stability against the wind than a standard gable.

Wooden gazebo surrounded by flowers and trees

Hexagonal

Often seen on gazebos, a hexagonal roof has — you guessed it — six slopes. All the slopes meet at the top of the roof to form a point.

Saltbox

You may recognize the saltbox roof by its signature asymmetrical shape. One side of the roof is shorter, often with a softer slope, while the other side is longer, often with a steeper slope. Saltbox roofs offer additional living space than standard gable or hip roofs and still retain benefits like easy water runoff.

Skillion

Often called “lean-to” or “shed” styled roofs, skillion-style roofs have a single sloping surface. While popular for additions to homes as well as sheds and other smaller structures, this style has gained popularity in modern, minimalistic home designs.

Flat

If you live in an area without a ton of rainfall, a flat roof may be a good option for you. Sometimes flat roof styles aren’t truly flat, but they have an extremely low slope. Popular in modern home designs and commercial buildings, flat roofs do require properly installed gutters and drains for water to run off appropriately.

Butterfly

Looking just like it sounds, a butterfly roof has two inverse slopes that meet down in the middle and create the appearance of butterfly wings. Popular in warmer climates with less rainfall, this roof type lends easily to solar panels and other green home features.

Combination

The last style of roof combines multiple styles into one home. Typically, a combination roof can be three or more styles and is popular on larger homes since it offers some interesting architectural features.

House with solar panels on the roof
vivintsolar / Unsplash

If you’re building a new home or remodeling your existing roof, you shouldn’t choose the type of roof carelessly. It’s important to consider your budget, your climate, the surrounding area, and what home features you want — like solar panels, lots of natural light, or additional living space. Whichever roof style you choose, it should make your life easier and your home safer.

Editors' Recommendations

Topics
Veronica Sparks
Veronica Sparks is a writer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin who loves writing about gardening, home décor, and DIY life. She’s…
6 gorgeous low-maintenance indoor plants you can keep alive all season long
Indoor plants on a wooden table next to a window

When the weather turns cold, the lusciously green landscape transforms into frosty, barren branches. While soft winter snow can be incredibly beautiful, it's still nice to have greenery around. With indoor plants, you can have the best of both worlds, enjoying the crisp bite of the winter air as well as the luscious, leafy plants of spring and summertime.

Exercising your green thumb can benefit your health too — these plants can improve air quality, reduce stress, and boost your productivity and mood. In order to reap these benefits, you must first select the right indoor plants for the winter. These are our favorite low-maintenance options that can withstand the dark and cold winters so you can enjoy their beauty all season long.

Read more
The pros and cons of polished concrete floors you should know
We'll weigh the good and the bad of this durable flooring material
Polished concrete floor with leather furniture and animal skin rug

Looking for a chic and simple flooring solution? Polished concrete floors have emerged as a trendy and practical floor material for modern spaces. With their smooth, glossy finish and industrial charm, they offer a unique aesthetic appeal that's hard to match. But beyond their appearance, polished concrete floors boast several advantages that make them a compelling choice for residential and commercial properties.

Let's dive into the pros and cons of polished concrete floors so you can decide if this flooring material is right for your space
Pros of polished concrete floors
These are some amazing pros and good reasons to polish the concrete floors in your home.

Read more
7 simple safety tips to stop a rug from sliding (and you from tripping)
Keep your rug where you want it so you can stay safe
Modern living room with leather sofa and large red rug

Area rugs are a great way to bring the room together. They add decorative flair to your space and offer comfort while standing or walking on them. Even though they're popular in modern homes, rugs are difficult to keep in place, particularly on hardwood floors.

They slide around easily and even curl up at the corners, creating slipping and tripping hazards for you and your family. Luckily, there are several ways you can successfully keep your rug where you want it. We're going to discuss how to stop a rug from sliding with seven simple solutions.
Why does my rug keep moving?

Read more