Which Roof Is Best?

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The Pros and Cons of the 5 Most Popular Types of Roofs

Choosing the right type of roof is important, whether you’re building a new home, or replacing your current one. Replacing a worn-out roof will not only increase your home’s value, but it will also extend its lifespan.

Due to the many roofing options available, choosing the right one isn’t easy. You’ll need to do your homework first. That’s why, in this article, Ryan from Onsite Property, a local property management company here in Forth Collins, shares with us the 5 most popular types of roofs and their pros and cons.

Gable Roof

Also known as the “peaked roof” and the “pitched roof” the gable roof is undoubtedly one of the most popular types of roofs. Drive through any residential community and you’ll realize that it’s a popular option among homeowners.

The gable roof is triangular shaped, formed by two sloping faces of the roof that meet at the top ridge. These can be covered by anything from terra cotta to clay to concrete to shingles.

There are different types of gable roofs. These include front gable, Dutch gable, crossed gable, and side gable.

Pros

  • Simple design and classic styling for homes

  • Relatively cheaper and easy to build than other roof types

  • Allow more ventilation

  • Added space for the attic or vaulted ceilings

  • Easily shed water and snow

Cons

  • Can be a liability in high wind areas

  • Potential roof collapse if roofing frames aren’t properly constructed

Mansard Roof

Also called the French or cub roof, a mansard roof is more complex than a peaked roof. It’s four-sided and characterized by two slopes on each of its sides. The lower slope of each side of the roof is much steeper than the upper slope.

One of the most famous American buildings that have a mansard roof is the Germania Insurance building in New York City.

Many homeowners will opt for two distinct types of materials when choosing materials for a mansard roof. One type for the low slope of the roof and one type for the steep slope of the roof.

It’s best to choose slate or wood for the low slope of the roof, and then metal (zinc or copper) for the other section.

Pros 

  • Allow flexibility for future home extension or additions as needs change

  • Style can allow open or closed dormers for a more aesthetic appeal

  • Roof design provides usable space on the upper level of the home

Cons

  • Not ideal for areas that experience heavy snowfall

  • Its design is complex – this means that it’s labor-intensive and it’s more costly than typical roofs

Hip Roof

Also called, “hipped roof,” a hip roof slopes upward from all sides of a structure, having no vertical ends. The hip is the external angle at which adjacent sloping sides meet.

Similar to gable roofs, these can be made with almost any material, such as metal, shingles, and tiles. Cross hipped and simple hip are the two main types of hip roofs.

Pros 

  • Additional attic space or living space for vaulted ceilings

  • Excellent choice for snowy and high wind areas

  • Stronger and more stable than gable roofs

Cons 

  • Usually, require more maintenance

  • They are expensive to build due to their complex design

Flat Roof

A flat roof is a roof which is almost level in contrast to the many types of sloped roofs. These are common on commercial buildings because they allow the more efficient use of space and are easy to install.

Flat roofs aren’t usually flat. These are built on an incline of 1/8 inch per foot. The slight incline enables rainwater to drain from the roof.

Pros 

  • Heating and cooling units can be installed out of sight on the roof

  • Good for installing photovoltaic panels for alternative energy 

  • Offers extra living space for a penthouse, a garden or a patio 

Cons 

  • More expensive due to maintenance, repair and replacement costs

  • Not advisable for places with heavy snow

  • Low pitch makes it prone to water leakage

Gambrel Roof

Also known as the “barn roof,” this type of roof is distinctively American. When most people hear of the gambrel roof, their thoughts often wander to the countryside where quaint barns dot the rolling landscape.

These days, though, gambrel roofs not only cover barns and churches. These are now a popular style for homes and log cabins.

A gambrel roof is basically a cross between a gable and a hip roof. It has two slopes on each side, the upper being less steep than the lower.

Pros 

  • Great option for outdoor storage buildings and sheds

  • Ample space beneath the roof provides potential expansion space

Cons 

  • The open design can cause roof collapse under immense pressure

  • Not ideal for high wind and heavy snowfall areas

A roof does more than just protect your most valuable investment – your home. It also plays an important role in defining the style and shape of your house. If you are looking to replace your worn-out roof or are building a new house, these are the 5 most popular types of roofs to choose from.