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What Kind of Roof Do I Have and Why Does It Matter?

Wednesday, August 5th, 2020 by Amanda Ciufecu


No matter where you live, you’ve probably seen a few different styles of houses. But do you know what kind they are and why it matters? Probably not. The only time it would matter is if you were purchasing a home and wanted to know the benefits or detriments of the style, or if your current roof needs a little TLC.

So what we want to do is shed a little light on the various types of roofs you might see, some key features of those roofs, and some things to keep in mind in case you ever need to know. To be honest, there are many different roofs, each providing varying functions and aesthetic value. With so many to cover, let’s get started!

What Kind of Roof Do I Have? - Gable

Reshingled gable home

A Gable roof is a traditional, two-sided triangular roof and is the most common type of roof. You can typically see a gable roof on Colonials, Ranches, and Raised Ranches.

The pitch (rise/run or number of inches vertically over the number of inches horizontally) of a standard gable can range from 5/12 to 10/12. (Any higher than that and it would be a Cape, but more on that soon.) The high pitch allows it to quickly shed water and snow, while also facilitating ventilation and providing more attic space. This type of roof is also the most simple to re-shingle, especially if it’s a 5/12 or 6/12 pitch. Anyone in the field calls this a “walkable” roof, and it makes for fast work.

However, one risk that you might find is that their frames can collapse in high wind areas if not adequately constructed. But most modern building codes require construction that prevents this issue, especially in high-wind areas. So even though it’s a risk, it’s rarely an issue, which is why this beautiful and traditional roof is so popular!

What Kind of Roof Do I Have? - Hip

Ct Roofer reshingled hip-style roof

A hip roof has four sides sloping downward, with two of the sides pointed inwards. They are often more durable than gables and are better for high wind and snowy areas.

What Kind of Roof Do I Have? - Jerkinhead/Bullnose

Jerkinhead/Bullnose Style Roof

This roof can be thought of as a hip roof with clipped sides pointing inwards. It’s stabler than a gable roof and more resistant to wind damage. It also provides more living space. Some in the industry call it a Jerkinhead, while others call it a Bullnose, we are a fan of the latter. ;) 

What Kind of Roof Do I Have? - Dutch

Dutch-style Roof

A dutch roof combines a hip roof style with a small gable at the center. This gives natural light and extra space.

What Kind of Roof Do I Have? - Cape Cod

Cape cod-style roof

Cape cod houses are defined purely by their roof pitch, which is an even 12 inches up and 12 inches over, giving the home a more dramatic look and adding places for dormers. Dormers are windows that project vertically from the roof. They provide the roof some dimension and the interior more natural light. The home below has not utilized its extra space for dormers. 

What Kind of Roof Do I Have? - Gambrel

Reshingled Gambrel-style barn roof by Klaus Larsen Roofing

Also known as a barn roof, a gambrel roof is two-sided, with two slopes on each side. The lower slope is steep, while the upper slope is gradual and provides more living space. However, they are not suitable for areas with heavy wind or snow and can collapse under extreme pressure.

What Kind of Roof Do I Have? - Mansard

Mansard-style roof by Klaus Larsen Roofing

This type of roof is also known as a French roof. It has two slopes on each of its four sides, with the lowest slope at a steeper angle and often adorned with dormers. It can create extra living space, but due to the lower-pitched portions of this roof, it isn’t ideal for places that experience heavy snowfall, so it’s best to leave it in France for now. 

What Kind of Roof Do I Have? - Bonnet

 

a reshingled bonnet-style roof done by Klaus Larsen Roofing

This structure has four sides with two slopes, with the lowest slope flattening into an overhang, perhaps meant to emulate a bonnet if you squint your eyes enough. It’s durable and water can run off it efficiently, but can also pool in the valleys.

What Kind of Roof Do I Have? - Flat 

Flat Roof

These roofs, deceptively named, are not entirely flat but have a slight pitch to allow for water run-off. They are primarily used for commercial buildings and can provide extra living space, but they are more susceptible to leaks.

What Kind of Roof Do I Have? - Skillion

Skillion-style Roof

Also referred to as a shed roof or a lean-to, a skillion roof is an angled, single-sloped roof, bearing no resemblance to the green onion of a similar name. It allows snow and water to run off smoothly, but if the roof pitch is too high, it can result in low ceilings. High winds can also be a problem.

What Kind of Roof Do I Have? - Curved

Curved Roof

A curved roof is a roof that is curved Tongue Out. It's like a skillion roof, but with curves instead of angles. Lower slopes make the structure more resistant to high winds, and larger arches allow for more water to run-off.

What Kind of Roof Do I Have? - Butterfly

 

Butterfly-style Roof

Aptly named, this structure is v-shaped, with the middle angled downwards to form a valley. The upper angles allow for more windows to be used, giving the home more natural light, but also making it more challenging to regulate temperatures. Their drainage systems are also prone to clogging.

What Kind of Roof Do I Have? - Saltbox

Saltbox-style Roof

A saltbox roof is asymmetrical, with a long, steep downwards slope on one side and another, shorter, slope on the other. The slope makes it easy for water to run off, and it adds more living space, but some of the rooms may have slanted ceilings.

What Kind of Roof Do I Have? - Sawtooth

Sawtooth-style Roof

A sawtooth roof mimics a saw, with jagged, alternating ridges. It was commonly used in factories to cut down the need for extra lighting; however, it’s very high maintenance, and additions create a higher chance for leaks.

What Kind of Roof Do I Have? - Pyramid

Pyramid-style Roof

A pyramid roof has four sides that come to a point at the top. It is exceptionally resistant to strong winds, and the slope provides extra space for ventilation, attics, or high ceilings.

Put a Klaus On Your House

No matter what kind of roof you have, we’re happy to provide you a FREE ESTIMATE. Call us at 1-845-335-7201, and we’ll come out to evaluate your roof!
 

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  • Arden
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Klaus Larsen Roofing of Hudson Valley

Hudson Valley, NY
1-845-209-2357
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