Roof Design 101: The Main Types and How It Works

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a modern glass roof design

The roof is one of the main features of any home or business. All roofs meet certain needs. It’s important to understand roof styles and how they differ. The shape, details, and design influence the cost, and the appeal of a roof. The characteristics of a roof depend on the building it covers. But roofs must include local traditions, legislation, roofing materials, and different architectural concepts and features. This article will explain the types of roofs, and how they work, or not work, under certain situations and conditions.

What Are the Most Common Roof Designs?

gablet roof design

There are two main house roof designs. The gable roof design, and the hip roof design. The main differences in those two designs are the roof-to-wall junction and the slope lines on the side of the roof. A gable roof design has two straight slopes from the ridge of the roof, and they fall away to its eaves. The eaves are the edges that overhang the wall for water drainage. A gable roof design is easily recognized, thanks to the creation of a triangular shaped peak on either side of the face.

Hipped roofs have an even roof-to-wall junction. The roof plane is broken along the slope line so that it can wrap around a building’s structure. There are eaves on all sides of a hipped roof design. Eaves protect walls.

Gable shaped roofs are the most common roof style. Leaves, rain, snow and other debris fall off the sloped sides. Hipped roofs work in areas where extreme weather is common. But they can be used to accent certain building styles and designs. The internal framing and the shape of the hipped roof can withstand strong winds and even hurricane winds.

Other Types Of Roofs

The gambrel roof design is a mixture of a gable roof and a hipped roof. Gambrel roofs are used in colonial architecture. The lower slopes are positioned at steep angles, and the upper slopes are flat. Steep slopes of gambrel roof prevent weather damage, and the flatter upper slopes provide more head space than hip roofs. The roof truss design is part of the gambrel roof design. Trusses allow for complete freedom when a floor plan is designed. And, gambrel roofs can have dormers. A dormer is a structural addition to the slope of a roof. They provide extra light and head space.

A mansard roof design is characterized by four double-sloped sides. The lower slope is steeper than the one above it. The upper slope is not visible from the ground because it is angled enough to drain water from the roof. Mansard roofs are elegant, French Renaissance inspired roofs, and dormers are part of that roof design.

The flat roof design is another style that is part of modern architecture. A flat roof has a 10-degree inclination for drainage. Flat roofs are cheaper than the traditional designs, but they require yearly inspections and more maintenance. Patio roof designs are a version of the flat roof design. The green roof design is a flat roof, and it is covered with vegetation that doesn’t need much maintenance. The growing medium is six inches or less.

Pros And Cons of the Two Main Roof Styles

There are several things to consider before choosing a roof design. The look, cost, difficulty, and durability must be taken into consideration before deciding. The practical and the aesthetic value of the roof are also important considerations. One practical consideration is, gable roofs have two faces, and hip roofs have four, so the construction of the hip roof is more intricate. Both roofs require exact measurements, cuts, and installation, but hipped roofs are more involved and more things can go wrong.

The Pros of a Gable Roof

  • Usually, it costs less to install.
  • The design shows more of the structure.
  • There is more ceiling space.
  • Provides excellent water drainage.
  • There are fewer leaks.
  • It has a longer life.

The Cons of a Gable Roof

  • Vulnerable to strong winds.
  • Water may stand on the roof.
  • More prone to roof collapse during a tornado.
  • The roof is not suitable for all types of climates.

Hipped Roofs Pros

  • Better water drainage.
  • No water accumulation on the roof.
  • Better in areas that get a lot of snow.
  • The design helps prevent roof collapse.
  • One can incorporate the roof into an existing structure.
  • People can use it in all types of climates.
  • Less vulnerable to high winds.

Hipped Roof Cons

  • It’s a complex roof to build.
  • Requires more material.
  • More labor cost.
  • Prone to leaks.

Quality and Other Standards to Expect from Roof Designs

an elegant mansard roof

One of the most important elements in the decision to pick a particular roof design is the contractor. The contractor should carry all the required state and local licenses and have at least $1,000,000 in liability insurance. Plus, a contractor should also offer an extended limited warranty and be in good standing with the Better Business Bureau. The contractor should also be up-to-date on the latest standards and new installation technology.

Shingles and the way you install them make a roof design stand out. Over 70 percent of roof issues are contractor workmanship errors. Picking the right shingles also means making sure there is a warranty that covers workmanship, faulty manufacturing, and defects in the shingles. Different warranties carry different terms and conditions. Most warranties cover shingles for at least 20 years; contractors can guarantee their work for as much as ten years.

Picking the right roof design can be a complicated task unless there is a complete understanding of what roof designs have longer life spans in certain areas. Cost is always a factor in picking a roof design. Finding the right contractor and making sure the roof design comes with warranties is also important. Deciding on a roof is an individual experience. The roof of any structure tells a story about the building’s structure and the people that own it.

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