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12 Most Common Roof Types Compared (Pros & Cons)

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Posted By:OpenBox Team

Choosing the perfect roof for your home is crucial, as various factors, such as style, budget, and durability, must be considered. It’s important to know the ins and outs of certain roof types for any future needs for roof repairs or replacements.

We will understand the pros and cons of 12 popular roof styles.

In addition, we will explore the versatility of different roofing materials like asphalt shingles or metal roofs while considering vital aspects like stability with Hip roofs or water/snow runoff with Saltbox roofs.

Comparison of 12 Common Roof Types

This section will provide an in-depth comparison of 12 different roof types, including a flat roof, gable roof, hip roof, mansard roof, shed roof, gambrel roof, butterfly roof, dome roof, saltbox roof, bonnet roof, and sawtooth roof.

Flat Roof

Flat roofs are a popular choice for several reasons, one being their relatively low construction cost compared to other roof types.

Despite their simplicity in design and ease of maintenance, flat roofs have certain drawbacks. For example, they may need to provide optimal water and snow runoff due to their lack of slope, which can lead to ponding issues and potential leaks over time.

If you need flat roof maintenance or repairs, don’t hesitate to reach out to local professionals! That way you can protect your time and business.

Gable Roof

Gable roofs feature a triangular shape formed by two sloping surfaces that meet at the ridge or peak. This popular roof design offers several benefits for homeowners and stands out among other types of roofs.

Despite its simplicity, gable roofs provide ample attic space. In addition to this valuable design aspect, gable roofing materials are quite versatile.

Hip Roof

hip roof on a new family house

Hip roofs are a standout option among various roof types, known for their exceptional stability and durability. Boasting a design that consists of four sloped sides converging at a common peak, hip roofs offer more sturdiness than their gable counterparts.

Homeowners considering hip roofs can also benefit from its versatile aesthetic appeal. For instance, incorporating dormer windows or skylights brings in more natural light while adding to the architectural charm of your home.

Mansard Roof

Mansard roofs combine hip and gambrel roof designs that originated in France during the 17th century. This design features two pitches on each roof side – a steeper angle on the bottom section and a flatter one on top.

The almost vertical slope of the bottom section provides additional living or attic space, making it an ideal choice for homeowners who need more space but do not have enough land to expand outward.

Some popular roofing materials used for mansard roofs include wood shingles, slate shingles, concrete tiles, composite shingles, or standing seam metal roofing.

Shed Roof

Shed roofs are similar to flat roofs but have a steeper incline and a single slope. Shed roofs offer excellent water drainage capabilities because of their high pitch angle.

However, shed roofs may not be ideal for larger structures because they offer little attic space due to their low ceiling height on one side. Also, if not correctly installed or maintained regularly may result in significant leaks from snowmelt runoff during winter months.

Gambrel Roof

Gambrel roofs have been widely used on barns and small sheds since the 1600s. This type of roof has a distinct two-sided design, with each side having two slopes, one steeper.

Gambrel roofs are relatively easy to design and install compared to other roofing styles. In addition, they provide attic space.

However, gambrel roofs struggle against heavy snowfall or high winds due to their pitch and low slope angle.

Butterfly Roof

A butterfly roof is a modern and unique style that recently gained popularity. This type of roof is named because it resembles the shape of a butterfly’s wingspan.

However, due to their complex structure, butterfly roofs need professional design and careful attention during construction to ensure proper water runoff and prevent leaks.

They may also require additional maintenance compared to conventional roofs.

Dome Roofs

Dome roofs are an architectural standout and provide multiple benefits. They’re typically seen on larger public buildings such as museums, planetariums, or churches but can also be found in residential structures.

The unique design of dome roofs increases the structural integrity of a building by distributing weight evenly across its surface.

However, their complexity adds to their cost and requires experienced roofing contractors to install them correctly.

Saltbox Roofs

Saltbox roofs are a popular roofing style found on colonial-style homes in the United States. These roofs are characterized by their asymmetrical design, with one side being significantly shorter than the other.

One of the main advantages of saltbox roofs is their ability to handle heavy snowfalls. Thanks to their steep pitches, these roofs allow snow and ice to slide off easily, preventing damage from the accumulated weight.

Due to its complex design, saltbox roofs can be more expensive to install or repair than other roofing systems.

Bonnet Roofs

bonnet roof with dark red metal sheets and white chimney

Bonnet roofs are a unique type of hip roof characterized by four sloped sides that meet at the peak or ridge on the top of a house. This style is also known as a kicked-eaves roof, with its lower slope at less angle than the upper slope.

One significant advantage to bonnet roofs is that their design allows for plenty of natural light in homes, creating bright and open spaces.

Sawtooth Roofs

Sawtooth roofs are a unique and eye-catching design popular in the early 19th century. The sawtooth design features two slopes alternating between a steep and low pitch, resulting in a jagged or zigzag appearance from the side.

One of the benefits of this style is that it allows natural light to enter through high windows, making it an ideal art studio where ample lighting is crucial.

Curved Roofs

Curved roofs are becoming increasingly popular due to their unique and modern design. These roofs are usually made of metal or shingles, and the curved shape adds an aesthetic touch to a building.

They provide natural light through skylights, which can save on electricity costs.

It’s also worth considering that curved roofs may not be suitable in areas with heavy snowfall since they can cause water and snow runoff issues.


In conclusion, understanding the differences between roof types can help homeowners decide which roofing system is best for their homes. Each type has advantages and disadvantages, from Gable to Mansard to Butterfly roofs.

Whether you’re looking for durability, affordability, or style, it’s essential to weigh your options carefully before making a choice. And when it comes time to replace or repair your roof, hire an experienced roofing contractor who can properly install your chosen roofing system.

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