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5 Common Roof Types (Styles, Benefits, & More)

Choosing between different roof types when it comes to renovating or replacing your own can be a daunting task.

The right roof style and material can greatly enhance your home’s curb appeal – but they often also serve distinct functional purposes. A flat roof offers a very different aesthetic appearance than a Dutch gable roof, for example.

Shake Guys want to bring you an in-depth look at the five most common roof types: gable, hip, gambrel, mansard and shed – and their individual merits. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about these common roof types so that you’re equipped for when it’s time to decide on the type of home and roof is right for you.

What Is a Gable Roof?

close up to gable roof of house

The gable roof is a popular choice for many homeowners due to its simple and versatile design.

Clipped gable roofs (jerkinhead roofs) is a more flattened version of a traditional gable roof. 

Here, the gable is clipped off and downward sloped.

A double gable roof (double-pitched roof) is simply a roof with two gables that are conjoined. They’re fairly similar to a frame roof. Similarly, a dormer roof is just a roofed structure that is built into a slanted roof, and typically features windows for added natural light.

It consists of two slanted sides that meet at a ridge, creating a classic triangular shape. This style of roof allows wind to easily flow over the roof, minimizing the risk of shingle damage.

It’s also among the most common types of roof design, frequently utilizing traditional asphalt shingles as the primary roofing material. Cedar shakes are also commonly used as a roofing material. Gable roofs typically accompany homes with attic space.

Gable Roofs Offer Resilience and Stability

Gable roofs are notably ideal for harsh weather (i.e., storms). Their angled design effortlessly allows both water and snow to slide off, preventing any excess weight or moisture buildup that could potentially damage the roof structure and eventually your home.

This functional characteristic makes gable roofs an excellent choice in regions with high rainfall or heavy snowfall. Those seeking a gable roof for a business may be interested in metal roofs or concrete tiles, which are still possible with a roof slope.

An energy-efficient cool roof installation is also possible with gable roofs, reinforcing their suitability for various climates and the environmentally conscious.

What Is a Hip Roof?

The traditional hip roof is a type of roof known for its sturdy design. It does not have a gable or flat end. Instead, all four sides slope downward from the peak – making it ideal for businesses or commercial buildings with a high pitch.

Funnily enough, a “Dutch gable roof” is a hip roof with a small gable located at the peak. Dutch gable roofs are a less common roof type, but worth mentioning.

The inherent sturdiness of hip roofs makes them a highly desirable choice for homeowners in areas prone to severe weather conditions – much like the gable roof. Unlike flat roofs, their design features four sloping sides that meet at the top, forming a ridge. The slope resembles that of a pyramid, which is why they’re sometimes referred to as a pyramid roof.

The self-bracing character of hip roofs or pyramid roofs further heightens their wind resistance. With proper ventilation and quality roofing materials like oriented strand board OSB or CDX plywood used in construction, these roofs can significantly outlast their counterparts.

What Is a Gambrel Roof?

house gambrel roof with asphalt shingles

Gambrel roofs have a distinctive barn-like appearance and offer increased storage space. They feature two slopes on each side, with the lower slope being steeper.

This design provides more headroom and usable space in the attic or upper level of a building. Gambrel roofs are commonly seen on barns but can also be found on residential buildings, giving them a unique charm and practicality – and asphalt shingles can still be used in the construction of this roof style vs. wood shingles.

Barn-like Appearance

Echoing the rustic charm of a traditional barn roof, gambrel roofs grace numerous homes with their unmistakable design. Their two-sided and symmetrical structure, often seen on Dutch colonial-style houses and log cabins, sets them apart in a crowd of common roof types.

The upper slope of this roofing system is positioned at a shallow angle while the lower slope presents a steeper incline for better drainage. Wood shingles can be used in their construction.

Gambrel roofs are an excellent choice if you’re looking for increased storage space in your home. With their barn-like appearance, these roofs create a unique and charming look that also serves a practical purpose.

The distinctive shape of the gambrel roof features two steep slopes on each side, which allows for more usable space than other roof types.

What Is a Mansard Roof?

The Mansard roof is a French-inspired design characterized by its steep slopes on all four sides. It provides additional living space, as the upper part of the roof is usable and can be converted into an attic or extra rooms.

Its unique shape adds architectural beauty to buildings and offers excellent resistance against wind and snow loads. The Mansard roof is popular for both residential and commercial structures due to its distinct versatility.

French-inspired Design

The Mansard roof is a unique and stunning design that adds a touch of French elegance to any building. This style, also known as a French roof or curb roof, combines elements of both the hip and gambrel roofs.

It features two slopes on each side, creating a distinctive shape that sets it apart from other roof types. The Mansard roof is commonly found on French Provincial homes, where its sophisticated appearance complements the architectural style.

With hips rather than valleys, this type of roofing provides an aesthetically pleasing look

What Is a Shed Roof?

Various wooden shed roofs

The shed roof is perfect for smaller structures due to its simple design and ease of construction.

Among the countless roof styles, a shed roof still provides ample protection from the elements and can be an affordable option for those looking to add a roof to their outdoor sheds or storage units. They are sometimes referred to as a “skillion roof.”

Suitable for Smaller Buildings

A shed roof is an excellent choice for smaller structures like sheds and compact buildings. With their single sloping side (skillion roofs), they offer a straightforward design that is both functional and cost-effective.

A skillion roof is particularly ideal for those looking to maximize storage or workspace in limited areas.

One of the key advantages of shed roofs is their efficient water drainage. The slope allows rainwater and snow to easily run off, preventing any potential damage caused by pooling water.


Understanding the different types of roofs and roof shape (flat roof vs. sloping roof, for example) is essential when it comes to choosing the right one for your home or building.

Factors, such as the construction of the home, may impede your options when it comes to selecting a new roof – for example, a hip and valley roof, butterfly roof, or clerestory roof may be less practical than the ones mentioned in our list. The gutter system or roof materials will also often be a factor.

Perhaps energy efficiency is your concern. You might consider the ability of the sloped roofs and roof material mentioned here to accommodate solar panels (clerestory roofs differ from flat roofs in this regard).

The five common roofs discussed in this article – gable roofs, hip roofs, gambrel roofs, mansard roofs, and shed roofs – each offer a distinct aesthetic appearance.

Whether you’re looking for a sturdy design like the hip roof or a French-inspired look with the mansard roof, knowing the benefits of each can better help you make an informed decision. Shake Guys want to ensure that your roof not only enhances curb appeal but also provides long-lasting protection from the elements.

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