You may be looking at building a new house, renovating an old one, or maybe it’s just time for a new roof. No matter the reason, a new roof is a big commitment as it’s an expensive and essential part of your home. The area you live in, the weather you experience, and the architectural aesthetic of your home are all factors to take into account when choosing the style of roof that is right for you.
Probably one of the most popular roof styles in the US, a gable roof is easily recognizable by its steep pitch and symmetrically sloping sides. A simple roof to build, this is a style that will save you money, and is well suited to areas like Michigan, since it easily sheds precipitation.If you live in an area with high winds, however, this may not be the option for you. The gable roof can be modified to withstand higher winds, but they tend to catch wind much as a sail would as a result of their high sides and overhang.
A striking architectural style, the flat roof is certainly a dramatic choice that offers unique possibilities. If you don’t have space for a patio, for example, your flat roof can easily double as a deck or garden. Though a flat roof is interesting, different, and easily built, it requires a lot of upkeep. Since it doesn’t have much of a pitch, a flat roof can quickly gather debris and heavy precipitation like snow.
Also referred to as a “barn” style roof, the biggest advantage to a gambrel roof is all of the additional space. This style of roof can provide the room for an extra floor, an attic, loft, or bedroom, and is also easily constructed. However, these roofs are not recommended for high wind areas or those that receive heavy amounts of snowfall because they could potentially collapse under the pressure. It’s a great option inspired by Dutch style homes, but if you live in Michigan, you’ll want to make sure you keep up on regular roof maintenance and inspect for leaks and cracks due to the amount of snow we receive here.
Generally used for smaller homes and structures, the pyramid roof is highly resilient due to its sturdy construction. All four sides of the roof come to a point, meaning all of the sides are slanted equally. Great for all types of weather, wind and precipitation can’t do much damage to the pyramid roof, but it does tend to be a costly option, since it is a bit more difficult to build.
Another dramatic option, the asymmetrical saltbox roof is ideal for areas that receive regular and heavy rainfall. The pitch of the roof allows water to run right off, and the lean-to construction adds extra space to your home, giving you the unique architectural possibility of having two stories on just one side of your home. Unfortunately, due to its complex construction, the saltbox roof is typically more expensive to design.
A borrowed French style, the Mansard roof is one that is commonly attributed to larger, more stately homes. While it is more expensive to design, the mansard roof has the potential to add enough space for an entire extra floor. A mansard roof is easily added to, so it is a great option for those who are considering expanding later on. It is important to be careful with low pitched mansard roofs, however, as they are less conducive to areas with heavy snowfall.
More technically known as a skillion roof, this is a simple construction that uses just one pitch for the entire structure. Historically used for additions and smaller buildings like sheds, garages, and porches, these roofs are gaining popularity in modern style houses. The style easily sheds precipitation, and with its rising popularity, adds architectural interest. But like the gable and gambrel, it can be dangerous in high winds if not properly reinforced due to its high pitch. Additionally, if the pitch of a shed roof is too high, you may end up sacrificing space on the lower end of your home.