Roof Types

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Types of Roofs

We are working hard at creating a group of comprehensive articles, facts, images, and data in regards to all the types of roofs available for various structures. Above is a list of our growing resources teaching about roof types based on materials and style. Please feel free to browse through our material.

Different Types of Roofs

If you have come looking to learn more about the different roof types available, then you have definitely come to the right roofing website. This section of our website is dedicated to providing the best information regarding the different types of roofs. Roof types can be split up into three main categories.

roof types

Roof Styles

Throughout history and especially throughout the past couple hundred years the styles of roofs vary from area to area. The varying designs, styles, and shapes of roofs exist and have been created to accommodate the needs of the structure they are covering. Some of the most primary needs that a structure demands from a roof are protection from the weather, overall design compatibility with the existing structure, and housing of internal elements such as piping, electrical wiring, ventilation, insulation, and sometimes

Gable Roof:

Gable roof designs are one of the more simple styles when it comes to roofs. The gable roof style looks like an inverted/upside down V. Gable roofs are not ideal for areas with high wind because they easily can catch the wind much like a sail would.

Flat Roof:

Flat roofs are common especially with commercial buildings. Flat roofs are definitely the most simple roof to build because they have little to no pitch. The most common types of roofing systems used with flat roofs are rubber roofing systems.

Hip Roof:

Hip roofs are a common residential style roof. This type of roof is more difficult to construct when compared to flat roofs and gable roofs because they have a more complicated truss and rafter structure. A hip roof style roof has four sloping sides with zero vertical roof lines/walls. Hip roofs can be both square and rectangular.

Gambrel Roof:

The best way to describe a gambrel roof is by saying barn roof. The gambrel style roof is most commonly used on barns. However, it is also used in residential construction. This type of roof has the benefit of providing a good amount of space in the attic. In fact, it provides so much extra space that it is often turned into bedrooms or other living areas.

Dutch Hip Roof:

The dutch hip roof is basically a hip roof with a small gable at either end. The gables can be used as ventilation.

Shed Roof:

A shed roof is basically a flat roof but has more pitch. It is frequently used for additions on homes or other roof styles.

Mansard Roof:

The mansard roof is a french design and is more difficult to construct than the hip or gable roof.

Butterfly Roof:

The butterfly roof is not a roof style that is widely used.The style provides plenty of light and ventilation but is not the effective when it comes to water drainage.

Winged Gable Roof:

The winged gable roof varies slightly from the tradition gable roof. It varies by extended outwards from the peak of the roof.

A-Frame Roof:

This type of roof is very popular for churches, cottages, homes, and other structures. The roof acts as both the roof and the walls for a structure.

Folded Plate Roof:

The folded plate roof has limited use in single family homes. It looks like a series of small gable roofs placed side by side of each other.

Roof Materials

Another important aspect that comes into play with roofs is the choice of material. Some materials are more common in certain areas and certain materials are ideal for different types of roof pitches/slopes while others are not ideal for certain roof slopes. The three main roof slopes that determine the material used are flat roofs (no slope or a very slight slope), low slop, and steep slop.

Asphalt Shingles:

Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used steep slope/residential roofing material used on roofs in the United States. Asphalt shingles vary in quality and are produced by multiple manufacturers.

Wood Shake:

The shake shingle is the inspiration for the modern day asphalt shingles. Similar to the asphalt shingle, the wood shake overlaps each other making the roof or siding weather proof. A down side to shake is that they often need more maintenance than newer asphalt or fiberglass shingles. An upside to shake the unique rustic look they give to a structure.

Slate Shingles:

These are shingles made out of rock. Slate shingles are created out of a sedimentary rock. This rock can be split into thin sheets that are ideal for roofing shingles.


Metal is a very common material used for roofs. There are many different types of metal roofing systems available. The types of metal used with available systems varies from zinc to steel, copper, aluminum, and tin.


Tile is one of the more expensive materials used for roofs. Although the traditional clay tile is probably the most well known tile material it is not the only one. Other materials that are used to create tile products are metal, concrete, slate, and various synthetic compositions.

Membrane Roofing Material:

There are many different types of products included in this category for roofing and in fact that number continues to grow with the technological advancements and findings. Membrane roofing products are used on flat roofs. Some of the various brands or variations of rubber roofs are modified bitumen, thermoplastic membrane, epdm, single ply, tpo, cpa, cpe, nbp, and others.

Roof Pitch

The pitch or slope of a roof is a critical deciding factor in many of the roofing decisions. Depending on the pitch/slope of a roof, certain materials can or cannot be used. Pitch not only helps determine what type of materials can or cannot be used but it also plays a major role in attic space, drainage options, weather durability, design, and difficulty of construction and maintenance.

The slope of a roof is split up into three categories.

1. Flat Roof: (Anything under a 2:12 pitch)

2. Low Slope: (A 4:12 pitch to a 2:12 pitch)

3. Steep Slope: (A 4:12 pitch to a 21:12 pitch)

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