Possible Roof Designs for Your Home

As part of your home design, you’ll want to decide what kind of roof design you want to use for your home. While some roof designs have actual advantages over others, a good roof design can actually add a lot to the exterior design of your home.

As part of your home design, you’ll want to decide what kind of roof design you want to use for your home. While some roof designs have actual advantages over others, specifically for shedding rain and snow, basically your roof design has more to do with styling than anything else. A good roof design can actually add a lot to the exterior design of your home.

Open Gable Roof

Probably the most common roofing style for an angled roof. The advantage of this design is its ease of building.

Box Gable Roof

The roof is extended beyond the gable end of the house, allowing the soffit to be run around the house at the same height.

Clipped Gable (Jerkinhead) Roof

A combination of a standard gable roof, with a small section that is “clipped” making somewhat of a combination between a gable and hip roofs designs.

Dutch Gable Roof

Almost a hip roof, except for a small gable end. Typically a triangular vent is installed in the gable part.

Hip Roof

Very popular today, eliminating all gable ends. Even if built with trusses, the hip ends must be built with rafters. This makes it considerably harder to construct than the gable roof design.

Gambrel (Barn) Roof

While mostly used for barns, it is possible to use gambrel roofs for houses. The true advantage is the amount of usable attic space that this design provides for; whether used for additional rooms or for attic storage.

Mansard Roof

Not a very commonly used design; the mansard roof combines the style of a hip roof with the space advantages of the gambrel roof.

Shed (Lean-to) Roof

This diagram actually shows two shed or lean-to roofs. This is a very easy to construct style, whether using trusses or rafters, which provides a rather rustic appearance.

Gazebo Roof

While most commonly used for gazebos, this same style, either hexagon (6-sided) or octagon (8-sided) can be used for roofing over a corner tower.

Flat Roof

Flat roofs are rarely used for homes, mostly because of the risk of leaking. While called flat, they are typically built at a little bit of an angle, to allow for drainage. This is the easiest roofing style to build.

Roof Combinations

Hip & Valley Roof

When non-rectangular home shapes are built, a number of roof sections need to be attached together, forming a hip & valley roof. This is more commonly done with a hip roof than a gable end roof. The “valleys” are the angles where the sections of roof come together. While making for a very attractive roof, it is the hardest to construct.

Gable Roof with Dormer

Dormers allow the addition of windows in rooms added to the “attic” area of a home. If the dormer is constructed wide enough, it also provides for more usable floor space. The dormer is added on once the major part of the roof is built.

Hip Roof with Dormer

Hip roofs can also have dormers; either in the sides or end, allowing the “attic” space of the home to be more easily converted into usable space.

It is also possible to use almost any combination of the roofing styles above. Many more complex home designs use a combination of both hip and gable roofs. One possible way is to have the majority of the roof be a hip roof, with gable ends on small protruding sections of the front of the house, creating a larger wall space on the front. If bay or bow windows are used on the front of the house, a small roof section over the window can meet with the wall, instead of meeting with the rest of the roof.

Tricks & Tips:

When designing your home, go for appearance, but don’t forget about the complexity of building it. Remember, you’ve got to make this work. The more complicated the roof design, the more hours of work you will put into framing, sheathing and shingling it. That’s why most lower cost homes have simple roofs; to save on labor costs.

Money Savers:

The more complicated your roof design the more it’s going to cost you to complete. If you want to save money, go for a simpler design. You will not only save on labor, but materials as well. Of course, this depends a lot on the overall shape of your home’s perimeter. The more complicated your perimeter, the more complicated your roof design has to be.

Trusses are less expensive and easier to make than rafters. Designing a home with gabled ends makes it easier to use trusses throughout.