Basic Roof Styles

When designing a new home or remodeling an existing structure, most property owners are more concerned with floor plans and the home’s overall look than the roof. However, designers understand the important role the roof’s design will have on the home’s look and how well the roof functions.

There are several factors every property owner must consider when it comes to a home’s custom roof design. The home’s overall style and location, as well as the owner’s goals, all impact the final design. When planning your new roof construction, here are a few of the items to consider when you’re considering a roof design.

Understanding the Basic Roof Styles

Over the years, construction techniques and styles have evolved, but there are several basic roof designs property owners consider when choosing a new roof design. Some are simple, but others tend to be somewhat complex to design, construct, and maintain.

  • Gabled Roof. The most common roof style found around the country continues to be the gabled roof. A basic gable roof has only two surface areas and is shaped somewhat like a triangle when viewed from the end of the home. This style of roof is the least expensive to construct and, later, to re-roof.
  • Clipped Gable Roof. Many of the newer home designs make use of a clipped gable roof to build visual interest. They are constructed much like a traditional gable roof but have the ends of the roof peak clipped to achieve a different look. The original construction costs are a little higher than a gable roof, but the maintenance and re-roofing costs remain well within reason.
  • Hip Roof. Another common roof style is the hip roof. In most cases, the roof is constructed with four equal slopes rather than the two found on a gable roof. As with the clipped gable roof, the design adds visual appeal while still remaining practical to construct. The costs are somewhat higher than a gable roof, but the equal surfaces keep the expenses reasonable.
  • Gambrel Roof. This roof style is reminiscent of a traditional barn roof. The advantage of this roof style is the added square footage that’s available on the upper level. Property owners need to pay special attention to the look of the roofing material selected, as the sides of the roof are very visible and draw the attention of anyone on the ground. Gambrel roofs are more complex and will increase the construction costs, especially if dormers are installed.
  • Mansard Roof. Mansard roofs originated in French architecture but have been used for years to achieve a unique look. In recent years, mansard roofs have become increasingly popular in most areas of the country, but their complexity will boost construction costs. However, as with gambrel roof designs, a mansard roof creates additional living space, which makes the style worth considering. As with gambrel roof designs, there is a lot of roof surface that’s visible from the ground, suggesting care must be taken when selecting materials.
  • Shed Roof. Shed roofs are popular and routinely used in contemporary designs. Rather than featuring two or more roof surface areas, shed roofs generally have only one large surface area. Imagine a gable roof with only one side. This type of roof design can make use of numerous types of material depending on the overall design goals of the owner.

While these are the common roof styles found, designers tend to mix designs as needed to achieve the look a property owner wants. The complicated designs seen on many of today’s homes create a variety of peaks and valleys that add visual interest to a home.

Remember that the design of the roof will impact the amount of useable space in the home. Using the space under the roof of a home with a gable roof is difficult as the slope of the roof makes much of the area too low to use. That’s why mansard and gambrel roofs are popular. Dormers of different types also add space, but that space is limited by the size of the dormer.

The slope of the roof will also affect the amount of useable space. A roof with a steep pitch frees up space, while a roof with a low pitch will reduce the amount of usable space available. The custom roof design experts Bucks county work with clients to ensure the best roof design is selected for specific projects.

Considering Modern Alternatives

Designers frequently encourage property owners to consider design alternatives that are not part of the mainstream. That involves taking some risks, as a design that’s trendy today may not be in vogue in the future. However, many of the roof designs considered to be risky in the past are now considered to be mainstream. That means it makes sense to consider looking at less-traditional design elements, down to the windows and doors, before making any final decisions.

Here are a few contemporary roof design types often used by today’s property owners that custom roof design service Montgomery county experts may recommend.

  • No Separation. This style of roof is used to create a seamless look between the various portions of a home. The roofing and siding materials are the same, which means anyone viewing the home sees an unbroken plane.
  • Flat Roofs. Flat roofs are nothing new, but they are seeing a resurgence in interest in recent years. Remember that most “flat” roofs are not truly flat—there is generally a slight slope that encourages water to run off the roof at a preferred point.
  • Reflective Roofs. Energy conservation is always important, and reflective roofing allows property owners to reduce their home energy consumption. The sunlight bounces off the roof rather than being absorbed. That keeps the roof and the home’s interior cooler, as the roof doesn’t get as hot as many homes with traditional roofing materials do.
  • Curved Roofs. Designers love the sweeping effects created when curved roofs are used. This type of roof is generally rather complicated to design and construct, but the final product is stunning and sure to appeal to many property owners.
  • Combinations and Unconventional Shapes. Many designers are choosing to use a variety of elements from various roof styles to create unique roof profiles. Cross hipped, intersecting overlaid hip, hexagonal, jerkinhead, and other styles are mixed with the objective being to make the best use of interior space while, at the same time, increasing visual interest.

Blending the Roof with the Overall Design

It’s always important that the roof and overall home design are compatible. Just about everyone has seen a home that doesn’t look right. Sometimes, it’s hard to put your finger on the problem, but it’s obvious that something isn’t quite as it should be. In many instances, that’s because the roof style doesn’t really match the basic design type of the home. For example, using a tiled shed roof on a Tudor home will not work.

Designers know which elements work together and help property owners to select the materials that will enhance the property’s appeal rather than detract from it. Yes, there are times when a bold style statement is appropriate, some materials and design characteristics just don’t work.

Fitting In with Other Properties in the Community

Another factor to consider when designing a new roof is whether the look and materials will fit in with other homes in the area. That doesn’t mean the roof must match other homes, but as a rule, it does mean the roof shouldn’t clash. Diverse styles can look fine, but if you’re considering a roof that is wildly different than any home in the area, it might not be the best option.

Ask your design team if a specific style, material, or color should be considered. The roof design experts will suggest alternatives that will blend in well rather than clashing with other properties in the neighborhood.

Choosing the Best Materials

In the past, choosing a roofing material wasn’t overly complicated, as there were not a lot of options. However, modern roofing products include many more choices designed to offer solutions in a range of circumstances.

Metal roofing is a good example. In many cases, communities even banned the use of metal roofing materials because it was considered to be ugly. That’s no longer true, as different styles and colors now make metal roofing products highly desirable.

There are also numerous styles of asphalt shingles now available to enhance the look of a home. Rather than being limited to older, three-tab shingles, property owners can now select from shingles that offer different looks to match just about any home’s style.

Tile, slate, and cedar shake roofing are all still commonly used, and any of those materials is appropriate in the right situation. The overall style of the home, the owner’s design objectives, and local restrictions will help to determine which material to use for a new roof.

Getting the Help You Need

If you’re building a new home or considering remodeling an existing one, it pays to contact the roofing experts at Dennis & Sons Roofing for advice before finalizing any plans. Our team of experts will suggest options and explain the pros and cons of each one to help you make an educated roof design decision.