What are the Most Common Roof Types?


A roof does a lot more than just protect your home from the weather and provide your home with curb appeal.  Depending on your home’s roof design, it can provide shade, create attic space, and affect the heating and cooling withing your home.  

All roofs are not built the same.  Understanding the components of your roof and the design type can help you diagnose issues and better maintain your roofing system.  Let’s delve into the most common roof types so hopefully you can take better care of your home. 

GABLE ROOF (One of the most common roof types)

What Is It:  A roof with two sloping sides

Materials:  Can be done with most roofing materials, but asphalt shingles are the most common.

Maintenance:  Needs regular inspections and gutter cleanings to ensure proper drainage.

HIP ROOF (Another popular type.  Can be combined with other roof styles to create a unique design.)

What is it:       A four-sided roof which all meet at a peak or ridge and slant downward.

Materials:       Asphalt, metal, clay, and concrete are the most common.

Maintenance: Greatly benefits from regular maintenance to prevent minor issues from becoming major.

JERKINHEAD ROOF (aka Clipped Gable – an older roofing style that is not as common in newer builds)

What is it:       A unique combination of hip and gable style roofing

Materials:       Can be done with more roofing materials, but asphalt shingles are most common.

Maintenance: Can be a challenge to find roofing contractors with knowledge of the style

GAMBREL ROOF (aka Barn Roof – Can also be found on Cape Cod style homes and country farmhouses.)

What is it:       A gable roof but with four sides (compared to two)

Materials:       Can be done with most roofing materials but asphalt shingles and metal are most common.

Maintenance: Needs routine maintenance to ensure waterproofing at the ridges is intact.

BONNET ROOF (Maximize your attic and outdoor hang out space)

What is it:       A roof type that slants on all four sides, extending well past the walls of the building

Materials:       Metal is preferred but can be done with shingles

Maintenance: Regular maintenance is encouraged to ensure waterproofing remains intact at the intersection of the two slopes.

SKILLION ROOF (aka Shed Roof or Lean-to Roof.  A great design for modern homes and barns)

What is it:       A roof design with only a singular flat slope

Materials:       Asphalt shingles and metal are most common

Maintenance: Drainage is all on one side, so it requires frequent gutter cleanings on top of regular inspection.

FLAT ROOF (A great option for anyone looking to utilize their roof top as a living space or to install solar panels.  

What is it:       A roof that is flat across with a minor slope for drainage.  

Materials:       While rubber roofs are costly in install, the durability makes it a worthwhile investment for a flat roof home.

Maintenance: Tends to collect debris and can promote standing water.  Typically requires more maintenance than sloped roofs.

SALTBOX ROOF (The asymmetrical design of a saltbox is best described as a gable roof with one side longer than the other.)

What is it:       A completely slanted roof design with no flat space.  

Materials:       Most materials can be used, but asphalt shingles are most common.  This roof type is best used for multi-level homes in climates with heavy rain or snowfall.

Maintenance: Pretty low maintenance but can benefit from cleanings to remove debris

BUTTERFLY ROOF: (Originally designed to catch and repurpose rainwater.  They are most often found on mid-century or ultra-modern homes)

What is it:       Two sloped roofs pointing inward towards the middle of the house creating a “V” shape.

Materials:       Usually waterproof materials including rubber roofing (EPDM, TPO, PVC)

Maintenance: Can easily collect debris and needs regular maintenance by an experienced roofing contractor.

Once you’ve found the look you want, talk to an experienced independent roofing contractor like Williams Roofing Company.  They can help you with choosing the appropriate shingles for your roof design and provide you with a free estimate.