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The Styles and Benefits of the 5 Most Common Roof Designs

Your roof is more than just shingles and beams. It's the shield protecting your home from the elements, and it also plays a big role in your house's overall aesthetic.

But with tons of roof designs out there, choosing the right one can be overwhelming. Don't worry, this post has got you covered. Here's a breakdown of the five most common roof styles.

Flat Roof Design

1. Flat Roof: Modern with Considerations

Flat roofs, while not as common in residential areas due to drainage concerns, offer a sleek and modern look. They're a popular choice for contemporary homes and commercial buildings.

  • Modern aesthetic: Flat roofs offer a clean and minimalist aesthetic, perfect for contemporary architecture.

  • Potential for usable space: Flat roofs can be used as rooftop patios or gardens, adding usable outdoor space to your home.

However, flat roofs require proper drainage systems to prevent water pooling and leaks. This can add to the initial cost and ongoing maintenance needs.

Additionally, flat roofs aren't ideal for areas with heavy snowfall, as snow accumulation can lead to roof collapse. If you live in an area with strong winds, hail damage, or frequent tree damage, it might not be the best choice due to the increased risk of roof leaks and structural damage.

Furthermore, flat roofs require regular maintenance to ensure proper drainage and prevent water damage and mold growth. This might involve a professional roof inspection from Ranch Roofing or any reputable roofing company to identify any potential problems early on (e.g. missing shingles).

Gable Roof Design

2. Gable Roof: The Classic Choice

Imagine a symmetrical triangle on top of your house. That's a gable roof, easily the most popular design in America. It's a favourite for good reason. Here's why:

  • Simple and affordable: Gable roofs are easy to build, making them a budget-friendly option.

  • Durable and versatile: They shed water and snow efficiently, and their straightforward design allows for various roofing materials.

  • Provides attic space: The triangular shape creates ample space for an attic, perfect for storage or conversion into a usable room.

However, there are a few things to consider:

  • Wind vulnerability: In high-wind areas, gable roofs might require additional reinforcement to prevent wind damage and potential roof replacement.

  • Limited architectural style: While classic, gable roofs might not be the most distinctive design choice.

roof designs hip roof

3. Hip Roof: For a Stately Look

Hip roofs highlights four sloping sides that meet at a ridge at the top. This creates a shape similar to a pyramid. They exude a sense of grandeur and are perfect for those who want a more substantial look.

  • Excellent wind resistance: The multiple slopes make hip roofs highly wind-resistant, ideal for areas prone to strong gusts and potential wind damage.

  • Visually appealing: The clean lines and balanced proportions create a timeless and elegant aesthetic.

  • Provides good drainage: The multiple slopes ensure efficient water runoff, preventing pooling and potential leaks that can lead to expensive repairs down the line.

4. Shed Roof: Modern and Functional

Shed roofs, a.k.a. skillion roofs, are characterized by a single sloping plane. They offer a modern and minimalist aesthetic, perfect for contemporary homes.

  • Cost-effective: The simple design translates to lower construction costs, making it a great budget-friendly option.

  • Efficient drainage: The single slope ensures quick and easy water runoff, minimizing the risk of leaks that can lead to water damage, mould growth, and structural damage.

  • Allows for creative freedom: Shed roofs can be incorporated into various designs, like carports or sunrooms.

Gambrel Roof Design

5. Gambrel Roof: A Touch of History

Gambrel roofs have a distinctive double-sloped design on each side, with a steeper slope at the bottom and a gentler one at the top. Often associated with barns, they add a touch of farmhouse charm to your home.

  • Increased attic space: The unique double-slope design creates more usable attic space compared to other roof styles, making it a great option if you plan to convert the attic into a living area.

  • Visually interesting: The distinctive shape adds architectural interest and a touch of history to your home's exterior.

  • Good for snowy areas: The steeper lower slope sheds snow efficiently, preventing buildup and potential roof damage caused by the weight of the snow.

Choosing the Right Roof for You: Additional Considerations

Now that you're familiar with the five most common roof styles, it's time to consider some additional factors that will influence your decision, especially when it comes to preventing roof leaks and potential roof damage:


Consider your local climate. Gable and hip roofs excel in shedding rain and snow, whereas flat roofs might require additional features for proper drainage in rainy areas or reinforcement for heavy snowfall.

House Style

The roof style should complement your home's architectural style. Gable roofs suit traditional and ranch-style homes, while hip roofs work well with Craftsman and bungalow styles. Gambrel roofs add a touch of farmhouse charm, and flat roofs are perfect for contemporary architecture.


Roof styles vary in complexity and material requirements, impacting the cost. Gable and shed roofs are generally the most affordable, while hip and gambrel roofs might be slightly more expensive. Flat roofs can be cost-effective, but proper drainage systems add to the initial cost.

Future Plans

Think about your long-term plans. Do you plan to convert the attic into a living space? Gambrel roofs offer the most usable attic space. Do you envision a rooftop patio? Flat roofs are ideal for creating these outdoor areas.

In Closing

Invest in your peace of mind (and your wallet!). Ignoring roof issues can lead to expensive repairs down the road. Schedule a professional roof inspection today to ensure your roof is ready to weather any storm.

Your local roofing company can help you choose the perfect style and materials for your home. Don't wait—a healthy roof is a happy home!

Jenny Kakoudakis

Jenny Kakoudakis likes to blog about interiors. She launched award-winning Seasons in Colour in 2014. When she is not chasing criminals out of the financial system (her day job), she gets creative by redecorating her own home.

Download her free bathroom renovation guide here.


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