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11 Residential Roof Shapes: Do You Know These Roofs?

Updated on February 9, 2011
Arched Roof
Arched Roof | Source
Butterfly Roof
Butterfly Roof
Flat Roof
Flat Roof
Gabled Roof
Gabled Roof
Gambrel Roof
Gambrel Roof
Hip Roof
Hip Roof
Mansard Roof
Mansard Roof
Pyramid Roof
Pyramid Roof
Saltbox Roof
Saltbox Roof
Skillion Roof
Skillion Roof | Source

What is the shape of the roof on your home? Chances are that it has a formal name even though you might not know what it is. Here is a look at 11 common residential roof shapes.

1.     Arched Roof. As the name of this roof implies, the arched roof is a roof that actually looks like an arch. The roof itself is curved over the top of the home. This isn’t all that common to see but it’s stunning when you do get a chance to see it. What you’re more likely to see is a portion of the house that has an arched roof. For example, you might see an arched roof over the entryway of a home.

2.     Bonnet Roof. The bonnet roof is a really fascinating type of roof. It is essentially a pitched roof (which means that the roof meets at the top and has one slope coming down off of each side where the meeting point is). However, a standard pitched roof has sides that slope down evenly. With a bonnet roof, the sides have an angle to them. This allows the center of the roof to be very tall but the rest of the roof isn’t necessarily low to the ground.

3.     Butterfly Roof. This type of roof, also sometimes called an inverted roof, has a very interesting design. Basically, the outside of the roof is the highest part whereas the center of the butterfly roof is the lowest point of the roof. This is inverted from the traditional pointed roof shape and the result is a geometric design that looks loosely like a butterfly. This is a really cool shape for home roofing!

4.     Flat Roof. The easiest roof to spot and describe is the flat roof. This type of roof is, as its name suggests, merely flat. However, having a totally flat roof is not a very good idea in terms of home design because it means that water and other materials can pile up on the roof and cause damage to the home. Most flat roofs actually do slope slightly for this reason.

5.     Gabled Roof. This type of roof is a roof that consists of a shape that looks triangular. It has a ridge with a slope that falls down to the edge of the home to create this triangular look. There are different types of gabled roofs such as the cross gabled roof. This variation has a series of small triangular roofs on top of the home. Each room or section of the house basically has its own roof (although all are connected to one another) and the roof for each is a triangular shape.

6.     Gambrel Roof. This is a Dutch-inspired roof shape that is designed to additional home space or storage space to the very top portion of the home. There are two slopes on each side of the home. The lower slope is steeper than the upper slope. There are vertical gable ends on these slopes. The roof slopes hang over the edge of the home so that you can see them, creating an interesting design. When you look at this design, you do get the Dutch inspiration from the way that it looks.

7.     Hip Roof. This is an interesting type of roof that looks similar in style to the pyramid roof that I’ll describe in a moment. It basically looks like a pyramid but instead of having a pointed top, it has a flat top. Four slopes of equal size come off of this pointed top.

8.     Mansard Roof. This is a French-inspired roof shape that is designed to create a bit of additional home space at the very top portion of the home. Basically, there are two slopes of the roof on each side of the home. There is a lower slope that is steeper (more vertical in shape) than the upper slope. The upper slope is sometimes so flat in comparison with the lower slope that you can’t even see it when you’re standing on the ground and looking up at the house.

9.     Pyramid Roof. This type of roof is designed in the shape of a pyramid. This means it has a point at the top and then there are four equal-sized slopes coming off of this point. The pyramid roof is typically not seen on an entire home but instead is added to another roof design, like a flat roof, but on certain parts of the home. For example, a garage might have a pyramid roof while the rest of the house has a flat roof.

10. Saltbox Roof. This is a really unique roofing shape that you may not even have seen before. You’ll recognize it if you have. It’s an asymmetrical roof  with one side that is much longer than the other side. The roof is pitched (with a top portion and slopes coming off either side) but one side is much longer than the other. Sometimes it is so much longer that one half of the house is a single story and the other is a two-story or three-story part of the house.

11. Skillion Roof. Most roofs that have a slope have two or four slopes (with a peak somewhere on the top of the home except in the case of the butterfly roof in which the peaks are at the outside and slope down into the center of the home). The skillion roof is a little bit different because it has only a single slope. Basically one wall of the house is tall and the roof slopes down from this to a shorter part of the house. The affect is similar to the Salt Box roof but more dramatic.

What shape is your home’s roof? Do you like it?


Submit a Comment
  • graceomalley profile image


    9 years ago

    I am going to sound so smart when we go driving around now. Look at that Mansard roof!


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