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Types Of Roofs

Updated on January 1, 2012

Roofs are the coverings on top of a building or a house. Roofs are a very essential part of a buildings and houses as they protect the inner part of the building from rain, storms, snow and extreme of temperature. Without a roof, a building is incomplete.

The concept of building a roof or a shelter is not new. The earliest of men constructed a roof made of straws, leaves and branches to cover their places; in fact man started building roofs before houses.

As human civilization developed the concept of houses evolved and so did the materials and styles of roofs in constructions. Today there are many different types of roofs that are found over houses and buildings. These roofs are built according to their purposes and for the added beauty they bring to the house. Some of the common types of roofs are mentioned below:

A flat roofed building. The most common type seen in cities.
A flat roofed building. The most common type seen in cities. | Source
A house being constructed with a sloping roof
A house being constructed with a sloping roof | Source

Flat Roofs

Flat roofs are one of the oldest and the simplest type of roofs. These roofs are easy to recognize and are the most common roofs for buildings. They may not however be very popular among houses these days. Flat roofs have a shallow pitch which is around 1-2 degrees.

There are many advantages as well as disadvantages of flat roofs. The main advantage of flat roofs is that the construction of building becomes easier and the walls do not have to be perpendicular or parallel to each other. The main disadvantage is that it has no slopes or a tilt because of which water and debris may accumulate on the top.

They also require a high maintenance. Therefore flat roofs are best suited in areas which are dry and do not have much rainfall. Many flat roofs although do have a drainage pipe at the end; it is still not a very preferable roof for houses. It is best suited for tall buildings and warehouses.

Sloping Roofs

Sloping roof is a general term applied to any roof that is either slightly or completely tilted.

These roofs are one of the most common residential roofs. Unlike the flat roofs the major advantage of sloping roofs is that they do not let the water or debris to accumulate.

Example of a gabled roof.
Example of a gabled roof. | Source

Gable Roofs

Gable roofs are one of the most famous types of roofs.

A single gable roof is made up of two rectangular roofs and a bit slanting, meeting at a point to form a single roof.

The line where they meet is the ridge line. Gable roof can also be called the typical house roof.

Salt box style roof construction
Salt box style roof construction
A gambrel roof
A gambrel roof | Source

Salt Box

Salt box is a very stylish type of roof which is very interesting to look at. Like the gable this type of roof is also made of two roofs which meet at a ridge line but in this roof they meet to form a triangle and the salt box's one side of the roof is bigger while the other is shorter i.e. it forms a lopsided triangle. This concept of roofs evolved during the twentieth century.

Saltbox is best suited for houses but some office buildings also have saltbox roofs

Gambrel Roof

Gambrel roof is basically a type of gable roof in which one side is steeper than the other. The gambrel roof has vertical gable ends and the roof hangs over the pretense of the house.

This roof is more popularly used as a barn roof. It is a Dutch inspired style of roof.

Mansard Roof seen in a building in England
Mansard Roof seen in a building in England | Source
Pyramid roofs on top of buildings in a city.
Pyramid roofs on top of buildings in a city. | Source
Hipped roof in a banglow
Hipped roof in a banglow | Source

Mansard Roof

Mansard roof may resemble to the gable roof but the two roofs have many differences. The Mansard roof has four slopes.

These slopes are present on the all the four sides of the house.

The lower slope is vertical and steeper than the upper slope and the upper slope may not be very visible. This style of roofing comes from the French.

Pyramid Roof

Pyramid roofs are highly stylish and modern types of roofs.

These roofs as their name implies are shaped like a pyramid. These roofs are best suited for huts, houses or small structures such as pool houses.

Hip Roof

Hip roof resembles the pyramid roof as it too has four slopes elevated and joined together.

But unlike the pyramid roofs, the slopes of hip roofs do not meet at a single point in fact the top of the roof is flattened in a way that the four corners of the square are occupied by the slopes.

They too are best suited for small structures.

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