Pros and Cons of Five Different Types of Roofs

Whether you’re building a new home, or replacing the roof on your current one, choosing the right type is important. By replacing your roof, you are undoubtedly adding to the value of your home, as well as extending its longevity.

Deciding what roof is best can be more complicated than you would expect, and doing the proper research is important. Here are 5 common roof types and their pros and cons.

Hip Roof

hip roof home

These roofs are sloped on all four sides. In most cases, two sides wind up with a triangle shape, while two sides end up with a trapezoid shape. They can be made of almost any type of roofing material, such as shingles, tiles, or metal.

Being very stable is one of the biggest pros for this roofing type. They are excellent for areas with a lot of wind, rain, or snow. Since there is a slope on all four sides, water and snow can easily run off, preventing any build-up of standing water.

These roofs are usually very durable, and considered to be a sound investment. It is easy to add a crow’s nest or dormer with this type of roof, providing more living space.

On the negative side, these roofs are quite expensive. They require more building materials, which is one reason the price tag goes up.

Sometimes, matching the materials for the slopes and the ends of the roof can be difficult. When a dormer is added, if it is not done properly, leaks can quickly become an issue.

Gable Roof

what is a gable roof

One of the most popular roof types in the United States, the gable roof is easy to recognize. They are triangular in shape, and similar to what children draw for houses.

They are also known as a pitched, or peak roofs. Due to the simplicity of the design, nearly any material can be used in the construction of this type of roof.

Because they are easy to build, it makes them more affordable than other choices. There is nowhere for any water to pool. They also allow for more space for an attic, or to install vaulted ceilings. More ventilation is also allowed with this style of roofing.

The biggest drawback to this type of roof is that it does not do well in high-wind areas. If there is too much overhang past the walls, materials can be ripped off of the roof.

Flat Roof

flat roof

This type of roof is exactly what it sounds like. However, they are not completely flat; a small slope is required to allow water to run off. While these roofs are more common on commercial buildings, they are seen on homes as well.

The fact that they are waterproof is essential for any material used on a flat roof. Metal sheets, tar with gravel, and roll roofing are all acceptable options.

With a flat roof, it is very easy to install solar panels. The roof can also serve as an additional outdoor living space. They are also quite simple to build, making them relatively cheap.

On the downside, even with the slight slope they have, they are susceptible to collecting rainwater. Left untreated, this water will attract bacteria, bugs, algae and mold. These roofs should not be used in places that get a lot of rain or snow.

Mansard Roof

masard roof

These are sometimes referred to as French roofs. They are double sloped, with the lower slope being steeper than the upper. There are several different styles of Mansard roofs. Metal roofing is the most popular choice of material for the Mansard style.

The biggest advantage of this roof is the extra living space it provides. It is almost like having an extra story for the home. Anyone who may want to make additions to their home at a later date will find that this roof makes it quite easy.

On the negative side, maintenance on these roofs can be difficult. They are also very difficult to frame. Due to this, they end up being a much more expensive type of roof than some other common ones.

Lean-To Roof

lean to roof

Also called a Skillion or shed roofs, these are only an option on certain types of homes. In order to work, they need one wall to be considerably taller than the rest.

Instead of being used on the entire home, they are often seen on carports, sunrooms, and other additions. They are made of a singular slope, and most roofing materials will work.

The steepness of the slope allows water and snow to run off easily. They are simple to construct as well. Solar panels can easily be installed on this type of roof.

In terms of cons, if the entire house has a lean-to roof, it can have durability issues in high-wind areas. If the slope of the roof is too dramatic, some of the rooms in the home will have very low ceilings.