Roofs serve an important utilitarian purpose: keeping rain, snow,
and debris out of the house. But they also add to a home's character and style.
The material of roof is an important element of design and an indication of how
long the roof will last. A slate roof, for example, can last from 70 to 125
years and is relatively expensive; whereas an asphalt tile roof is less
expensive and will last typically from 15 to 20 years.
Bonnet roofs are similar to a hip roof with a different pitch and gables at the
Cross gable roofs have two or more gable rooflines that intersect. A house with
a basic gable roof will have a rectangular shape, but a house with a cross gable
roof can have a more complex shape and therefore a more complex layout.
Front-gabled houses have a gable roof and the front door is under the gable. The
gable is the area at the front and back of the house beneath the pitched roof
that follows the roofline - it is typically triangular. A gable roof is very
common and has two sloping planes that meet in a central ridge.
Either front- or side-faced; used in
Gambrel roofs have a shallow slope over a steep slope. It is typical of the
Dutch colonial architectural style and also frequently seen on barns.
Hipped roofs slope in
four directions. The "hip" is the angle formed where two sloped sides meet. This
roof is used with many different architectural styles and is said to stand up to
hurricane winds better than a gable roof.
Pavilion-hipped roofs have four sloping planes that meet in a single point. They
are sometimes also called pyramid-hipped roofs and are typically used on smaller
buildings such as a garage or pool house.
Mansard roofs have
four sloping sides, like a hipped roof, and each side has a shallow slope over a
steep slope, similar to a gambrel roof. There are almost always dormers in a
mansard roof. Mansard is named after the French architect Francois Mansart
(1598-1666), who was known to use this style of roof. This roof style was
particularly popular in the latter half of the 19th century, and is often seen
on Victorian row houses.
gabled is descriptive word for a house with its front door under the side of a
gabled roof. Examples can be seen in many residential styles, from a
to a Georgian house.
Saltbox roofs are
typical of colonial architecture in New England. A saltbox house is two stories
high in the front and has a low sloping roofline in the back of the house. It is
named after its resemblance to saltboxes used in colonial times.