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Top 5 Roof Types And Pros & Cons

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A roof is such an important part of any structure that its design alone defines the character of the home. That is why making the right decision regarding what type of roof to put on your home is more significant than many people realize. Having a wide variety of roofing choices only seems to make this decision even harder. Understanding the different roof types and the pros and cons of each will help make sure you get the best roof for your home.

Gable Roof

Their characteristic triangular shape makes these roof easy to recognize and spot. Also referred to as peaked or pitched roof, they are a favorite for many styles of homes including Colonials, Tudors, and Cape Cods. You may find them as side gables, where the pitched roof has two equal panels at an angle, meeting in the middle of the structure, or crossed gables, where two gable roof sections are put together at a right angle.


  • Easily sheds snow and water
  • Provides more space for attics
  • Lends itself to vaulted ceilings
  • Easy to build


  • Not recommended for high wind or hurricane-prone areas
  • Winds may cause materials to peel away


Mansard or French Roof

These four-sided roofs have a double slope on each side which meet to form a low-pitched roof. Depending on the style, sides can be either curved or flat.


  • Good for creating extra living areas
  • Creates greater aesthetic appeal by lending itself to open or closed dormers
  • Offers flexibility if future home additions are planned


  • Low pitch portion doesn’t go well with heavy snowfall
  • Costs more due to the details and embellishments that go into them


Flat Roof

These roofs only have a very slight pitch to allow for the necessary water run-off and drainage. It’s more common to find them in commercial buildings but they also work well on residences, particularly in areas with low rainfall.


  • The roof lends itself to a rooftop deck or patio
  • Heating and cooling systems can be placed on it
  • It requires fewer building materials


  • Susceptible to water leakage
  • Not recommended for areas with high amounts of rain or snow


Saltbox Roof

This asymmetrical roof has one side that works as a slightly sloping flat roof while the other one is more of a lean-to. Gables are generally placed at both ends. They are traditionally found in early Colonial and Cape Cod homes.


  • Easy for water to slide off
  • More durable than simple gables
  • Adds more living space


  • Design can be tricky
  • Building costs may be higher
  • Some rooms may end up with slanted ceilings


Combination Roofs

These roofs focus on design and take elements from various roof types both for practical and aesthetic reasons. They may have a gable on one side and a flat or saltbox roof on another, for example.


  • They make a house more interesting
  • Each section can be planned to benefit the area underneath it


  • As complex as these are, cost increases
  • Higher building materials and labor costs
  • Joining different roof types make for some weak spots on the roof

If you are undecided as to what roof type would work better for the home or commercial structure you are planning, having a consultation with your trusted Seattle general contractors will point you in the right direction. Make an appointment today to get started.



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