10 Different Roof Types

House framing with a focus on the roof

As a roofing contractor, it’s your job to provide relevant information that your customers need so they can choose which type of roof is best for their home or business. While it may seem like second nature to you, customers can often feel overwhelmed by the number of roof choices out there.

Use this article as a guide to help you navigate these discussions with customers. In this article, we discuss two types of roofs that have several subcategories: pitched roof structures and flat roof structures.

Let’s take a closer look at these types of pitched and flat roof structures.

Types of Pitched Roof Structures

Residential or commercial buildings typically have a pitched roof. Pitched roofs are a type of roof that has a sloped surface. Most types of pitched roofs can be built using common materials, including shingles, metal, and tile.

Gable Roof

When a child draws a house, they typically draw a gable-roofed home. In fact, these types of roofs are even featured in emojis, like this one 🏠.

The simple design of this roof is cost-effective because it only requires two roof beams. There are many variations of gable roofs, including the box gable roof and clipped gable roof.

Classic gable roof with blue shutters

Hip Roof

The hip roof is modeled after a pyramid structure. The tent-shaped roof doesn’t have vertical ends and is very stable. Typically, these types of roofs can cost more than the standard gable roof.

Dutch Roof

Dutch roofs are a combination of hip and gable styles. Dutch roofs feature a gable on top of a hip-shaped roof. As opposed to their parent roof types, Dutch roofs can let in more natural sunlight and provide more storage space.

Dutch-style tiled roof

Dormer Roof

Dormer roofs create small rooms that extend off the slope of the roof. Generally, these roof types will have a window on the small room as well.

Skillion Roof

Skillion roofs consist of a singular roof panel that slants over the entire structure—like a lean-to. They are also known as shed roofs. These types of roofs require less material to build and easily allow snow and rain to run off the building.

Gambrel Roof

If you’ve ever seen a farm, log cabin, or barn, you’ll recognize this type of roof. Gambrel roofs are a type of old roof structure. They are similar to gable roofs but made up of four sides instead of two. There are two sloped panels on either side of the structure that join at the top in a point.

M-Shaped Roof

These M-shaped roof types get their name from—yes, you guessed it—the letter M. Just like the letter, this roof design has two sloped sides that meet in the middle with additional slopes on either side. An M-shaped roof is essentially two gable roofs pushed together with a valley in the middle.

Types of Flat Roof Structures

Flat roof structures can be residential or commercial and are either completely or nearly level. Flat roof building materials include:

Flat Roof

Just as the name implies, these roof types are mostly flat. To account for water run-off and drainage, there is a slight pitch to the structure. These types of roofs are most commonly seen on commercial buildings.

A modern home with a flat roof style

Mansard Roof

Mansard roofs are a type of old roof structure shaped almost like a trapezoid, with four pitched sides joining at a flat rectangular top. Due to the design, the attic of a building with a mansard roof is actually big enough to live in. 

Unfortunately, the style also means rain can pool on the roof’s surface and snow won’t slide off, leading to cracks and leaks over time.

Butterfly Roof

The butterfly roof is tricky to categorize. Technically, it is pitched and flat. A butterfly roof pitches inward, creating a V shape with a flat valley between the two sides. This roof structure design collects water in the center valley, which can easily be connected to a central drainage spout. 

These types of roofs are common in the Southwest region of the U.S., especially in Southern California.

Old gas station with a butterfly-style roof

Keeping Your Roofing Business Profitable

According to research, 80% of roofers have seen a 10% increase in labor costs over the last two years. Using roofing software can help contractors work efficiently and gain valuable insights into your business that will help you increase your profitability. Roofing software can also:

Keeping yourself familiar with the different types of roofs your customers will want is essential to the success of your roofing business.

Customers will appreciate your knowledge and expertise, as you can advise them on the best type of roof for their situation. It’s best to help customers understand what roof will best meet their needs rather than overwhelm them with options.

To recap, there are two main types of roofs: pitched roof structures and flat roof structures. There are many subcategories under both of these types of roofs, and they all have their pros and cons. Under those categories are 10 different types of roofs: gable roof, butterfly roof, hip roof, dutch roof, mansard roof, shed roof, dormer roof, M-shaped roof, gambrel roof, and flat roof.

What roof types are the most popular with customers at your roofing business? Let us know in the comments below!

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