Think about a building.  If you’re going to draw one, you probably start with some sort of rectangle for the base.  Maybe you add in the windows and the door.  However, it is not complete until you add in a roof.

The style and material seriously impact the character of the whole structure, too.  The different styles can give a whole different feeling or vibe to the building.  Meanwhile, the materials provide a different look as well as having different levels of maintenance required.  It is important to educate ourselves on this stuff!


As I have mentioned above, there are a number of different options out there for roofing.  They have architectural implications as well as aesthetic ones.  Whether you are designing a home or commercial building or are just looking to purchase, you should keep these in mind in your endeavors.


This is probably the most common and easily identifiable type.  You can read more about it here, if you would like:  However, there are some fast facts you should keep in mind with them.


As you have probably figured out from the name, this type is shaped like the letter A.  Usually, the building will have a triangular shaped front with the roof nearly touching the ground.  However, that is not a hard rule – just a helpful way to identify them.


This kind goes by a variety of names, including “belcote roof.”  Because if this, it can be quite easy to get confused with all the terminology floating around. However, they are quite recognizable and fashionable.

This type has a double slope on each side.  The lower portion will have a shallower pitch than the upper part of it.  Usually, it will extend over the walls of the structure, perhaps leading into a porch or patio.  They are popular in France, as well as certain parts of Louisiana.


This is a more modern appearance than the previous two I discussed.  They are usually featured on a home that has walls mostly filled with windows.  If you have one, you may want to look at a roofing services page for maintenance or installation if you want one.

They are made of sloping panels at heights with small variations in them and are then joined by 

a flat wall.  Despite the look of them, they are actually an ancient invention dating back to the Romans and ancient Egyptians!  They certainly give a cool look.


This type is best if you are looking to have a loft or use an attic as a useable space.  Notably, they always have at least one window – that is their biggest calling card!  This allows natural light to enter the attic space you want to use.

The dormer is usually added into a slanted roof.  They can give the illusion of additional height to your home and certainly have street appeal!  This is probably my personal favorite style, but mostly because I have an art studio in my attic that words great with the light from the window coming in.


While these might seem like a boring style visually, they are certainly practical.  As the name implies, they are flat roofs against the top of the building.  They can be made with a variety of materials – the technology has been improving in this field, even.

The traditional choice is a mixture of gravel and hot tar.  This kind is not flammable and can look nice over a window or deck.  However, they are quite heavy and can be difficult to install.

Next, you could try a modified bitumen.  This is a single-ply-rolled type.  Usually, they are installed in a torch-down system, which will heat up the adhesive as it is rolled over the foundation.  Unfortunately, that process is a serious fire hazard, so if you are getting this type, I don’t recommend adding it while the building is occupied.

Finally, there are rubber membrane roofs.  This is a rubber one that is single ply and can even be installed as a do-it-yourself project if you’re brave!  If you are curious about this type, you can look at this article and read more:


This is probably one of the most famous types of roofing.  There are even book series named after it like Anne of Green Gables!  They are characterized by two sloping sides that join at a ridge – creating a triangle shape on top of the home.  

If you remember my example about drawing a home, this is usually what most people add on the top of their rectangle.  They are simply iconic and come in several forms.  These range from false-front to L-shaped to curved and octagonal!  The key is that they join and form that triangle in some way.


I find this style to be quite interesting as it is highly recognizable but not seen very often anymore.  Usually, they are only found in colonial style homes, but were quite prevalent in ancient architecture.  However, they are used for barns as well, which is where you may have seen one.

It is a two-sided roof with slopes on each side (usually two).  It should be symmetrical.  They are intended to provide the same benefits of a sloped roof but still give ample storage space for the interior of the building.  


The final type I will discuss today are hip roofs.  These slope upwards from all of the sides of the structure underneath and do not have any vertical ends. There are a few different styles, such as pyramid hips or jerkin head.

Why to Care?

While this may have felt like a total ramble or unimportant, I think understanding the different types can help us be more informed consumers.  If you are looking to get a professional installation, you can feel more confident in perusing your options and eventually selecting what works best for you!  Otherwise, it might feel like the contractor is taking advantage of you (even if they are not).

You can choose a cost-effective option if you are well educated on this as well.  Additionally, curb appeal is something you should consider.  Some of them look a lot more aesthetically appealing than others.  In sunny San Diego, this is definitely something to keep in mind – you’ll probably spend a good amount of time outside!

If you belong to a Homeowner’s Association, for example, you may need to get approved to make renovations to the exterior of your house – including the roof.  Things like dormers can really beautify a home.

However you choose to proceed, I wish you the best of luck.  These are very important for the structures of our homes, after all!

Read more interesting articles at Home Creatives


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