Whether you’re building a new house or are redesigning an already-existing one, choosing the most suitable type of roof isn’t always a simple task. Different types of roofs are suitable for different purposes. Of course, the basic function of a roof is consistent across all of them — to protect your home from elemental damage — but depending on the shape of your home, aesthetic goals, geographic location, and other factors, different roof-types will be more appropriate than others. To get a clear picture about what roof type is best for your home, contact Tim Leeper Roofing in Nashville to uncover the hidden potential of your roof. We can inspect and then install whatever roof is determined to be best for your house!

Pros & Cons of Various Roof Types

Material selection aside, what gives your roof personality is its shape and design, like how the peaks and valleys all meet together. Many people don’t realize they even have choices here! Here are some of the most popular styles of roofs along with their pros and cons.

#1: Flat Roofs

Flat roofs are commonly found on commercial buildings, modernist homes, and for home additions like sunrooms. These roofs generally are not actually 100% flat — they are usually installed with a low slope so that rainwater is able to run off and not get pooled up and cause potential damage. Flat roofs have no pitch, and because of their low-grade slope, may require tactically-place drains, gutters, and scuppers to help evacuate water. Traditional materials like asphalt are not recommended for flat or low-slope roofs, as they don’t offer the level of water-protection required here. Instead, go for single- or multi-ply membranes, EPDM rubber, or other highly water-protective material. Flat roofs can be cheaper than other roof types (less material needed due to low angles) and can also look great and be practical. Just make sure they are designed with protection from the elements and intelligent drainage in mind, or else you may end up with some water damage in your home before you know it.

It’s imperative that you get an experienced roofing contractor with a good reputation to install or repair your flat roof, to avoid any problems. The experienced contractors at Tim Leeper Roofing in Nashville understand where to locate drains and the proper height to install them to avoid puddling. Whether you want a flat roof for commercial or residential purposes, contact us now to get your Speedy Fast Quote for your roofing project.

#2: Gable Roofs

One of the most popular types of residential roofs in the US is the gable roof — also called the peaked or pitched roof. “Gable” refers to the triangular shape formed by the pitched roof. Gable roofs are easy to install, as in some cases (like with the A-frame side gable roof) there are only two flat surfaces without any hips or valleys, which equates to lower cost and great flexibility in material for you. Gable roofs easily are able to shed water and snow, and also give you more space in your top floor or attic. Their simple design also makes them an affordable roofing option. The main con of gable roofs is that they are vulnerable to high winds and hurricanes. If installed properly though, the risk of wind-damage can be largely ameliorated. There are a few types of gable roofs available:

  • Side Gable — This is the most basic type of pitched roof. Two pitched roofs angle to meet each other in the middle of the building.
  • Crossed Gable — Two side gable roof sections put together at right angles. Crossed gables are good as accent roofs for garages, porches, etc.
  • Front Gable — This is a gable roof put at the entrance of a house. It is commonly used for Colonial styles homes.
  • Dutch Gable Roof — This is a gable roof that has been placed on top of a hip roof for added space and enhanced aesthetics.

#3: Hip Roofs

A hip roof is a roof that has slopes on all four sides; all the sides come together at the top to form a ridge. The inward slope of the four sides makes the hip roof a more stable option than the gable roof — so for regions with high levels of wind or snow, a hip roof might be a suitable option for you. The shape of hip roofs also provides you with extra living space on the top floor of your home. The #1 con is that hip roofs are more expensive to build than simple gable roofs. Also, it is more challenging to install a hip roof than a gable roof, so make sure you hire an experienced, fully-licensed roof contractor like Tim Leeper Roofing to get the job done right, so you can have a roof that lasts a long time without needing repairs. Some types of hip roofs include:

  • The Simple Hip Roof — This roof has a triangle shape on two of the sides and a polygon shape on the other two. It’s the most common type of hip roof. All the sides come together to make a simple ridge at the top.
  • The Half Hipped Roof — This roof is similar to the simple hip except that two of the sides are shortened to create eaves.
  • The Cross Hipped Roof — Much like the cross gable roof, this is a useful type of roof for homes that have different wings.

#4: Mansard Roofs

Mansard roofs are perfect for people wanting to maximize the living space of their home. Otherwise called the French roof, this four-sided roof has a low-slope (flat-like) top, and sharply angled sides that can be either curved or flat, depending on what style you prefer. The mansard roof is appealing primarily from the perspective of increasing the space in your upper floors and from an aesthetic perspective. However, this is not an ideal roof for regions where it snows a lot, as snow could build up on top and cause damage. Another con is the price — mansard roofs tend to cost more than other types of roofs because of the amount of detail that is required for them. However, for many, the added character and living space is worth the extra cost.

If you are planning on getting a mansard roof, we recommend choosing a more high-end material like zinc or copper for the steep part of the roof, as, though it will be more expensive up-front, it will require less maintenance in the long-run. For a decorative roof that is reliable and unique, a mansard roof is an excellent choice.

#5: Gambrel Roofs

A Gambrel roof is essentially a mansard roof but with two sides instead of four that slope down. Gambrel roofs are ubiquitous on barns, farmhouses, and log cabins, but are also to be found atop Georgian and Dutch Colonial style homes. The benefits of the Gambrel roof are similar to the mansard roof — greater living space and great style. Gambrel roofs are also easier to build, as there are only two roof beams required, connected with gusset joints. Because of the relative simplicity of building a Gambrel roof, it is generally going to be less expensive to build than a mansard roof.

Gambrel roofs are particularly useful for outdoor sheds or any other building where maximizing storage space is a priority. The cons of a Gambrel roof are that it is not ideal for regions where heavy wind or high snow is common, as extreme pressure can cause them to collapse. Mitigating this possibility, you need to have it constructed properly. The ridges need to be waterproofed and repairs should be taken care of promptly, to avoid developmental damage. Metal is a good long-term roofing material for Gambrel roofs, but asphalt and wood are also not uncommon.

Continued in Part II

To continue reading about the main types of roofs you should know about before building or revamping your house, check out Part II of this two-part series. If you are in Nashville and want to get your new roof installed by the best, reach out to Tim Leeper Roofing and get the high-quality results you’re looking for. We offer both commercial and residential roofing services, including inspections repair and replacement. Contact us to learn more!