The 4 Basic Roof Designs Explained by the Experts – Arvada Roofing

Chances are unless you’re involved in the real estate, construction, or roofing businesses that you’ve never given particular interest to the style of roof over a home. Typically, the only question asked concerning a roof revolves around the age of installation or wear and tear potentially associated with its current state. While each of these aspects are vitally important factors to consider, the overall shape and style of a roof can have an impact on how the home is protected, especially during severe weather.

If you drive through any neighborhood, often the roof choices of homeowners differ as construction and design teams work to fit an owner’s demands but also maintain a sense of style for the area. Depending on the region, multiple roofs may also take the same shape for different purposes. For example, homes and buildings in areas that receive heavy amounts of snowfall may elect a certain roof style that assists in snow removal. Likewise, those living in coastal communities often elect a roof with a low profile to prevent wind damage should a hurricane impact their neighborhood.

Some of the more common roof type shapes for homes are gable, hipped, mansard, and flat. These can exist solo or be combined with one another to incorporate certain designs and styles warranted for different needs or caused by the underlying house design. Each of these has their own unique characteristics as shed roofs are often more easily constructed and the option when electing to add onto an existing structure but other types can allow for more attic space or other factors. Each of the above mentioned types are just a handful of the over 30 home roof designs which can be utilized during construction or combined as needed.

A popular option for roof choices when refitting an existing structure or building initially are gable roofs for their functionality, cost, and durability but even this common design type has a few flaws. As with any choice, each roof type offers pros and cons associated with their particular design.

Following are the most common roof types with detailed characteristics:


Triangular in shape, gable roofs are easily recognizable and often combined with other types throughout the entire home covering. These roofs are designed to create more living or storage space depending on the utilization of the area underneath and can increase the overall value of a home by providing more square footage.
In addition, their relatively simple design makes them a common selection during the building process and a more cost-effective option than other potential roof types. These gable roofs also help to shed the elements when faced with potential heavy rains or snowfall, both typically are flushed from the roof due to design, instead of lingering and creating a potential problem.

While beneficial in these elements, wind can cause damage to gable roof structures due to their design. If erected in high wind areas, specific measures must be taken to ensure that potential damage will be minimal or an alternative roof style selected.


These roof types differ from the triangular shape of a gable and instead offer a slope on all four sides of the structure that they protect. The hipped style also incorporates a variety of options for styles to choose from which can be combined for different effects.

In similar fashion to gable style structures, hipped roofs can provide more square footage and extra living space for the building. However, instead of being susceptible to wind damage, hipped roofs tend to be more durable than their gable counterparts. By design, the style continues to allow for effective snow and rain removal but also tends to hold up against high winds with better stability.

One of the drawbacks to a hipped roof as opposed to gable, is the upfront cost. Due to design characteristics these roof types can be more expensive than other viable options. However, if utilized appropriately, the monetary value gained from additional living space can be extremely beneficial to the home or business owner over the long-run.


Providing extra living space is a benefit to this type which can often be recognized by the windows seemingly installed within the roof design. While the two previously disclosed types do offer extra living or storage space, the mansard roof type creates an abundance of opportunity.

Not only will the mansard roof selection allow for a full attic throughout the property but this space can also be divided up into selective living quarters. Similar to a basement being partially finished, a mansard roof creates the potential for either a full living quarters, attic, or the opportunity to allow for both over the property.

While these roof types do offer the flexibility of future expansion and space, their pitch makes them a potential hazard with areas which receive high amounts of snowfall. The inability to whisk away excess weight created from winter precipitation could cause problems to a structure electing to utilize this particular roofing system.


More commonly associated with industrial and commercial type buildings, flat roofs do offer some benefits to a homeowner and should be given proper consideration when designing or adding onto an existing structure.

One of the more common functions of a flat roof design is the ability to store HVAC units atop a structure instead of having to pipe in heating and air from the ground level. This option allows for vents to be placed in the ceiling as opposed to floors making the placement of furniture and any other tables, chairs, etc. non-relatable in connection with airflow.

Especially with commercial units, which typically require a larger heating or cooling unit, the placement on a roof as opposed to outside helps to alleviate any potential eyesore or the need to hide industrial type machinery from the aesthetic appeal from a piece of property.

The absence of a pitch also means cost is relatively inexpensive and easy to construct but can be hazardous in areas that receive high amounts of snow or rainfall over any given period of time. Flat roof designs administered in these type of environments often suffer from potential leaks and damage due to the various elements to which they are exposed.

Backed by decades of experience, Arvada Roofing and Construction has been providing quality roof construction and repair throughout the Denver area for nearly 20 years. Equipped with an amazing staff to handle any roofing job, no matter the size, our company will work to ensure you are pleased with both the design choice and end result of any roofing related project. Providing roofing services of all types in addition to siding and seamless gutters, we are ready to help. Contact us today online or call 303-432-2753 for your free estimate!

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