28 Different Types of Roofs for Houses – The Definitive Guide

Types of Roofs – The shelter is one of the most important necessities of life.  With the change of time, it has taken different dimensions. Roofs are no longer simple hut structures meant for protection. From a simple hut structure, we have come way ahead as far as buildings are concerned. We have grown in leaps and bounds in the construction of buildings.

In any structure, the roof forms an integral part of the building. Roofing is the last thing that strikes one’s attention when one thinks of acquiring a house. for it is just considered a shelter above.

But it is not as ignorable as one thinks it to be. The many shapes that you are going to be exposed to now are definitely going to broaden your perspective regarding the role, roofs play in shaping the aesthetic sense in architecture.

What Are The Different Types of Roofs ?

One gets to see a variety of roofs of different shapes and made of a different materials. However, while selecting a roof one not only should keep in mind the shape and material but also the functionality of the roof. The table below shows the most widely used roofs in structures, according to shape, the material used in roofing.

Types of Roofs : Bonnet roof

types of roofs

The Bonnet roof is akin to the pyramid and hip roof. The only difference you find is that the Bonnet Roof has two longer sides that slope outwards thus providing shade and shelter to the outside area that comes under the roof. Eg the front porch or the backyard area. This kind of roof also facilitates having a seating area without any additional construction near the house.

Types of Roofs : Butterfly Roof

This roof looks like an upturned bonnet where the eaves meet in the center giving it a mild V shape. This roof resembles the flapping wings of a butterfly, hence the roof name Butterfly Roof. The main advantage of this type of roof is the possibility of collection of rainwater which is useful in drier areas and also the tall ceilings this roof enables you to enjoy.

Types of Roofs :Clerestory Roof

If a lot of natural light is what one is looking out for in their homes, then the Clerestory Roof is what one should opt for. On this roof, we have a vertical wall that sits between two slopping sides; making one slopping side smaller than the other. The vertical wall on the roof can be lined with one or many windows. So, if you want that extra bit of organic light, go for this roof.

Types of Roofs :Combination Roof

True to its name this roof is the combination of two or more types of roofs. Generally, it’s found that such roofs enhance the practical and aesthetic value of the house.

Types of Roofs : Curved roof

This is another unusual, sleek-looking, modern roof that takes the shape of a smooth curve. Apart from its attractive look, it also helps to reduce wind resistance.

Types of Roofs : Dome Roof

As the name suggests this roof is shaped as a circular dome. This roof is considered to be a sturdy one that can withstand high winds and powerful storms. Being more of a classic and modern invention, it is mostly seen in Cathedrals churches, and historical buildings.

Types of Roofs : Dormer Roof

This roof is a light-oriented roof structure, often seen extending vertically beyond the plane of a pitched roof, thus forming a sort of extended window on the roof. This is often found in loft constructions.

Types of Roofs : Flat roof

This is a completely or almost leveled roof which is a common option for mid-century and modern homes. Their simplicity makes it a perfect choice for the present simple and plain designs trends. This kind of roof not only allows one to have built-up roofing that can be a good base for green but it can also be used as a terrace.

Types of Roofs : Gambrel Roof

A gambrel roof is made up of four sides two whereof the sides on the top are less steep than the bottom two sides. They may have window dormers too.

The term gable refers to a triangle shape. So this roof has two sloping sides that meet at a peak. Apart from it being versatile and easy to build, it facilitates good water runoff and, ventilation.

This kind of roof can be of many shapes like  Box gable, Cross Gable, Dutch Gable, Front Gable, Open Gable, and many more. The choice of type depends on the shape of the home and the needs of the inhabitants

Types of Roofs : Hexagonal Roof

As the name suggests this roof is made up of six sides in the form of panels supported by rafters or posts.  These roofs can be mainly seen in garden gazebos or even in complex modern buildings.

Types of Roofs : Jerkinhead roof

Jerkinhead roof is nothing but a gable roof that has the peaked end cut off on both sides.  This roof is very stable under high-velocity winds and minimizes damage.

Types of Roofs : Hip Roofs

Hip Roofs are symmetrical ones that have sloping ends turned inwards. The two main types: Simple Hip Roof and the pyramid hip roof where the four sides meet at one point. There is also the Cross hip roof where the hip sections form the letters “L” and “T” in the hip itself. Then there is the half-hipped roof consisting of shortened roof sides that lead to the formation of the eave.

Types of Roofs : Mansard Roof

Mansard Roof is a French type of roof. Though complicated to make its utility value ( the extra space it provides) makes it quite popular. It is a four-sided gambrel roof practically, with both sides having dual slopes one steeper and the other shallow upper slope. These roofs come with dormers and are recognized as a distinct type- Mansard with Dormers. There are also the Pyramid Mansard and Flare-Out Mansard roofs.

Types of Roofs : Salt Box roof

saltbox roof, a residential roofing style, in its simplest form is a gable roof with asymmetrical planes, with a long pitch and two sides, one long and one short These roofs are usually found on single storied houses having the single story on one side and two stories on the opposite side. These roofs endure can endure strong winds.

Types of Roofs : Shed Roof

Shed Roof or the skillion roof is a very simple designed flat roof that slopes. They are held up by posts on four sides. These are not only low in cost but also easy and fast to install.

Types of Roofs : Skillion Roof

Skillion roofs also called single sloping roofs attached to a taller wall This is best suited in heavy rainfall areas for it drains out the water. This is an option where one is looking for more space.

Types of Roofs : Sawtooth Roof

Comprises of a series of ridges (resembling the teeth of a saw ), with dual pitches on either side. They are found both in old and in some current factories these where without catching the direct sunlight and heat one still gets a sufficient amount light coming in.

Roof Types According to Material

Once the roofing style and shape are selected then comes choosing the material that is to be used to cover the roof. Today we have a whole range of materials to select from, right from the classic shingles to the unusual green roofs. All come with their pros and cons. Going through this section will ease your job of selection.

Types of Roofs : Tile Shingles

made of clay come in several variations, all providing the old timely, warm, Mediterranean look and feel thus, making their look truly classic.

The drawbacks of these tiles are that they are not very sturdy and can break when walked over them. They should have sturdy wooden construction as support, which can take all the weight of the tiles. Another disadvantage is, they cannot withstand hail storms. But with proper care of the tiles, they can last for almost a century.

Types of Roofs : Wooden shingles

People who are looking for a blend of natural surroundings, go for wooden shingles. They are highly praised for their attractive, natural, rustic look. Though not as lasting as tile shingles, their life span can be expanded for almost 50 years if cedar or redwood is used.

The disadvantages seen in these tiles are; they are more expensive than the other varieties, a little difficult to install if doing yourself. One needs to replace the damaged ones quickly to prevent further damage and penetration of water through these damaged tiles.

Types of Roofs : Asphalt shingles

These are shingles that use asphalt for waterproofing. This is one of the most widely used roofing because it is quite low-priced and you can install it without complexity. The advantages being, they are quite durable and by their property of reducing the interior cooling and heating, they help to save energy. If one looks for an environmentally friendly item this is not suggested as it is made of petroleum.

Types of Roofs : Composite Plastic Shingles

Shingles are plastic shingles that are strong and long-lasting, lightweight and cheaper, and quite easy to install. Environment-conscious people can go for recycled plastic shingles which can surely repurpose a lot of plastic waste.

Rainwater collection is possible here because of the smoothness of the plastic shingles. However, these are built to resemble various types of shingles their plastic shine discloses their true nature. So, this may not appeal to the aesthetic sense.

The disadvantage of these kinds of tiles is they are prone to cracking and chipping if handled roughly. They cannot withstand the cold spells and snowfall. Hence not suited for cold countries.

Types of Roofs : Synthetic Rubber Slate Tiles

These are an imitation of natural slate but made of rubber. This is definitely lighter in weight than the original slate but not as durable and long-lasting as other tiles. They are damaged easily when one walks on them or due to hail.

Apart from this, they can be installed only by experienced professionals. The only advantage found in them is that they can be easily cut and modified for unconventional-shaped roofs.

Types of Roofs : BUR – Built-Up Roofing

BUR is generally defined as tar and gravel roofing. It is very generic roofing suitable for flat roofs especially those with a lot of roofs likers. This is the most budget-friendly one and can have a long life span.

This is formed by alternating layers of bitumen and reinforcing fabric which together forms the base of the roof. This base is further topped with an agglomeration such as gravel, mineral, granules, glass fiber, or with mineral surfaced cap sheets.

Covering the entire surface with Aluminium or elastomeric coatings or hot Asphalt is also another good option.

Types of Roofs : Metal roofs

This system is made up of metal pieces or tiles. It is characterized by its high resistance, impermeability, and longevity. Coming to its advantages; these are extremely cost-efficient; they reflect the UV rays very well thus helping in the conservation of energy.

The disadvantages are, firstly it requires skilled professionals for its installation, prone to a lot of noise during rains thus causing annoyance to sensitive people.

Types of Roofs : Solar Roofs

Since we are on the cusp of the solar revolution, this roof is an ideal one for any home. Opting for this rooftop can lead to great savings in terms of power thus leading to the protection of the environment. These roofs provide a lot of space that can be utilized for energy production with the help of solar panels.

Solar tiles are generally incorporated into the existing shingles for solar power and in addition, this also protects the roof. Skilled professionals specializing in solar panel work are required for the installation of these roofs.

Though not very decorative in appearance these roofing shingles do attract some amount of charm visually, which indicate progress, modernity thoughtfulness, and environmental friendliness.

Types of Roofs : Green Roofs

Green Roofs are not only the most environmentally friendly but also extremely beautiful, tried and tested before they came to be popular. This is also the best option now when we are trying to minimize the effects of climate change.

This roof covered with live vegetation helps to insulate homes, reduce water runoff, help pollinators, lower the effect of heat and improve air quality. Though a well-maintained green roof can last a long time.

It can prove to be quite costly since they require additional structural support, waterproofing, drainage, water filtration topped with soils and plants. A green roof, well maintained and attended to, can be ‘Heaven on Earth’.


Of course, Roofs may not be the prime thing to give attention to when thinking about house construction, they cannot be ignored. The shape of each roof and the material used in roofing come with different properties which in turn can have a great impact on one’s quality of life within the house.

Having complete knowledge about them is absolutely necessary before one takes on the project of building or modifying one’s home.

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