Roofs 101: An Overview of Styles and Materials

by / Wednesday, 22 May 2024 / Published in Roofing Systems

Roofing contractors in Napa, California, educate their customers on the available types of roofing and roofing supplies.

What Kind of Roof Does Your House Have?

Though every house is different, they share a few major things. The roof is the most important part of the home, making it a true form of shelter, but roofs take many different forms.

Each century and architectural style has provided a different take on the roof, and different materials have been used.

Still, they all provide a waterproof barrier to protect the structure and safety of the rest of the home. But you don’t have to be a roofer or an architect to understand the type of roof you have on your home.

This article will outline the different types of materials and designs available for various residential and commercial roofing.

Roofing Types by Material

Over the centuries, different materials have been used for roofs. From yurts to castles, the possibilities are nearly endless. Today, most materials fall under only a few categories.

The most common roofing material is asphalt shingles, but metal roofing is becoming increasingly prominent in residential roofing because of its ease of installation and longevity. The five major categories of roof covering in today’s homes are listed below.

  • Asphalt Shingles
  • Cedar Shingles or “Shakes”
  • Slate
  • Tile
  • Metal

Slate is the longest-lasting of these materials, lasting up to 100 years, but it is also the heaviest and most expensive. It is not a practical choice for most modern built, wooden-framed homes. Tile and metal roofs are also long-lasting ( around 50 years or so), but tile can be heavy and difficult to repair.

Metal roofs can be very expensive and noisy in rain and storms. Cedar shakes are expensive and last about the same time as asphalt. They are excellent for older homes attempting to maintain a turn-of-the-century look. Speaking of looks, let’s move on to different roofing styles.

Roofing Types By Design or Style

There are many different styles of roofs, and we will discuss only a handful or so in this article. The types of roofs are as varied as the individual homes they cover. Some are designed purely for esthetic reasons, while others are clearly for utility only. The list below will describe a large variety of roofs that are available in today’s home market.

  • Butterfly Roof: Instead of the traditional triangle or A-shaped roof, the butterfly roof is inverted into a wide v-shape like a pair of butterfly wings. Houses from the modern age sometimes have these roofs.
  • Gable Roof: This is a traditional, triangular roof that is pointed on the top and comes down on two sides of the house. There are many variations on this roof, but the gable roof is the most basic design.
  • Gambrel Roof: The gambrel roof is also known as the barn-style roof. It has two sloped areas on each side of the main peak of the roof, first a gentle slope,and then a steeper one coming down to meet the edge of the exterior wall.
  • Hipped Roof: This is perhaps the most common roofing type behind gable roofs. The hipped roof is defined as four sides leaning into one peak. It is considered more stable than the gable roof, but is more expensive due to more material being needed.
  • Jerkinhead Roof: The jerkinhead or English-hipped roof has two longer sides that are gable-like and two shorter, clipped sides that angle toward the middle like a hipped roof. They allow a greater amount of space in the attic or upstairs region of the home.
  • Bonnet Roof: These are often seen in the southeastern part of the US and consist of two separate slopes on the home’s exterior. The lower slope is often used to cover an entrance or porch.
  • Mansard Roof: Also called a French roof, the mansard roof consists of four sides of double-sloped roofing. It is the quintessential look for a French apartment building, swooping gracefully down in two descents and allowing for extra loft space.
  • Pyramid Roof: The simplest form of hipped roof looks exactly as one would expect it to. It is pyramid shaped and is a good choice for areas with high probability for wind storms. The pyramid roof is great for small homes such as bungalows.
  • Dome Roof: Though usually only seen on high profile buildings such as churches. They are expensive, but very durable and strong.
  • Saltbox Roof: The asymmetrical design of a saltbox roof makes it recognizable in areas with colonial style housing.They are similar to gambrel roofs, but have one longer side and the lower slopes fit underneath the eaves of the upper slopes. They have a unique history in the United States.
  • Sawtooth Roof: While the complex design of the sawtooth roof may provide more space for larger windows, they tend to have problems with roof leaks and need to be properly maintained.
  • Skillion Roof: The skillion roof is also known as a lean-to or shed roof. It is a single-angled slope roof instead of adding two or more downward slopes.

We haven’t even taken the time to mention curved roofs or combination roofs, which are fairly self-explanatory. Flat roofs are often used for commercial locations due to their economy and straightforward roof leak repair. They can also be used as extra space for growing things, such as a green roof.

Roof Maintenance and Inspection

Whatever roof your home has, there will be leaks and roofing replacement will be needed at some point. If you have a reputable roofing company do a yearly inspection, then you are less likely to have damage that goes unnoticed and leads to further structural problems in your home.

Roofers can educate their customers on what they can do to keep their roofs in the best possible shape and can recommend when and how to rebuild or replace the roof when that becomes necessary.

About Modern Method Roofing

With over six decades of experience in roofing and decking throughout Napa, CA, and the surrounding communities, Modern Method Roofing is trusted by their customers. They offer senior discounts, and 100% financing is available. Call today for a free estimate.

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