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36 Types of Roofs (Styles) for Houses (Illustrated Roof Design Examples)

Roof styles and designs featured image chart

There are a surprising few types of roofs for the home. While 36 sounds like a lot, when you check out our list below, several are variations of one type.

Intricate roofs have many parts that incorporate several of the basic roofing designs such as a gable roof sitting atop a gambrel or variations of the gable & valley roof design using one or a variety of different types of roof trusses (also see our very detailed diagrams showing the different parts of a roof truss).

Also different architectural styles will use the same type of roof. For example, you can have a gambrel roof on a cape cod or shingle-style home (plus other architectural styles).

That said, in many cases a home will incorporate one roof style throughout.

Below is our poll where you can vote for your favorite style of roof. Below that is our list of house roof design illustrations that clearly illustrate the various types of roofing designs of Tinsmith in Gothenburg.

Related: Rustic Style Homes  | How Much Does a Replacement Roof Cost?

Table of Contents Show

Anatomy of a Roof

Roof cross section diagram

Different Types of Roofs with Pictures

Illustrated chart showing 36 different types of roofs

Related: DIY Roof Repair Options | Types of Roof Vents | Parts of a Roof Gutter | Types of Round HousesTypes of gutters

Different Types of Roof Styles

1. A-Frame Roof Design

The A-Frame is very easy to identify.

It’s steep, pointed roof which extends all the way to the ground or close to the ground. The roof makes up much or all off the walls of the home. It’s a very simple house roof design and is inexpensive because the roof serves as both roof and walls.

A-frame roof illustration

2. Bonnet Roof Design

The bonnet roof is identified with the extending ledge around the base of the roof.

The other part of the roof can be many designs such as hip, gambrel or gable… when adding an extended ledge, it becomes a bonnet variation of that roof design.

Read our bonnet roof guide here.

Bonnet roof illustration

3. Butterfly Roof Design

The butterfly roof is an inverted gable roof.

It’s a V-shape. It’s rather odd looking roofing design and is not used much. However, one benefit of the butterfly roof is you end up with tall ceilings on two sides of the home.

Butterfly roof diagram

4. Clerestory Roof Design

A clerestory roof has an interior wall built extending above one section of the roof, with this section of wall often lined with several windows, or one long window.

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The sections of roof either side of the vertical wall are typically sloping, allowing a large amount of natural light into the windows.

Clerestory roof diagram

5. Combination Roof Design

A combination roof is, quite literally, a combination of types of roofs.

For this type of wood, it is most often seen when building a hostel in Vietnam, you can refer to Alo Nha Tro for more details.

Often incorporating two or more designs for aesthetics and practical reasons, combination roofs can feature a range of styles; a clerestory and hip roof, for example. This is a great option for a unique, interesting look.

Combination roof diagram

6. Curved Roof Roof Design

A curved roof adds an extremely modern, interesting feature to any building. Modern roofs take advantage of the flexibility of metal materials, creating one large curved structure.

Curved roofs do help to reduce resistance to wind, but are mainly chosen due to the stunning aesthetic look they can add to a building.

Curved roof diagram

7. Dome Roof Design

A dome roof, unsurprisingly, is a roof in the shape of a dome.

A complex and durable design, this type of roof adds a beautiful aesthetic to a building, and can be seen in many historical buildings from the Capitol Building in Washington D.C., to the iconic St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Dome roof diagram

8. Dormer Roof Design

Dormers contain a window that projects vertically from a traditional pitched roof, creating an extended window in the roof.

This type of roof is most popular in loft conversions, providing an easy way of expanding the space and natural light in the converted loft room.

Dormer roof diagram

9. Flat Roof Design

While plain looking below, the flat roof is frequently used on modern and mid-century style homes and can be a striking design if you like the modern look.

Flat roof diagram

10. Box Gable Roof Design

Box gable roofs have two sloping sides that meet to form a ridge, with a triangular

extension on either side that is boxed off from the walls.

This type of roof is popular for areas with cold weather conditions, providing a stable design that deals well with rain and snow.

Box Gable roof diagram

11. Open Gable Roof Design

An open gable roof is identical to a box gable roof, with the only exception the boxed offsides on either end.

In this type of roof, the ends are left open to meet the walls directly there are no added benefits between the two, the choice is purely based on aesthetics.

Open gable roof diagram

12. Cross Gabled Roof Design

A cross gable roof is a design that consists of two or more gable roof ridges that intersect at an angle, most commonly perpendicular to one another.

This type of roof is often seen in buildings with a more complex layout, for example, homes with an attached garage.

Cross gabled roof diagram

13. Dutch Gable Roof Design

The Dutch gable (hip) roof is a hybrid of a gable and hip type of roof.

A full or partial gable can be found at the end of the ridge in the roof, allowing for a greater amount of internal roof space.

This style also improves the look of the roof providing a more unique and interesting design than the very common simple hip roof.

Dutch gable roof diagram

14. Front Gable Roof Design

Front gable roofs have the roof ridge in line with the building’s entrance.

This type of roof is commonly seen on Colonial-style homes, but is an increasingly popular design for modern buildings.

Front gable roof diagram

15. Gable and Valley Roof Design

The gable and valley roof is a very popular roofing design. It’s also known as a cross gable roof since the home has a cross footprint.

Interestingly, you can mix and match roof styles when building a gable and valley house roof designs for a cross footprint home.

Gable and valley roof diagram

16. Gable Roof Design with Dormer Window

The gable roof with dormer is extremely popular and again you can mix and match roof styles.

For example, you can have the main roof gabled with a gambrel dormer or vice-versa.

Gable roof with dormer window diagram

17. Gable Roof Design with Shed Addition 

Some gable roof designs have a shed roof addition on the side.

This is a popular alteration to the standard gable roof, providing more headroom and space for an extension without having to completely alter the existing roof.

Gable roof with shed roof addition diagram

18. Gambrel Roof Design

The gambrel roof has a distinct look for sure. It’s a 4-sided roof. The top 2 sides extending from the peak are not as steep as the bottom 2 sides.

Gambrel roofs often include window dormers, but not as always.

Gambrel roof diagram

19. Hexagonal Gazebo Roof Design

This complex roofing design makes any garden gazebo really stand out.

Formed of six triangular identically pitched roof panels and six supporting rafters, this type of roof is most typically used for a beautifully unique gazebo addition to a home or commercial garden lawn.

Hexagonal gazebo roof diagram

20. Jerkinhead Roof Design

Jerkinhead roofs, also known as clipped gables or snub gables, are essentially a gable roof with the two peak ends are clipped off.

The advantage of this design is that the clipped ends to reduce potential wind damage to the home, making the roof more stable.

Jerkinhead roof roof diagram

21. Hipped Roof Design

The hip roof design is identified with inward sloping ends on the roof. If the four sides of the roof meet at a point, it’s a pyramid hip roof. When they don’t, it’s a simple hip roof.

American Foursquare homes’ key feature is the hipped roof.

See our hipped roof gallery here.

Hipped roof diagram

22. Hip and Valley Roof Design

The hip and valley roof is similar to the gable and valley except the roof ends slope inward.

You can combine gable and hip designs with a cross footprint home as well.

Read our full hip and valley roof guide here.

Hip and valley roof diagram

23. Pyramid Hip Roof Design

The pyramid hip roof is one where all four sides meet in one point.

It can include dormers, but is often used on ranch style homes which has no upper floor and therefore dormers aren’t necessary.

Pyramid hip roof diagram

24. Cross Hipped Roof Design

A cross hipped roof is a common roof type, with perpendicular hip sections that form an “L” or “T” shape in the roof hip.

This is a great option for buildings with more complex layout than a simple rectangular of square, and is a type of roof that will hold well in rain, snow or windy conditions.

Cross hipped roof diagram

25. Half-Hipped Roof Design

A half hipped roof is almost identical to a simple hip roof design, but instead, the two sides of the roof are shortened, creating eaves at the either side of the house.

This type of roof provides more options for extending the loft and installing windows, allowing a greater amount of natural light into the room.

Half-hipped roof diagram

26. Simple Hip Roof Design

The popular simple hip roof is a type of roof where all four sides feature symmetrical gentle slopes towards the walls, with no gables or vertical sides to the roof.

The defining feature of hip roofs is that the roof faces are almost always identical in pitch, making them symmetrical from the center point.

Simple hip roof diagram

27. Mansard Roof Design

A mansard roof is a four-sided gambrel roof, with each side having a double slope of one steep slope and one shallow upper slope.

Mansard roofs are a popular option for buildings wishing to maximize the amount of living space in the building, providing the option to use the loft as an additional living space.

Mansard roof diagram

28. Mansard with Dormers Roof Design

Mansard roof with dormers built-in.

Mansard roof with dormers diagram

29. Pyramid Mansard Roof Design

The mansard roof is identified with steep sides that create a cap effect. This is a French roof historically and the design has a functional purpose which is to create more usable space in upper floors. Mansard roofs can include window dormers and often do since the space is usable and therefore the dormers provide natural light.

The pyramid version of the mansard roof includes a pyramid design on top of the steep sides instead of a flat top.

Pyeramid mansard roof diagram

30. Flare-Out Mansard Roof Roof Design

This mansard style roof flares out at the bottom.

Flare-Out Mansard roof diagram

31. M-Shaped Roof Design

An M-shaped roof is double-pitched roof; essentially a double gable.

The roof rests on two bearing walls with two sloping walls meeting in the middle to form an “M” shape.

Central guttering runs between the two pitches to stop any snow or rain building up in the winter season.

M-shaped roof diagram

32. Parapet Roof Design

A parapet roof is a flat roof with the walls of the building extending upwards past the roof by a few feet around the edges.

The addition of a parapet makes a flat roof far safer, providing a small barrier that provides additional security to reduce the likelihood of anyone standing the roof falling over the edge.

Parapet roof diagram

33. Saltbox Roof Design

While not popular, the saltbox roof is great for creating vaulted ceilings in part of a home and a corresponding loft overlooking the vaulted ceiling rooms.

Saltbox roof diagram

34. Shed or Sloped Roof Roof Design

The shed roof is a very simple roof. It’s essentially a flat roof that’s sloped.

It allows for vaulted ceilings or an upper floor for part of the home, depending on the slope and design of the home.

Additionally, the clipped ends provide more headroom in the loft than a traditional hip roof.

Shed or sloped roof diagram

35. Shed Roof or Skillion Roof Design

A skillion roof has a single flat surface pitched at a steep angle to allow water runoff. 

Also known as a “shed roof”, skillion roofs are extremely easy and cheap to construct as they are made of simply one piece of roofing.

Shed roof or skillion diagram

36. Skillion and Lean-To Roof Design

A lean-to roof, similar to a skillion roof, is composed of one angled pitch.

The roof is supported at one end by a wall raised higher than the other, enabling the roof to be pitched at a steeper angle to allow runoff in heavy rain.

Skillion roof and lean-to diagram

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do Roofs Last? How Long Do These Roof Types Last?

    • Shingle roofs last between 15 and 30 years. Weather conditions, the workmanship, and the materials used in the shingles can affect that time span, especially in hot and humid areas. Wood shingles are usually cedar and last 30 years, but you have to maintain them every year.

    • Metal roofs usually stretch to aluminum and copper, but some can afford steel. The health of the roof depends on the thickness of the metal: the thinner sheets of metal have higher numbers while the thicker sheets of metal have lower numbers. The lower the number, the better the roof.

    • Tile roofs are generally red clay, but they come in all colors and last upwards of 50 years. Tiles are heavy and require solid underlayment, so replacing a shingle roof with tile will take some extra work.

    • Slate roofs are made of stone, so it’s no wonder roofs last from 50 years to a lifetime. They resist all sorts of tantrums Mother Nature can throw, and replacing a tile isn’t difficult.

    • Thatched roofs have evolved into quite a thing nowadays. They are made fire-resistant, they’re great insulation, and they let a structure breathe. If the thatch roof is maintained regularly and properly, the thatch roof can last from 15 to 40 years.

    • Rubber roofs last from 40 to 50 years with regular and proper maintenance. It’s lightweight and used in sheets that prevent leaks. Rubber roofs are only used on commercial structures.

How Are Roofs Built?

Roofs have three main components: the ridge board, the rafters, and the ceiling joists. The ridge board is the horizontal wood piece going the length of the roof.

The rafters attach to this and go down to the outside walls of the structure. The ceiling joists act as further support for the rafters, just from the bottom instead of the top.

How Are Roofs Measured?

Roofs are measured by multiplying the length times the width of the surface (including dormers) to get the square footage of the roof. Add the square footage of each area of the surface.

Can You Do Roofing In The Winter? Can You Do Roofing In The Rain?

Roofers work in all weather conditions in all seasons. They must, because if they don’t, your family will suffer inside the house. In winter, the danger is slipping on the icy roof and falling.

Additionally, working in layers of clothing and gloves isn’t easy, thus it takes longer. In the rain, roofers also have the slip-and-fall thing, but the rain actually helps roofers. It shows them where the moisture is pooling and causing leaks and mold or if the water is draining properly.

Does Roofing Require A Permit?

Permits are necessary when the area to be repaired exceeds 500 feet. A permit is required when replacing an entire roof. Double-check with your local building offices.

Do Roofers Need To Come Inside?

Yes. Water damage originating from a roof can show up in different rooms in a house. Thus, roof professionals need to check the roof from the inside of the house to track leaks and water damage. Once this is completed, the roofers will have no reason to come back inside.

Can You Paint Roofs? Can You Paint Metal Roofs?

Absolutely. Paint protects the shingles and reflects sunlight (if you paint it white or another light color.) Painting a metal roof does the same job.

You must be prepared with the proper primer, paint, and sealant to prevent moisture from being trapped beneath the paint. Tiles already come primed, painted, and sealed, so it’s not a good idea to paint tiles.

What Are Green Roofs? How Do Green Roofs Help The Environment?

A green roof consists of a waterproof medium on a flat or just barely sloping roof. Vegetation is planted to soak up stormwater, block the heat from affecting the house, and helping to control the temperature on the roof.

The environment benefits from fewer greenhouse gas emissions, decreased air pollution, decreased energy use through a cooler roof, as well as better stormwater runoff management and quality of the groundwater.

Are Metal Roofs Noisy?

That’s actually a myth. The truth is that a roof needs layers of underlayment, insulation, and a roof deck before the material is applied to the roof. There would have to be some pretty heavy or loud causes to make you hear it through a metal roof.

Most people love to hear the rain pattering on a metal roof because it’s soothing. Go ahead and enjoy it because a metal roof is just as quiet as any other roofing material.

Do Metal Roofs Affect Cell Phone Reception?

No. This is another myth that can be busted by recognizing that you’ve been in countless stores or offices with metal roofs. What disrupts cell service isn’t the roof, but towers not being strong enough, bad weather, or your geographical location. It isn’t your metal roof.

How Do Flat Roofs Drain?

First of all, a flat roof is never absolutely flat. Wood battens are installed at intervals to allow for a slight slope (less than an inch.) The water then flows into gutters that take the water to a downspout and away from the foundation.

Larger structures like apartment buildings and malls have a drain at the edge of the roof. Pipes carry the water to the downspouts and safely away from the building.

What Causes Moss To Grow On Roofs? Does Baking Soda Kill Moss On Roofs?

Moss, algae, and lichens look the same to homeowners looking up from the ground, but they’re actually different kinds of growth.

They form from deep shading over the roof and from water and debris on the roof. Moss damages the roof shingles and must be removed as soon as possible. Homeowners not wishing to use chemicals on their roofs can use baking soda to remove the moss.

Mix one pound of baking soda with one gallon of water. Pour this mixture into a spray bottle and spray the moss. Give it two to three weeks to work and spray some more if necessary.

Do Black Roofs Make Houses Hotter?

Yes. Black roofing material absorbs heat, making the attic and top floor of a house quite warm. Asphalt shingles are the worst for this due to the granules on the shingles only reflecting back around 30 percent of the light. The rest is absorbed no matter the color of the shingles.