Here at JDT Construction, we’re always talking about how important your roof is. We’re sure you’ve heard this from other contractors too – you better have, if they’re worth anything – your roof is probably one of the most critical components of your house. Yes, your foundation, your siding, other trappings absolutely matter a great deal too, but your roof really is among the most critical.

See, the thing with your roof is, it gets the fullest brunt of most of the environmental hostility against which your house must stand. It must stand up against endless UV bombardment from the sun, which are always trying to heat your house and ruin said shingles or other materials you’ve chosen.

They withstand harsh climates, keeping your cool air conditioning and toasty heat indoors, because otherwise, your energy bills will skyrocket. They have to thwart pests, which are something that are forever looking for a way in. Pests are nasty, and sometimes, even very dangerous. Rodents, raccoons, possums, some stinging insects, some spiders – these can all be not just disgusting but also hazardous.
Water damage, however, is the worst one. The effects of water damage are far-reaching, causing your plaster to rot, your carpet to decay, and your structure to warp and begin to give in. Foul molds will begin to grow, all of which smell terrible and look awful. Some of them, though, are entirely deadly, especially to small children, the elderly, the infirm and pets.

Water damage can get your home condemned if it gets out of hand, as runaway water damage like this makes a space utterly unfit for human habitation. Of course, the state of your roof also impacts your home’s resale value, your curb appeal and your insurance costs. So, you don’t want your roof to come apart, and you know JDT Construction is here to help prevent that.

But, did you know you’re not done choosing things for your roof when you decide tear-away or roof-over, and what type of material? Yes, this is a decision that just never stops asking you for information. Your style of roof matters. There are a great many of them, despite you probably thinking “flat and pitched are it”. Today, we’re going to take a very quick look at some of the most common roof styles, and what they have working for them and against them.

Flat Roof

These are most common with commercial locations. Flat roofs are heavily employed where other roof types would be costly or unwieldy, as well as in climates with far less precipitation.

Pros

  • These are very easy to install and maintain.
  • These are easy to walk on, to service other components.

Cons

  • Precipitation, ice, and debris can still build up.

Gambrel

Gambrel roofs have two different-angle slopes which produce that stereotypical “barn” shape. This allows for a much stronger structure due to the arch.

Pros

  • More attic space due to the gentle upper slope.
  • Less expensive to maintain.

Cons

  • There’s a volume of space to climate control.
  • The other slope can be dicey to work on.
  • Materials are somewhat limited.

Bonnet

You’ve seen this in many buildings at some point, and it is a very historic design approach seen in many cultures. A higher A-like slope sits in the center, with the remaining perimeter being more lightly-sloped.

Pros

  • More space at the top.
  • Plenty of gentler slope for service tasks.
  • Efficient drainage.

Cons

  • These aren’t seen very often for residential designs (an exception being rural Australia), so it’s often forgotten as a residential style.

Mansard

When you think old two or three-story buildings in France, you picture these roofs, which are often called “French roofs”.

Pros

  • The boxing and gentle slope adds an extra livable space up top.

Cons

  • Their boxy shape encourages snow and ice build up.
  • They convey a very specific tone, and it’s not for everyone.

Butterfly

This is something you’ve also seen, but almost never on a residential structure. Butterfly roofs are a V shape, which directs precipitation and debris to a center for directed removal and disposal. This is associated with “modernist” architecture.

Pros

  • Drainage is very directed.
  • It brings in more light if implemented properly.

Cons

  • These are rarely seen in residential settings, making them less likely of a choice.
  • Their “modernist” designs may be deemed inappropriate for some neighborhoods.

Hip

Hip roofs are your classic sloped roof, but often done in segments that join together, creating valleys where they join.

Pros

  • Given the lack of flat surfaces, nothing can really stand nor build up on this sort of roof.
  • Adds lots of living space.
  • Very durable against wind storms. You see a lot of these in places like Florida.

Cons

  • This is expensive to implement.
  • They can get weak near the edges if not maintained.

Gable

This is the most typical sloped roof you see in the world. The triangle shape of these is simple and refined.

Pros

  • Being so commonplace, every contractor knows how to install, repair and maintain these well.
  • Most materials work for this style.
  • Their slope makes it hard for snow, water and ice to build up.

Cons

  •  They don’t stand up well to strong winds.
  • The slope is dicey to walk on.

Dutch Gable

Basically mixing the “best of both worlds” of gables and hips, this is a series of slopes usually joining to a central core.

Pros

  • This brings in the durability against winds and precipitation, while also bringing in the durability against winds.
  • Makes for some interesting architecture.

Cons

  • You get these weak points that don’t like the winds nor water building up.

Pyramid

Yes, just like the ones in Giza, this is a four-sided shape that ends in a point. You don’t see a lot of this in use outside “artsy” installations.

Pros

  • Egypt built this shape for a reason, and they remain for a reason – it’s tremendously durable.
  • Nothing builds up on this.

Cons

  • Pyramids aren’t easy to design – behold the many failed pyramid projects of truly ancient Egypt which predate the ones at Giza.

Saltbox

Saltbox is a very old design, where the slopes are even and thus meet symmetrically at the top. The result of this, though, is one side is shorter than the other.

Pros

  • Stands up to wind and a lot of inclement weather.
  • Makes for a lot of living space.

Cons

  • Saltbox styles all around aren’t popular in most circles, and often seem like a “bleak” design.
  • They have kind of weird floor plans.

Skillion

This is another one you only see in modernist designs. Frank Lloyd Wright’s houses often integrated these single-angle gradual pitches. Basically flat roofs at an angle.

Pros

  • They drain off nicely.
  • They’re easy to maintain.

Cons

  • They have a distinct look, like butterfly, that doesn’t always fit in.

Green Roof

This is something you’ve seen images of from Scandinavia, some parts of remote Canada, Iceland and Greenland – grass growing on a roof.

Pros

  • Extra insulation.
  • Resistant to weather.

Cons

  • Not practical in many parts of the US.
  • It looks odd.
  • It’s heavy.
  • It attracts nature.

These are just some of the more common roof styles, and depending on your tastes, your area, and your climate, you can see how different ones excel for different purposes. There are others, and there’s more to consider, so fill out our contact form today!