Roof Types and Types of Roof Construction

There are many types of roofs available when creating a property. Maybe you are in the construction trade, an architect or a DIYer looking to build a suitable roof for a shed or garage. Well we are at hand to go through the different types of roofs construction around and what is suitable for your project.

Types of Roofs

Roof types can be interpreted in different ways so we have split into three sections so we cover all the different similarities and meanings that you may interpret types as. We have split it into styles, materials and pitch below to explain what the different types of roofing construction are.

Styles of Roof

A-Frame | Butterfly | Flat Roof | Folded Plate | Gable | Gambrel | Hip | Mansard | M-Shaped | Parapet | Pyramid | Saltbox | Shed | Winged Gable

A-frame Roof:
This type of roof is very popular for churches, cottages, homes, and other structures. The roof acts as both the roof and the walls for a structure.

Butterfly Roof:
The butterfly roof is not a roof style that is widely used. The style provides plenty of light and ventilation as it provides options to have large windows due to the high perimeter windows. It can be effective when it comes to water drainage as it can centralise the water flow however, the cost to install and repair can be expensive due to the complexity in installing.
When done right this roof structure can add a modern look and feel to the property making it a good choice to add a new dimension to a building for architects.

Butterfly Roof

Flat Roof:
Flat roofs are common especially with commercial buildings. Flat roofs are definitely the most simple roof to build because they have little to no pitch. The most common types of roofing systems used with flat roofs are rubber roofing systems.

Flat Roof

Folded Plate Roof:
The folded plate roof has limited use in single family homes. It looks like a series of small gable roofs placed side by side of each other.

Gable Roof:
Gable roofs are the kind young children typically draw. They have two sloping sides that come together at a ridge, creating end walls with a triangular extension, called a gable, at the top. The house shown here has two gable roofs and two dormers, each with gable roofs of their own. The slant, or pitch, of the gables varies, an inconsistency that many builders try to avoid.

It is one of the most common roof structures around and one of the least expensive to build. It allows water to drain off easily making it a desirable structure for environments with heavy down pour. However, damage may occur in places that do have heavy wind.

Gable Roof

Gambrel Roof:
Gambrel roofs are a type of gabled roof. Commonly associated with Dutch building traditions and barns, they break each sloping roof section into two parts—one close to the ridge that is relatively flat and one closer to the eaves that drops down steeply. This design makes maximum use of space under the roof.

The best way to describe a gambrel roof is by saying barn roof. The gambrel style roof is most commonly used on barns. However, it is also used in residential construction. This type of roof has the benefit of providing a good amount of space in the attic. In fact, it provides so much extra space that it is often turned into bedrooms or other living areas.

Gabrel Roof

Hip Roof:
Hip roofs are a common residential style roofs. This type of roof is more difficult to construct when compared to flat roofs and gable roofs because they have a more complicated truss and rafter structure. A hip roof has four sloping sides with zero vertical roof lines/walls. Hip roofs can be both square and rectangular but most commonly seen with two sides that are longer than the other two sides.

Due to its pyramid structure the hip roof if very stable and incredibly strong providing very little need for extra support.

Hip Roof

Mansard Roof:
The mansard roof is a french design and is more difficult to construct than the hip or gable roof.

A Mansard roof is similar to a Gambrel roof in that each side of the roof has multiple gradients, however Gambrel roofs have just 2 sides while a Mansard roof has 4. Typically, dormer windows are installed on the lower, steeper slopes of the Mansard roof to aid the roof’s architecture and open up the space to become habitable.

Mansard Roof

M-Shaped Roof / Double Pitched Roof:
Double-pitched roof is a traditional, most often used roof. It is the most popular roof type. Generally, we can describe the double pitched roof as a triangle that consists of two surfaces which are connected with ridge on the top.

Parapet Roof:
A parapet is a barrier which is an extension of the wall at the edge of a roof, terrace, balcony, walkway or other structure. Where extending above a roof, a parapet may simply be the portion of an exterior wall that continues above the line of the roof surface, or may be a continuation of a vertical feature beneath the roof such as a fire wall or party wall. Parapets were originally used to defend buildings from military attack, but today they are primarily used as guard rails and to prevent the spread of fires.

Pyramid Hip Roof:
The dutch hip roof is basically a hip roof with a small gable at either end. The gables can be used as ventilation. Pyramid Hip Roofs are commonly used for smaller buildings such as bungalows, cabins and garages and are an ideal roof structure for places where the weather is a little wet.

Pyramid Hip Roof

Saltbox Roof:
saltbox house is a traditional New England style of house with a long, pitched roof that slopes down to the back, generally a wooden frame house. A saltbox has just one story in the back and two stories in the front. The flat front and central chimney are recognisable features, but the asymmetry of the unequal sides and the long, low rear roof line are the most distinctive features of a saltbox, which takes its name from its resemblance to a wooden lidded box in which salt was once kept.

It is very similar to a gable roof however, the main differentiating factor is that the salt box is asymmetry while the gable design has symmetrical slopes on either side. 

There are many pros to a saltbox such as; it’s drainage capabilities, ease of access due to its low edges, eye catching design and ease of adding roof windows. 

It does come with some cons however, starting with its complexity to build and the limited space it can bring to the attic. Not to mention the sloping ceilings to the rooms. 

If you are looking to create more living space in the property, maybe this isn’t the ideal roof to use. 

Saltbox Roof

Shed Roof:
A shed roof is basically a flat roof but has more pitch. It is frequently used for additions on homes or other roof styles.

Shed Roof

Winged Gable Roof:
The winged gable roof varies slightly from the tradition gable roof. It varies by extended outwards from the peak of the roof.

Roof Pitch

The pitch or slope of a roof is a critical deciding factor in many of the roofing decisions. Depending on the pitch/slope of a roof, certain materials can or cannot be used. Pitch not only helps determine what type of materials can or cannot be used but it also plays a major role in attic space, drainage options, weather durability, design, and difficulty of construction and maintenance.

The slope of a roof is split up into three categories.

1. Flat Roof: (Anything under a 2:12 pitch)

2. Low Slope: (A 4:12 pitch to a 2:12 pitch)

3. Steep Slope: (A 4:12 pitch to a 21:12 pitch)

Roof Material

Asphalt Shingles:

Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used steep slope/residential roofing material used on roofs in the United States. Asphalt shingles vary in quality and are produced by multiple manufacturers.

Wood Shake:

The shake shingle is the inspiration for the modern day asphalt shingles. Similar to the asphalt shingle, the wood shake overlaps each other making the roof or siding weather proof. A down side to shake is that they often need more maintenance than newer asphalt or fiberglass shingles. An upside to shake the unique rustic look they give to a structure.

Slate Shingles:

These are shingles made out of rock. Slate shingles are created out of a sedimentary rock. This rock can be split into thin sheets that are ideal for roofing shingles.


Metal is a very common material used for roofs. There are many different types of metal roofing systems available. The types of metal used with available systems varies from zinc to steel, copper, aluminium, and tin.


Tile is one of the more expensive materials used for roofs. Although the traditional clay tile is probably the most well known tile material it is not the only one. Other materials that are used to create tile products are metal, concrete, slate, and various synthetic compositions.

Membrane Roofing Material:

There are many different types of products included in this category for roofing and in fact that number continues to grow with the technological advancements and findings. Membrane roofing products are used on flat roofs. Some of the various brands or variations of rubber roofs are modified bitumen, thermoplastic membrane, EPDM, single ply, TPO, CPA, CPE, NBP, and others.