Common Roof Types

The design of a roof for a residential building is influenced by several factors, including climate, architectural style, building codes, structural considerations, and aesthetic preferences. Different roof types offer various advantages and characteristics, allowing homeowners and designers to choose the most suitable option for their specific needs. Here are a few common roof types along with their reasoning and characteristics:

Gable Roof: A gable roof is one of the most common and recognizable roof types. It consists of two sloping sides that meet at a ridge, forming a triangular shape at each end (gable). Gable roofs are popular due to their simplicity, cost-effectiveness, and ability to shed water and snow efficiently. They provide good ventilation and can accommodate attic space for storage or living purposes. However, in regions with high winds or hurricanes, gable roofs may be susceptible to uplift and damage if not properly braced or anchored.

Hip Roof: A hip roof slopes upward from all four sides, with each side having a gentle slope. The slopes meet at the top to form a ridge. Hip roofs offer excellent stability and resistance to high winds, making them suitable for areas prone to hurricanes or strong storms. They also provide additional attic space and can accommodate dormers or other architectural features. Hip roofs are commonly found on a variety of architectural styles, including traditional and contemporary homes.

Mansard Roof: A mansard roof has two slopes on each side, with the lower slope being steeper than the upper slope. The lower slope may contain windows, providing additional living space or attic space known as a "garret." Mansard roofs are popular for their architectural elegance and versatility. They allow for maximum use of space and can create visually appealing designs with varying roof profiles. Mansard roofs are often associated with French architectural styles and historic buildings.

Gambrel Roof: Similar to a mansard roof, a gambrel roof has two slopes on each side. However, the lower slope is steeper than the upper slope, resulting in a distinctive barn-like appearance. Gambrel roofs offer a balance of interior space and exterior aesthetics. They provide ample headroom on the upper floor or attic while allowing for efficient water drainage and snow shedding. Gambrel roofs are commonly used in residential architecture, especially for colonial and Dutch-inspired designs.

Flat Roof: While not as common in residential construction as in commercial buildings, flat roofs are still used in some residential designs, especially in modern and minimalist architecture. Flat roofs offer simplicity, affordability, and the opportunity for rooftop gardens, solar panels, or outdoor living spaces. However, proper drainage is crucial for flat roofs to prevent water pooling and leakage. Flat roofs may require additional maintenance compared to sloped roofs due to the risk of water infiltration.

These are just a few examples of the diverse range of roof types found in residential architecture. Each roof type offers unique characteristics, advantages, and considerations, allowing homeowners and designers to choose the best option based on their functional and aesthetic preferences, as well as the specific requirements of the site and climate.

Roof Framing

Rafter Roof Framing

Description: In rafter roof framing, individual sloped beams called rafters are installed from the ridge (the highest point of the roof) to the eaves (the edges of the roof). Rafters are typically spaced at regular intervals and support the roof sheathing and any additional roofing materials.

Construction: Rafters are usually cut on-site from dimensional lumber, such as 2x8s or 2x10s, and installed by carpenters. They are often joined at the ridge using a ridge board or ridge beam and at the eaves using horizontal members called collar ties or ceiling joists.


Applications: Rafter roof framing is commonly used in residential construction, especially for custom homes and buildings with unique roof designs or architectural features.

Truss Roof Framing

Description: Trusses are prefabricated structural frameworks composed of interconnected members, such as beams, chords, and webs, designed to span the entire width of the building and support the roof load. Trusses come in various configurations, including king post, queen post, and attic trusses.

Construction: Trusses are typically manufactured off-site by specialized truss manufacturers according to engineered designs and specifications. They are delivered to the construction site as pre-assembled units and lifted into place using cranes or other equipment. Trusses are connected to the building's walls and secured using metal plates or fasteners.


Applications: Truss roof framing is widely used in residential, commercial, and industrial construction, particularly for buildings with standard roof configurations, such as rectangular or gable roofs, where efficiency and cost-effectiveness are priorities.

The selection of rafter or truss roof framing methods involves careful consideration of various factors, including design requirements, budget, timeline, and structural considerations. By weighing these factors and consulting with architects, engineers, and contractors, homeowners and builders can make informed decisions to choose the most suitable framing method for their specific project needs.