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5 Most Popular Types of Roofs and Their Pros and Cons

Four rooftops

If you are updating your current place or, building a new home, then you need to do your homework prior to buying a new roof.

A new roof doesn’t come cheap. You’ll be looking at spending about $20,000. If you are going to invest this much money on one structural component of your house, you want to reap the best Return on Investment (ROI) possible.

Luckily for you, you have a dizzying array of roofing options to choose from. You just have to choose one that perfectly meets your requirements. Jason from Young Management, a property management company from Kansas City, points out there are  some things that you need to consider first:

  • Maintenance

Much like adopting a pet, roof maintenance is a factor that you should consider when choosing the roof type that you want. Ask yourself these questions:

    • Are you willing and able to make small repairs yourself?
    • Do you live in a humid climate where mildew growth could occur?
    • Are the hanging trees in your neighborhood that could potentially cause a buildup of debris in the gutters?


  • Lifespan

“You get what you pay for.” Although clichéd, this adage remains true when it comes to choosing a type of roof. Asphalt shingles are cost-effective. However, they need replacement every 15 years or so. Similarly, a slate tile roof might cost you an arm and a leg, but it has the potential to outlive your kids.

  • Material

Most common materials include metal, tile, wood shake, and shingles. Certain materials have longer lifespans and should affect your option. Ask yourself these questions:

    • Are you okay paying less and replacing the roof every decade or so?
    • Are you willing to spend more for a roof that will last 100 years?


  • Style

Your pick should complement the aesthetic appearance of your home. Common roof styles include flat, skillion, mansard, gambrel, hip and gable.

With that in mind, here are the 5 most popular types of roofs and their pros and cons:

Home with gable roofGable Roof


Famous for their classic triangular shape, gable roofs are one of the most popular roofs available. Open and Box are the two types of gable roofs.

Pros Cons
Its design is simple. This makes it relatively inexpensive and easier to build. Winds can create an uplift underneath if there is too much of an overhang.
Provide more space for the vaulted ceilings or attic. The roofs can collapse if the frames are not properly constructed with adequate supports.
Gable roofs easily shed water and snow  

Hip Roof


Hips roofs are some of the most popular types of roofs in the U.S. because of its futuristic design and incredible durability. Unlike a gable roof, a hip roof has slopes on all four sides.

Pros Cons
Hip roofs can offer extra living space with an addition of a dormer or a crow’s nest. It’s more susceptible to water leaks, especially if it isn’t properly installed.
It is excellent for both snowy and high wind areas. It’s a more complex design that requires more building materials.
It is more stable than gable roofs. Hip roofs are more expensive to build than a gable roof.


Barn and out building

Gambrel Roof


A gambrel roof has two sides, each of which has a shallower slope above a steeper one. These are common to houses in the Northeast and to some extent throughout the country.

Pros Cons
Its design is stylish and uncomplicated. Because of this, they are time and cost saving too. South facing heavy winds and rain can harm the rooftop area.
This can easily be constructed and allow for space for an upper floor. Gambrel roofs demand frequent maintenance. On a time-to-time basis, you’ll need to paint and protect them.
  They are susceptible to damage, especially in inclement weather conditions.

Mansard Roof


A mansard roof has four sloping sides, each of which becomes steeper halfway down. It has been in existence since the sixteenth century. But, it wasn’t until the early seventeenth century that Mansard roofs gained in popularity.

Pros Cons
They provide extra living space when compared to other roof types. This type of roof requires much more maintenance. It collects debris much more rapidly and this makes it vulnerable to damage.
Mansard roofs allow for future additions. Mansard roofs are not ideal in areas that experience heavy rainfall.
  The installation if this type of roof takes more time than other types.


Commercial building with flat roofFlat Roof


As the name suggests, this type of roof is flat. These can be found on buildings of all ages. Any typical mall, school, building, or apartment usually features this type of roof.

Pros Cons
These are energy-efficient, especially in warmer climates. Flat roofs generally need to be replaced every ten years. Other types usually last 20 years or more.
These allow for extra additions. They are unreliable in cold weather.
Flat roofs have lower construction and repair costs.  


These are the 5 most popular roof types and its pros and cons. If you have specific questions, kindly contact a good roofing professional.

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