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There are many types of roofs that exist in the world. A roof in its simplest form is a solid plane that caps a structure and is typically supported by either walls or columns.

A roof in general is meant to shelter a buildings inhabitants and contents from the natural elements. A roof can be used to shed water or snow away from a building and can be used to shelter the interior from the warm sun.

In this blog, we will discuss a few different roofs and some general pros and cons of each.


The simplest type of roof. The is a flat, horizontal plane which spans between walls.

Pro: Very simple structural system.

Cons: More difficult to shed water or snow. In a snowy climate, snow is meant to remain on a flat roof. Typically, a flat roofs structure needs to be increased to support the loads of snow.

Keep in mind, a flat roof is never completely flat. A flat roof should have a small amount of slope to shed water.


A parapet roof is essentially a flat roof with small walls extending above the finish surface of the roof plane. This type of roof is more common for commercial applications where mechanical equipment, such as air conditioning units, need to be hidden.

The pros and cons are very similar to the flat roof above.


A shed roof, also called a single pitch roof, is one of the simplest forms of roofs. Characterized by a single plane, sloping in one direction. Shed roofs can have a pitch as shallow as 1/2":12" and can be fairly steep.

Pros: A shed roof has a very simple structure. Since the roof is sloped, the roof plane can be thinner than a flat roof.

A shed roof can be designed to not allow snow to shed. Or in the instance where snow does shed, it only drops to one side. A shed roof can be strategically designed to shed snow to a desired side or location of a structure.

Views can be more expansive on the tall side of shed roof.

Cons: No space for an attic. Routing of mechanical, electrical and plumbing can be more challenging.


A gable roof is characterized by two sloping planes which meet at an apex. Essentially a triangle shape. Potentially one of the most common roof types in the US.

Pros: When assembled as a truss system, smaller (less expensive) structural components can be used on a gable roof.

If the roof pitch is steep enough, an attic space can be created for storage. Additionally, this also allows for more depth which permits the use of thicker insulation.

Cons: The gable typically sheds snow in two directions. causing snow build up on two. sides of a structure.

When multiple gable roofs intersect perpendicularly, they create valleys. A valley can cause unwanted snow build up as snow shedding from opposing roofs runs into each other.


A hip roof is essentially a gable roof that slopes from all four sides.

The pros and cons are similar to a gable however, a hip roofs structure can be more complicated.


A barrel vault roof is an arch shape that has been extruded or elongated.

While this is a very strong form, it is less commonly used in residential applications.

The barrel vault roof structure can be more complicated to assemble as curves tend to add complexity.


Again, less commonly used in residential applications. This is essentially an arch that is rotated on its z-axis. This might be seen in a grain silo application.

These are just a few examples of standard roof types for residential applications. Let us know your favorite in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

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