Types of Building RoofsHaving a "roof over your head" is an idiomatic expression that means a place to live in. In architecture, having a "roof" means a covering on the uppermost part of a structure. The roof, no matter what kind material or style it is, protects the insides of a structure from the outside elements. No matter how nice your wall treatments are, if your structure does not have a roof, then what good is your building?
The design of the roof is dependent on its usage and the region or country in which to build it. A roof may be designed primarily as protection against rain, sunlight, snow and wind. Other roofs may be designed to keep out the rain but admits sunlight.
Several factors come in play when choosing the right roofing design for your structure. A residential building in the tropics is designed with steep roof pitch and wide eaves to keep out the rain. In the dessert, flat cement roofing is ideal because of the hot sun. However, with the different roofing materials available in the market today, you can just about adapt to any roof style and pick any material that would suit your location's climate. The roof is the defining feature of a house so its design is very important.
You can differentiate the types of roofing according to style and material and pitch.
Types of Roofing according to Style
There are several types and subtypes of roofing. Here are some of the most common styles of roofing used in structures.
- Simply put it's the triangular shaped roof put squarely and without much fuss on top of a square or rectangular building. A gabled roof has two equal surfaces that has the same size and pitched at the same angle back to back to form a ridge at the top. This design is simple and cheap to construct. Variants are:
- Side gable roof - very economical as there's only one side
- Front gable roof - used in house facade
- Cross gable roof -two gabled roofs put at right angles
- Dutch gable roof - a hybrid type of gable and hip roof
A-frame -it is a roof with no perpendicular walls to support the roof. This roof is commonly used in vacation cottages.
Shed - This is a basically a half gable used mostly for porches. This streamlined design is often used for modern homes.
Hipped roof- The roof slopes down on all four sides to eaves. Hipped roofing may take the shape of a perfect pyramid or it may have a ridge or several ridges in accordance with the shape of the house. This type of roofing is best for hurricane-prone areas. Some variants are:
- Simple hip roof
- Pyramid hip roof
- Cross hipped roof
- Dutch gable
Saltbox roof - The style is named after the boxes used during the American Colonial times to store salt. The form is a lopsided triangle. Today this style can also be found in split level homes.
Mansard - This style is flat on top but the roof slopes down vertically on all four sides. The mansard roof was popular in 17th-century France as the design created extra space in the attic.
Gambrel - This roof is styled like a gable with a slight bend on each side. This roofing is mostly used in barns. This was extremely popular during the Dutch Colonial times.
Everyone wants a roof that would last long but would not cost a lot. It is important to note that each locality requires a different roofing material for best results. In the tropics there are still some homes that use banana leaves, bamboo or nipa leaves as roofing. This type of roofing material is commonly known as thatched roofing. The benefit of this material is it's literally "cool" as the material deflects heat. Here are some of the more common roofing materials used in structures today.
- Clay tile roofing - This type of roofing is used in homes with Italian, Mediterranean or Spanish design. There are different brands and makes of clay tile roofing some of which are glazed or tri-coloured. This material is good to use as it's resistant to insects, mould and decay. It is fireproof and would definitely last a long time. Note that this is quite expensive to install.
- Slate roofing - This is very durable as it is also resistant to outside influences. You get your money's worth with this material as it's meant to last for a very long time.
- Wooden shingles - This material is usually made of red cedar. As cedar is resistant to decay and rot, this roofing material is also durable. Shingles could either be hand sawn or tapered. There are three categories from 1 to 3 with #1 as the top choice.
- Metal roofing - This type of material comes in different forms and makes. There is the corrugated galvanized iron that comes in 8, 10 and 12 feet in length. There is also the pre-painted long span that is called ribbed roofing. It used to be the zinc and copper were the more popular metal sheeting used but they are now quite expensive that galvanized or Galvalume Steel roofing are now used. Of all the roofing materials in the market today, this is the cheapest. Its life span is a short 3-5 years.
Choosing Roofing Material
When choosing the type of roofing material for your houses, consider all aspects. If you are planning on building a beach house, don't choose metal sheets for your roofing. Salt water and air are corrosive and your metal sheet would have to be changed or repaired on a fairly regular basis. If you are building a house where there is plenty of rain and sun, go for clay tiles. The clay tiles will buff the sound of the rain during the rainy season and will deflect the heat of the sun during the hot summer months. If you are building your home where there is rain, snow and sun, better choose the indestructible slate roofing.