7 Most Common Roof Types Compared (Pros & Cons)

Roof types can vary greatly depending on region and individual tastes. But you can expect to see a few popular styles no matter where you are. Varying styles offer different pros and cons, so it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the available styles and determine which one will work best for your house.

Whether you need a complete installation or just want to make an informed decision in the future, read more below to learn what the most common American roof types can do for your home.

1. Gable Roofs

A brick home with a gable roof. A gable roof is one of the types of roofing.

Gable coverings come in as the most popular style with their classic triangle-shaped design. This simple style is on display in most communities, as it offers many benefits without being challenging to install.

Variations include the Dutch gable and clipped gable style. Each offers unique benefits, such as increased attic space and wind resistance, respectively.


• Easy installation saves time and money.

• Easily drains rain and snow, protecting your house from damage.

• Style variations offer more options depending on your tastes and needs.


• Basic gable roofs can blow off due to bad storms.

• Dutch and clipped gable coverings can be more expensive.

2. Gambrel Roofs

A home with a gambrel roof.

This is a four-sided roof style where the bottom slope is steeper than the top slope. This design doesn’t encroach on the upper areas of a building, unlike many other styles.


• A great choice for farm structures.

• Increase room available in upper living spaces or attics.

• Allows for window implementation.


• The angle of the slopes makes it harder to drain rain and snow.

• Susceptible to damage from storms.

3. Mansard Roofs

A warm colored building with a mansard style roof.

This design features four sides, with an additional four-sided design on top of the covering. You can most commonly witness the mansard roof type on French-style and Victorian-era houses.


• A beautiful, unique aesthetic value.

• Allows for dormer window installation.

• Increases space in upper levels.


• One of the most difficult designs to install.

• Not efficient at rain and snow drainage.

4. Flat Roofs

A modern white brick building with a flat roof. A flat roof is one of many roof styles.

Flat roofs actually have a slight slope to them. Despite their common use on larger structures, the rise of modern architecture means this style is becoming more and more popular for smaller residences.


• Home will stand out with unique aesthetic value.

• Affordable due to simple design.

• Allows for upwards expansion.


• Diligent maintenance is a must to prevent damage and leaks.

• Doesn’t drain rain and snow as well as other styles.

5. Shed Roofs

A modern home with a shed style roof

Shed coverings are like flat roofs with a steep slope. Many of the concerns of a flat roof are addressed with the shed roof design—while still retaining the same great affordability.


• Budget-friendly.

• Water slides right off.

• Works well with small homes.


• Only one surface to drain all rain and snow, so a good gutter is needed.

• The slope may negatively impact space in upper rooms.

6. Hip Roofs

A corrugated metal hip style roof.

Four sides of equal length come together at a ridge to form a hip roof. This design has a lot of visible areas and requires more building materials. Hip coverings are one of the few styles that have inherent wind-resistant properties.


• Great at draining rain and snow.

• Resistant against storm-force winds.

• Visibility can increase curb appeal.


• More building materials means higher cost.

• Certain variations can decrease space in attics or upper levels.

7. Saltbox Roofs

A gray home with a salt box style roof. A salt box roof is one of many roof types.

A saltbox design could be described as an asymmetrical gable covering. This style is more commonly seen in New England, but its great drainage capabilities make it an excellent fit for homes all over the country.


• Easy to install.

• Drains rain and snow well.

• Can add a lot of space to the upper areas of the home.


• Despite easy installation, it may be more expensive to implement.

• The uppermost area in your home will have slanted ceiling space.

Know the Roof Type Best Suited for You

A collage of many different roof types.

Different roof types offer unique benefits to your home, and there’s a perfect style out there for everyone. Whether a traditional gable covering suits your tastes the best, or you’d like to go more modern with a flat roof, understanding your style options opens up a world of construction possibilities.