30 July 2023
15 min read
As you explore various buildings across Australia, you'll come across a diverse selection of roof types, each with its own distinct benefits. For example, the classic gable roof is widely recognized for its timeless aesthetics and efficient water drainage. Conversely, the modern curved roof is hailed for its weather-resistant capabilities and stylish, contemporary appeal. To highlight this diversity, we've handpicked nine different roof styles to give you a comprehensive view of the wide range of options available.
A gable roof is a universally popular roof design defined by two slopes that intersect at a central ridge, forming a peak. This intersection creates a triangular wall from the roof-base to the ridge on the shorter sides, which is known as the gable end. Different variations of the gable roof such as side, crossed, and front gabled roofs exist, each indicating the positioning of the gable.
As its name implies, a flat roof appears to be completely flat but has a slight pitch to allow for water drainage and prevent water pooling. Flat roofs are common on commercial buildings, although they're also found on residential houses, particularly in arid climates. Flat roofs often have a protective coating to prevent water infiltration and are sometimes outfitted with a railing due to the accessibility of the flat surface.
A skillion roof, also known as a shed roof or a lean-to roof, is a single, sloping roof surface, often not attached to another roof surface. Skillion roofs are different from standard pitched roofs in that they only have one flat surface, pitched at a steep angle to allow water runoff. They're typically low-cost and easy to construct, with no complicated truss systems. Skillion roofs are commonly used for home additions, sheds, and porches.
A curved roof incorporates a curved design in its structure rather than traditional flat or sloped surfaces. These roofs can have a variety of forms, from gentle, wide curves to narrow arches, and they can cover the entire building or just a portion. Often used in contemporary architecture, a curved roof can serve as a standout design feature.
The butterfly roof is a distinctive modernist style, named for its resemblance to the shape of a butterfly's wings in flight. It consists of two roof surfaces that slope down from opposite directions, meeting in the middle to create a 'valley'. This central valley is often lower than the height of the surrounding walls, resulting in an inverted gable.
A gambrel, or barn roof, features two symmetrical slopes on each of its four sides. The lower slope of each side is steeper and more vertical than the upper slope. This design maximises the usable space under the roof, hence its common usage in barns and farmhouses.
A mansard roof, also known as a French roof, is a four-sided structure with a double slope on each side, forming a low-pitched square or rectangular crown. The lower slope of the roof is much steeper than the upper slope. This design often incorporates dormer windows in the lower slope, allowing for natural light to enter the space underneath.
A bonnet roof, also known as a kicked-eaves roof, is a variant of the hip roof style. It features a double slope on all sides, with the lower slope being less steep than the upper one. The lower slope often extends out to form an eave, creating a protective overhang around the building.
A hipped roof is a type of roof where all sides slope downwards to the walls, typically with a gentle slope. The four sloped sides of equal length converge at a single ridge at the top, forming a fully enclosed roof that has no gables or vertical sides. This design makes the roof more symmetrical, stable, and aerodynamic.
As you can see there are plenty of different roof types to get inspired by. While not every type will be suitable for every type of home, this guide should have given you a solid understanding about the various types available and some of the advantages and disadvantages of each.
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