The 7 Main Roof Types—and What You Need to Know About Them

Whether it’s flat, gabled, butterfly, shed, gambrel, mansard, or hipped, the shape of a roof can have serious design and performance implications on a building.

What’s the one thing that all roofs have in common? Regardless of shape or size, all roofs—even the ones that look flat—need to be sloped to some extent to provide for rain and melted snow runoff. This requirement means that designers, builders, and architects over centuries have developed many different roof shapes tailored to local climate and spatial needs—from subtle and simple to dramatic and complex—but all having that one characteristic in common. Let’s take a look at some of the most common traditional and modern roof shapes.

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