Dear James: We have decided on the floor plan for our new house, but now must select a roof style. How do we go about determining what style of roof is best? — Steve F.
Dear Steve: There really is not one “best” roof design. The quality of the roof depends on the quality of the materials used and the workmanship of the roofers. Metal roofs are becoming much more popular on homes and many of them will literally last a lifetime. They are also often made from recycled materials so they are good for the environment.
Different areas of the country seem to have different preferences in the roof style used. If you want your home to fit in with others in your area, drive around your neighborhood and take a count of the different styles of roofs you find. This will also help you if you like to be a bit unique and want something different than most others.
If you are using an architect to design your home, ask for his/her opinion on what roof style would look best for the style of home you are building. A high roof does offer the future possibility of converting the attic into an additional room. Your personal family situation will determine if this is a valuable option or not.
The two primary types of roof styles are gabled and hipped with many variation and combinations of the two. A gabled roof is the typical pitched roof with the peak ridge of the roof along the center of the shorter side of the house. A cross-gabled roof is used on an L-shaped house which results in a sloped transition between the two roof planes.
The pitch (slope) of a gabled roof impacts its appearance and its cost. A highly pitched is very attractive, but it required more lumber to build the roof and more roof area to cover. Shingles, tile, metal, etc. roofing is usually priced based on the square footage area to be covered.
A roof with a pitch of 30 degrees or less is considered to be a low slope. A pitch of 30 to 45 degrees is more common and more than 45 degrees is considered steep. If you live in an area with heavy snow loads during the winter, a steeply pitched is stronger and may be required by code.
A variation on a gabled roof is a saltbox style that is common in the Northeast. The peak ridge of the roof is offset to one side, usually the front creating a taller vertical house front than the back.
Another variation is a gambrel roof, sometimes called a barn style roof, which has two different pitch angles. The pitch on each side of the peak ridge is low. Midway along the roof, the pitch becomes more steep. This provides more attic headroom should you plan to use it for storage or for a future extra bedroom.
A hipped roof is similar to a gabled roof except the sides are also sloped making the peak ridge length shorter. This is very attractive, but it creates more roofing area than a gabled roof for the same square footage home. A mansard roof is a variation, similar to a gambrel, of a hipped roof with two sloped angles on each surface. How to select the roof style for a new home | Siouxland Homes | siouxcityjournal.com