Gable Roofs: What Are They?

May 10, 2018 , In: Exterior Improvements, Outdoors , With: No Comments
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Roof types aren’t something many of us think about day-to-day. But when you’re in the process of designing or building a new house or roof, it can be all you think about.

While the most popular roof types in the U.S. are hip and gable, architects and builders have a lot of leeway to provide a creative selection of roof types.

What Is a Gable Roof?

Gable roofs are also known as peaked or pitched roofs, easily denoted by their triangular shape. They are fantastic for getting rid of water and snow, and provide that much-needed space for attic conversions, vaulted ceilings and extra room for ventilation. The simplicity of the gable roof design also means cheaper building costs than more complex options. They also come in various forms, including:

  • Side gable: This is a basic pitched roof, which has two same-sized panels at an angle. The point at which they meet is in the middle of the building, at the ridge.
  • Crossed gable: This is when two gable roofs are connected at the right angle, thereby making the two ridges perpendicular to one another, usually seen in Cape Cod or Tudor-style houses. If you have a house with separate wings, this is a particularly great design. The cross gable architecture can highlight various areas of the home, such as your main doorway.
  • Front gable: This is more often seen with Colonial houses, and is placed at the front of a house at its entrance.
  • Dutch gable: This is a cross between a hop roof and a gable roof. The gable is positioned at the top of the hip for a roomier house and an aesthetically pleasing design.

Gable roofs are very versatile and can be made with nearly every variation of material, such as terracotta, metal, concrete and asphalt. However, they could prove problematic in areas of high wind and those that are prone to hurricanes.

High winds can actually cause roof collapse when substantial supports are absent, and can also force materials to separate from the gable. On the flip side, if the gable roof overhangs too much, the wind can detach the roof from the walls.

gable roof example

The Hip Roof

With a hip roof, all sides are also equal in size and length, but four sides form the ridge where they meet at the top. Hip roofs are more stable, given the four sides add to durability and sturdiness. This makes them great choices for high wind contrary to gable roofs and snowy areas, and they can also offer increased living space. Like gable roofs, hip roofs can be covered in almost every type of material.

However, they are more expensive to build than standard gable roofs. Why? The design is more complex and requires more resources. Furthermore, when dormers are present, the increase of seams makes leaks more likely.

The Flat Roof

Flat roofs are, of course, flat but new materials appearing on the market make them more durable. Some can last up to 25 years.

Built-up roofs, for example, are the more traditional design and are made of hot tar and gravel. This makes them cheap and fire-retardant, but it also makes them very heavy, smelly and messy to install.

Modified bitumen is a single-ply roof that has a mineral-based wear surface. The peel-and-stick application associated with them is user-friendly and reflects heat, cutting energy bills. However, they are not scuff- or tear-resistant.

Rubber membrane flat roofs are also durable and user-friendly. Leaks are easy to patch, and they are resistant to scuffs and other marks; but they also absorb more heat and are vulnerable to punctures.

Gable roofs are popular for a reason, and while other roofs also offer certain benefits unique to them, gables cut a good compromise between cost and functionality.

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Gable Roofs: What Are They?
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Gable Roofs: What Are They?
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Roof types aren’t something many of us think about day-to-day, but when you’re in the process of designing or building a new house or roof, it can be all you think about. Here's the difference between the main types: gable roofs, hip roofs and flat roofs.
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Your Wild Home
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Megan

Editor at Your Wild Home
Hey! I'm Megan. I am a dog-lover and enjoy exploring the outdoors. Your Wild Home covers a lot of topics, including (but not limited to) home improvement, home decor, construction, real estate, and sustainability. I enjoy writing in third-person and I am addicted to chocolate, coffee, and terrible puns. Learn more on my About Me page!
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