Different Types of Roof

There are dozens of different roofing styles. Each roofing style has the potential to drastically shake up the look of your property. It is not all about aesthetics, however. Yes, sure, the aesthetics plays a major role, but you also need to weigh up the pros and cons of each roofing style. This will enable you to determine which roof is right for your property.

Gable Roofs

Gable roofs are one of the most popular roofing styles in Manchester. This is, mostly, down to the fact that they are cheap and simple to build.

Gable roofs are characterised by their large triangular shape. Due to the way in which they are constructed, they leave a lot of space at the top of the property. This extra space could be used as a loft or an extra bedroom. Many gable roofs will have an inbuilt window to cater to these extra rooms.

There are several different types of gable roof out there, Side gables are your standard roof with two panels connected through a ridge in the centre. This is what you are most likely to see in Manchester. You also have crossed cables where two different roof sections are connected at a right angle. This is something which may be found on the more expensive properties. Front gable and Dutch gable is not something that you will see that frequently, with most uses limited to the United States.


  • Steep sides will shed water easily. The water will just slide off.
  • Due to being a simple design, they are quick and cheap to build.


  • The high sides of the roof mean that gable roofs do not stand up that well to high winds.

The beauty of a gable roof is that you can cover them in any material that you want (assuming the material is waterproof), although most people will opt for tiles as it will fit in with the aesthetic of the rest of the area.

Hip Roof

Hip roofs have a slope on all four sides. Each slope is equal in length. They come together to form a ridge. While there are several different types of hip roof, the most common will be a simple hip. Two sides will have a triangle shape and the other two will have a polygon shape.

Cross hipped roofs are similar in style to a cross gable. You can think of them as two hipped roofs coming together. They are tougher to maintain due to the creation of a valley between the two roofs. This allows water to pool which can be devastating in areas of high rainfall.


  • Very stable roofs
  • Can add a dormer to create more living space.


  • Complicated design adds to the cost of building hip roofs.
  • If you add a dormer, you are more likely to see water leaks if the roof is not installed properly.

Mansard Roof

This is an incredibly rare roofing style to find in the United Kingdom. You may also find the Mansard Roof referred to as a ‘French Roof’.

There are four sides to a mansard roof. Each of the sides has a double slope, with the lower slope being a bit steeper in angle than the slope above it. The sides may be curved or flat. They are a very aesthetically pleasing roof and can be built in a variety of different styles. Often, you will find that the builder adds a window to them because they do create some additional living space.

Mansard roofs will stand out from the crowd. For this reason, many people will opt for unique material for their property. Just about any material can be used to make the roof. This allows you to get a bit ‘crazy’ in terms of your design. The low slope section of the roof needs to be given special care during construction as the lower angle of the slope will allow water to pool a little easier.


  • Can add a lot of extra living space. Open and closed dormers work wonders here.
  • Give you flexibility. Even if you do not wish to add extra living space now, you can in the future, which does increase the value of the property.


  • If you have a very low-pitched dormer roof, it does need to be incredibly well waterproofed for periods of heavy rain.

Gambrel Roof

Imagine your typical barn. That is exactly what a gambrel roof looks like. In fact, you may often see it referred to as a barn roof. The design is actually similar to a mansard roof. While the mansard roof has four sides, the gambrel roof only has two. There is only one real gambrel roof style here, so you don’t have much of an opportunity to mix it up.


  • Provides extra living space.
  • Very simple to build, mostly because there are only two roof beams this means that it can go up very quickly.
  • Works well on storage buildings due to the extra space that a gambrel roof creates.


  • Not the best design if you are in an area which deals with heavy wind due to the open design.
  • Need to well waterproofed around the ridges or you may be prone to leaks.
  • Needs a lot more maintenance than other roofing types. Should be checked at least once per year. You may also need to check it after periods of heavy snow or rainfall.

Flat Roof

Despite the name, flat roofs are not necessarily going to be completely flat. In fact, having a completely flat roof would be poor design as there would be no way for the water to run off. This can compromise the integrity of the roof. Flat roofs are popping up in newer residential areas all the time, although you will often find them on older commercial properties. Flat roofs are fantastic for eco-friendly homes as they are very easy to install solar panels on.

There are several different materials that flat roofs can be built from. It would be nigh on impossible to cover them all, mostly because flat roof technology is advancing at a rapid rate, but there are a few of the more popular materials:

  • EPDM: this is a synthetic rubber which is used on single-ply roofing. It is quick, easy, and cheap to apply. It is also surprisingly reliable despite its low cost. It is incredibly durable, even in areas of high rainfall. Does not change colour in response to UV light too. EPDM roofs are often rated to last for as long as thirty years before they need to be replaced although modern versions make the claim that they can last up to sixty years.
  • Asphalt: one of the more popular flat roofing materials, although many do not find it as aesthetically pleasing as one of the other styles. Asphalt is cheap to apply, but it is often not used in areas of high rainfall because asphalt breaks down in water. It does it slowly, but the more rain you get, the quicker the integrity of the roof will be compromised. It can be waterproofed but only to an extent and you will need to replace asphalt roofs far more frequently than most other roofing types.
  • Turbo Seal: waterproofing membrane which tends to be applied to asphalt flat roofs.
  • GRP: these roofs have been designed for foot traffic, which means that it is ideal if you are looking to open up a patio on your roof or something similar.


  • Can create extra space on the roof. Ideal for a patio. Can also put equipment on the roof such as a heating system.
  • Ideal for those using solar panels.
  • Aesthetically pleasing.
  • Low cost.


  • As they have a low pitch, water is more likely to pool.
  • More expensive to maintain.

Skillion Roof

This is a type of roof which is often found on sheds. In fact, this type of roof is so common on sheds that you may find it referred to as a ‘shed roof’. They are similar in construction to a flat roof, but they are angled to create a slope. While Skillion roofs were originally for extensions to a property or for storage units, you may find them on newer build properties, particularly some of the more modern properties going up in Manchester as of late.


  • Very quick and easy to assemble.
  • They have a steep pitch which means that rain and snow will be removed from them quickly.
  • Very aesthetically pleasing if they are designed properly.
  • Can have solar panels attached to them easily.


  • If you make the pitch of the roof too high, you will have low ceilings in some parts of your property.
  • Not the best for high wind areas.

Jerkinhead Roof

Despite being commonly referred to as ‘English hip roofs’, a Jerkinhead roof is not the most common style in the UK. It can be found in larger, more expensive properties, but even then, the style is not wildly popular. Jerkinhead roofs are essentially a combination of hip and gable roofs. Many people opt for this style over the traditional gable roof due to a couple of advantages.


  • More stable than a gable roof. Because the point has been clipped, wind is likely to impact the roof less. This contributes to an extended lifespan.
  • Provide a lot more living space than your standard hip roof.
  • Very aesthetically pleasing in comparison to other roofing types.


  • Very complicated design which can add to the cost of building it.

Butterfly Roof

This is one of the more unique styles of roofing around. You can think of a butterfly roof as being a V shape. There are two connected pieces which are angled upwards. The midsection of these two pieces will be angled downwards. It creates a valley and the style looks very similar to as if you were watching a butterfly in flight. This is a modern style which can often be found in eco-friendly homes.

To make a butterfly roof work, you need to ensure that it is completely waterproof. There should be no seams. This means that a membrane is the best roofing option available. Some people will even have solar panels on them for a boost in power and a boost in waterproofness.


  • Can give more natural light to a property.
  • The valley collects water. While this is not going to be that beneficial in Manchester, in some areas it collects water which will be funneled down into a storage container for drinking and cleaning.
  • Looks incredibly pleasing to the eye.


  • Very complex design which can make it more expensive to build.
  • Expensive to maintain, particularly if the waterproofing is not that good.

Bonnet Roof

These are double sloped roofs. The lower slope will have a lower angle than the upper slope. Many people liken the bonnet roof to being a reversed version of the mansard. Often, the lower slope is going to hang over the side of the house. This creates a porch area. You are unlikely to find bonnet roofs in modern properties. In fact, you may struggle to find that many bonnet roofs in England, with most of them being built in the US.


  • The angle of the slope will provide extra living space. It will not be a lot, but it should be enough for a nice loft or a small room.
  • The porch area is nice for some people.
  • The overhanging part of the roof helps to protect the walls.
  • Water runs off these roofs very easily.


  • Difficult to construct. In fact, it is one of the more expensive types of roof to build.
  • There will be some valleys on the roof where water can pool so these areas need to be highly waterproofed.

Saltbox Roof

Unique style. You can think of this being like the shed roof, but with one key difference; there are two sides to the Saltbox roof. One of the sides will have an incredibly steep slope. The other will have a very shallow slope. This is not the most common style in the UK by far, and you will be unlikely to find a saltbox roof in Manchester, mostly because this is a style developed specifically for colonial homes in the United States.


  • Water runs off the roof very easily because of the steep slope.
  • Adds extra living space.


  • The design is expensive to build.
  • A lot of your rooms will have slanted ceilings which may not be ideal.

Sawtooth Roof

This is an immensely complicated design, but very pleasing to the eye when done right. Look at the side of a sawblade and that is basically what a sawtooth roof will look like. You have several different roofs, two or more, which are parallel pitched. It is not a design that is going to work on every property, but when it does work, it works very well.


  • Windows can be added to the sloped areas which adds a lot of natural light.
  • Adds a lot of living space.
  • Ideal for solar panels and radiant heating systems.


  • Very expensive to build.
  • Very high-maintenance, particularly since there will be a lot of windows which means more waterproofing.

Curved Roof

Very similar to your shed roof, although the roof is curved slightly rather than being flat. The extent of the curve will be dependent on the required design of the property.


  • Very aesthetically pleasing
  • You do not need to cover the whole home with a curved roof. Some people only cover certain sections of the property.


  • Complicated design, therefore can be costly to implement.


Pyramid Roof

You could easily regard this as a hip roof. The four sides of the roof will come to a point. There will be no sides that are vertical. This creates a pyramid shape. While you can find pyramid roofs in larger properties, they are often used for smaller buildings.


  • Fantastic in areas where there is a lot of wind.
  • Lots of extra space.
  • Can reduce heating costs as the overhanging eaves add extra protection.


  • Expensive to build

Dome Roof

You are unlikely to ever find this style on a residential property. Yes, they exist, but they are incredibly rare. The whole property needs to be domed for a dome roof to work.


  • ­Look good when done right.
  • Very durable.


  • Very expensive to build because the whole property needs to be dome shape. You can’t just install a dome on an existing property.

Combination Roof

Not really a specific roofing structure. These roofs tend to be a combination of different styles, so the advantages and disadvantages will be dependent on the roofing styles that you opt to combine. You will need a larger property if you want to benefit from the combined styles.


  • Look incredibly pleasing to the eye when done right.
  • Can always choose the best roofing type dependent on the area of the house.


  • Complicated design as so many different skills will be needed to bring the roof to life.
  • You may create valleys and ridges when you join up the sections of the roof which can cause water to pool. If not maintained well, it can leak.
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