Different Roof Types and Pitches: Pros & Cons
Roofs are probably the most important component of a house and come in a wide variety of materials, styles, and of course, pitches. There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to the many different varieties of roofs–with much of this dependant on the specific climate of the region and location of the house. Roofs with little to no pitch constructed from clay tile, for example, are best suited to warmer, more temperate environments. Sharply sloped roofs are commonly found in more alpine environments to prevent the weight of snowpack from damaging or collapsing the roof. Here is a more detailed look at some roof types and the pros and cons of each.
These roof designs are pretty self-explanatory since they feature very little pitch. These roofs are easier to construct than any roof with a slope and they are more accessible, safer, and easier to work on than steeply sloped designs. This roof design, however, often requires more maintenance since debris can gather on top with nowhere to go. Weight from snowpack and water can also be issues since there is no way precipitation can runoff. Leaks and structural weakening can be problematic if the roof is not properly reinforced.
This type of roof is typically used in small portions on certain parts of the home or on smaller structures like garages or guesthouses. The roof design is characterized by four evenly sloped sides meeting at a single pinnacle point. These roofs are aesthetic and are reliable designs on smaller parts of the house to accompany other roof types, such as flat roofs, rather than as full roofs for the entire structure.
The roofline of A-frame roofs is sharply angled and begins near the foundation lines and meets at the top at a sharp point. These roof designs are popular and have an ancient architectural origin in China, Europe, and South Pacific islands as simple, utilitarian structures. While used as cheaper, efficient roof designs all over the world, A-frame roofs are popular and common in northern, alpine environments where heavy snowfall is common. These roof design are meant to be an efficient method of keeping heavy snowpack from weighing on the roof and causing damage.
This is a traditional French design of roof that features a pitch divided into a shallow slope above a steeper slope. The lower slope in this design is often steeper and more vertical than the upper. The upper is often not visible from the ground. This type of roof is a more elaborate design than is often found on large public buildings or large homes with a considerable amount of roof space. In these roof designs there is additional living and storage space at the top of the house.