The gable roof is a recognizable architectural style featuring two sloping sides that meet at the top in a triangular shape with a peak. It is well-suited for homes in areas with heavy rainfall, is easy to construct and maintain, and provides extra space in the attic. Common styles include front-gabled, side-gabled, cross-gabled, and Dutch gable roofs. These stylish designs can be implemented in your next roof repair project.
Architectural Styles That Use Gable Roofs
Gable roofs have gained popularity due to their versatile design and functionality. They are a preferred choice for many architectural styles, including the following:
- A-Frame: A-frame homes have a distinct triangular shape that resembles an “A” with a gable roof that extends to the foundation and creates a modern aesthetic.
- Bungalow: Bungalows have traditional charm, gable roofs with wide eaves, and exposed rafters. They often have dormer windows on the upper level for added character and space.
- Cape Cod: Cape Cod homes commonly adopt symmetrical designs with steeply pitched gable roofs influenced by New England architecture. These roofs provide protection against coastal weather conditions.
- Colonial: Colonial-style homes often feature simple gable roofs, sometimes with a central chimney.
- Craftsman: Craftsman homes typically have gable roofs with wide eaves and exposed rafter tails.
- Dutch Colonial: This style is known for its distinctive “gambrel” or “barn” roof, a variation of a gable roof.
- Gothic Revival: Gothic Revival homes often feature steep gable roofs with cross gables and decorative elements.
- Greek Revival: Greek Revival homes have gable roofs with a pediment over the front entrance.
- Ranch: Ranch-style homes feature simple, low-pitched gable roofs.
- Victorian: Victorian homes have steeply pitched gable roofs with decorative details.
Gable Roofing Designs
The standard, open gable design is the most common form of a gable roof, characterized by its triangular shape. More intricate designs include added elements and details that enhance the roof’s aesthetic appeal and functionality. We outline various gable roof designs below:
- Box gable: A box gable has a triangular extension at the end of the ridge that is boxed at the end. This design gives the roof a more finished look.
- Cross gable: A cross-gable roof consists of two or more gable rooflines intersecting at an angle, most commonly perpendicular to each other. This design is often used in homes with a complex layout.
- Dutch gable: A Dutch gable is a hybrid of a gable and a hip roof. A gable roof is placed at the top of a hip roof for more space and aesthetic appeal.
- Front gable: A front gable roof is placed at the house’s entrance. This design is standard in Colonial-style houses and makes a bold statement above the home’s main entrance.
- Gambrel: A gambrel, or barn roof, includes two symmetrical slopes on each side of the roof. The upper slope is positioned at a shallow angle, while the lower slope is steep.
- Saltbox gable: A saltbox gable roof is asymmetrical in design. One side is a slightly sloping flat roof, while the other side houses the gable.
- Shed gable: A shed gable, also known as a skillion or lean-to roof, features a single sloping roof surface, often not attached to another roof surface. This is a simple design often seen in modern and contemporary designs.
Building a Gable Roof
Constructing a gable roof requires carefully considering several elements. The gable roof’s pitch or slope angle affects its steepness or shallowness. Rafters provide structural support and protection against weather. Consider various roofing materials based on the functionality and aesthetics you want. Planning helps ensure a stable and long-lasting roof.
Price to Build a Gable Roof
Installing a new roof can cost from $7,500 to $27,000* or more. Note that several factors can influence this price range, such as the design complexity, materials used, and location. Additional features such as dormers or skylights may increase the cost of a gable roof.
*Cost data in this section was sourced from Fixr.
Gable Roof Benefits and Drawbacks
Gable roofs are an attractive choice for many homeowners due to their classic look and ventilation benefits. However, they are vulnerable to damage during high winds and heavy snowfall, which can cause roof collapse in extreme cases. Homeowners in regions with these conditions should carefully evaluate these risks before installing a gable roof.
Gable Roofs vs. Hip Roofs
The main difference between gable and hip roofs is structural stability. Hip roofs are more resistant to strong winds, making them suitable for stormy areas. They feature an attractive, symmetrical design and gradual slopes. Constructing hip roofs is complex and more expensive in terms of materials and labor. However, many homeowners consider the weather resistance, unique design, and architectural charm of hip roofs worth the extra cost.
Whether you can install a gable roof depends on your climate. Windy areas require designs resistant to wind uplift, while heavy snowfall regions need steeper pitches. If you live in an area with extreme heat, you must include ventilation features such as ridge vents and attic fans. Consider your climate before determining the best type of gable roof for your home.
A gable roof has various advantages and common usage. Its two sloping sides meet at a ridge to form a triangle. It is easy to construct and maintain, resulting in lower costs, efficiently sheds rainwater and snow, and provides ample attic space for storage or expansions. Plus, its symmetrical look adds visual appeal to your home.
Gable Roof FAQ
What is the difference between a pitched roof and a gable roof?
A pitched roof is a general term for roofs with a slope (from slight to very steep). This term encompasses gable, hip, and mansard roofs. A gable roof is a pitched roof with two sloping sides that meet at a ridge, creating end walls with a triangular extension (a gable) at the top. Gable roofs are typically symmetrical but can be asymmetrical in some architectural styles.
What is a gable roof versus a dormer roof?
A gable roof features two sloping sides that come together at a ridge, resembling a triangle from the front and back. It is common in many architectural styles due to its simplicity and efficiency in shedding water and snow. A dormer roof is a structural element that protrudes from a sloping roof surface. A dormer roof can be used on gable, hip, flat, or shed roofs to increase the usable space in the loft area and add a window.
Which is more expensive, a gable roof or a hip roof?
Generally, a gable roof is less expensive than a hip roof due to its simple design, which requires fewer materials and less labor to install. A hip roof typically costs more because of its complex structure and the additional roofing materials required.
What type of roofing material is best for a gable roof?
Asphalt shingles are commonly used for a gable roof due to their cost-effectiveness and ease of installation. However, metal, slate, or tile can be excellent choices for a gable roof because they provide durability and increased weather resistance.