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Photo: Binyamin Mellish

Most Popular Residential Roof Designs

Whether you’re choosing a new roof for your new home or doing a roof replacement, there are multiple roof styles to choose from. The roofing option you choose can make or break your home, as each design has unique characteristics that make it suitable for specific home styles and climates.

In this article, I will go over the most popular roofing styles, revealing their unique features, as well as pros and cons, so you can choose the most attractive option that makes the most sense for your home and climate.

Gable Roof

Photo: Pixabay

The gable roof, also known as a peaked roof, is one of the most popular roofing styles. It features two sloping sides that form a ridge at the top. Gable roofs are best suited for simple, rectangular homes, but they are also very versatile and can be adapted to fit many home designs. They are great in areas with moderate to high rainfall, as the steep pitch allows water to quickly run off the roof.

Cost: Gable roofs are one of the more affordable roof styles, at $4 to $9 per square foot.
Maintenance: Clean debris from gutters regularly, especially after storms, and check for any signs of damage.


  • Simple and cost-effective design
  • Allows for good ventilation
  • Provides more interior ceiling space.


  • Can be prone to damage in areas with high winds
  • May require additional support in heavy snow areas

Hip Roof

Photo: Clay Elliot

The hip roof is similar to the gable roof, but instead of two sloping sides, it has four sloping sides that meet at the top to form a ridge. The hip roof style works well for square or rectangular-shaped homes. It is also suitable for areas with high winds and heavy rains or hurricane-prone areas, as the sloping sides provide more resistance to wind and uplift.

Cost: $8 to $15 per square foot, but costs can vary depending on the roofing material, size of the roof, and average local contractor rates.
Maintenance: Hip roofs are prone to leaks, so they need regular inspections (at least yearly). Homeowners should clean gutters regularly and check for any signs of damage after major storms.


  • More resistant to high winds and uplift
  • Provides more covered outdoor space
  • Allows for good ventilation


  • More complex design, therefore it needs specific structural support.
  • More expensive to install than gable roofs
  • Prone to leaks

Flat Roof

Photo: Will Bill Urban

The flat roof is a modern roofing style that is becoming increasingly popular in urban areas. As the name suggests, it is a flat surface, but it also has a slight slope to allow for water drainage. This roofing style is best suited for modern homes with a contemporary design. It is also suitable for areas with low rainfall and little to no snow as the flat surface can allow water to pool.

Cost: Flat roofs can cost $3 to $9 per square foot. You might have to pay $1 to $2 for additional roofing layers.
Maintenance: Service your roof annually and trim overhanging trees to avoid damage. You should also clean gutters regularly and check for any signs of damage.


  • Modern and stylish design
  • Provides a rooftop space for outdoor activities
  • Easy to maintain


  • Can be prone to leaks if not properly installed or maintained.
  • Limited slope can cause water pooling.

Mansard Roof

Photo: Joel Abroad

The mansard roof, also known as the French roof, is a unique roofing style that features a double-pitched roof with the lower pitch being steeper than the upper pitch. It looks great on homes with a historic or European design. Note that mansard roofs are not suited for areas with extreme weather conditions. For high durability, they are best built with roofing materials like metal and asphalt shingles.

Cost: The cost of a mansard roof ranges from $8 to $20 per square foot.
Maintenance: Not many roofers are familiar with mansard roofs, so finding a professional roofing contractor to help you handle your roof maintenance is key.


  • Unique and historic design,
  • Provides more living space in the attic area
  • Good for heavy snow areas.
  • Allows heat to be evenly distributed throughout the top of the home.


  • Can be more expensive to install than other roofing styles.
  • Costs more effort and money to maintain.
  • Not very weather resistant.
  • Harder to get local permits.

Shed Roof

Photo: Tanaka Juyooh

The shed roof is a simple and minimalistic roofing style that features a single-sloping surface with no ridges or valleys. It is suitable for small homes, garden sheds, or structures with a modern or contemporary design. Shed roofs are best used in areas with low to moderate rainfall.

Cost: Shed roof costs range from $4 to $7 per square foot.
Maintenance: Trim branches regularly so they don’t come in contact with roofing sheets. Clean the sheets regularly, and always make sure to remove debris buildup.


  • Simple and cost-effective design
  • Easy to install
  • Provides more ceiling height in one part of the building


  • May not be suitable for larger homes or buildings
  • Limited design options

Choosing the Best Roof for Your Home

Choosing a new roof or replacing an old one is as much a functional choice as it is an aesthetic one. Many homeowners tend to place more value on aesthetics and may fall prey to predatory roofing contractors as a result.

The contractor you choose goes a long way toward determining the quality and durability of your new roof. Make sure they are licensed, at the very least, and are willing to provide references. Taking these measures will help you avoid shoddy workmanship and sketchy contracts.