Styles of Roofing Architecture: Gambrel

20 Oct Styles of Roofing Architecture: Gambrel

Due to the obvious necessity of needing a roof for shelter, every culture across any historical period has built them into their structured, despite having different methods of building them. Styles of Roofing Architecture is series about the various different styles of roofing that have survived the test of time and are in popular use in our country today. There is no one style of roof that is perfect. Your geographical location, price range, personal style, and practical needs must be applied towards choosing a roof. This series is meant to educate and help you decide…

Tree and red barn during a snow stormThe gambrel roof is pretty much the English’s answer to the mansard roof. Also called a “barn yard roof,” the gambrel roof isn’t just used in barns, but homes and mansions as well. Similar to the gable roof, each side of the roof has two different angles of pitch, but still comes to a point just like a gable. Here’s some pros and cons of getting a gambrel roof.


Tons of room

The two different angles of pitch in a gambrel roof give more space in the roof area than a gable roof would. This is typically why they became so popular with barns and storage buildings. Because of the angles that jet out, it offers more attic space than usually afforded. They are also great for exposed rafters, as they don’t feel claustrophobic.


The gambrel roof sports a classic style that evokes different aesthetics. Usually, it is that of old Americana that is pretty beloved today. However, it can also be used to achieve a style that is reminiscent of Dutch-European designs. This makes it quite unique, and is a good way to separate your home and others.

Weather ready

The design of gambrel roofs is meant to eliminate water damage. The differing angles of pitch ensure no rain becomes standing water. It also works well at eliminating the weight of snow, better than any other roof style, despite still needing repairs over time. The structural integrity of gambrel roofs is designed after the bones in the leg and ankle of a horse, making it very stable.



Gambrel roofs require a lot of annual maintenance, as opposed to other roofing styles. To prevent constant repairs, durable materials must be used, which will save more money over time. There is also a lot of surface area on a gambrel roof, making more materials necessary, and also leaving more room for damages to occur.


Despite being much more durable against wind than a gable roof, a gambrel roof is still at great risk of wind damage. The angles of these types of roof will cause the wind to speed up, and if you don’t apply shingles correctly, you could end up having to replace a good deal of roofing materials.


More surface area means higher costs, such as lots of money spent on materials. Also, the added surface area will increase the amount of time it will take to construct or repair, adding in a lot of labor time. Also, for the weight of a gambrel roof, you will need to have strong interior bracing to get the most mileage out of it.

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