Three Different Roof Shapes

9 June 2020
 Categories: , Blog

Whether you're building a new home or replacing the roofing, it can be helpful and eyeopening to be familiar with several common roof shapes. Awareness will help you to differentiate and appreciate distinct styles that might be possible for your house. Here are some details on three roof shapes.

Hip Roof

Hip roofs are relatively common in Australia. With these structures, each exterior wall of a house meets horizontally with a roof section that overhangs to form an eave. Thus on a square-shaped building, the roof will have four planes that meet at the top to form a pyramid shape. On a rectangular structure, the four planes will form a ridge along the rooftop. 

Similarly to the brim of a hat, the overhanging eaves on a hip roof provide shade — though to exterior walls and windows rather than to a face. These shading and cooling effects are one of this roof's greatest advantages. Plus, this pyramid shape is highly wind resistant. If your home is L-shaped or another layout, the roof may consist of several hips and valleys that rise and fall over the different parts of the structure.

Gabled Roof

A gabled roof, on a rectangular home, for example, doesn't have four planes that meet each external wall, as with a hip roof. Instead, a gable roof has two planes that meet to form a ridge at the top, while the two end walls of the building narrow in to create a triangular shape. The planes on these roofs are typically steep, thus allowing snow to slide to the ground. As only specific areas in Australia receive snow, this benefit doesn't have the drawing power it has in other parts of the world. Additionally, the steep gables are less effective in strong winds than a flatter hip roof style. However, as a result of their steepness, gabled roofs typically create space for an attic, thus adding to the living areas within a home. 


Rather than multiple planes, a skillion roof usually has one plane only. However, it's not flat but sits at an angle over the building, allowing rainwater to drain quickly. Sometimes a skillion roof protects sheds, outbuildings or home extensions, but it can also create a striking picture when covering an entire house. Often these designs use corrugated metal, which gives the architecture an edgy, industrial look. A butterfly skillion design is when two roof planes meet at a downwards angle — rather than in a peak — creating a valley which typically holds a gutter to capture rainwater, which can then be channelled to a rainwater tank. Thus roofers might build such a design if you're interested in collecting rainwater.