What Is A Gable Roof?

One of the options to consider when adding a roof to your home is the gable roof. What exactly is a gable roof? Well, it is the type of roof that your kids sketch whenever they draw a house. Now, you probably remember seeing it on your neighbors' houses. For a more professional definition, Civiconcepts describes a gable roof as having two slopes that go down to the end of the roof, and the top part where they meet is called the roof ridge. By then you will notice a triangular shape because of the two slopes' direction and position, and this triangular part is what we call the gable. Easy right?

We should mention the historical context regarding gable roofs — we can't say no to historical facts! Dream Civil mentions that we can thank Greek civilization since they invented gable roofs; if you are wondering where the Greeks used them, we can tell you that they built them on top of their temples.

An important question to ask now is: Should you buy a home that has a gable roof? Angi shares the advice of Eric Gonzalez who is the president of Regions Commercial Roofing. "Property owners should consider their geographical location as well as the advice of a reputable contractor when deciding if they should go with a property that will have gable roofs," he explained.

Advantages of gable roofs

We will mention the advantages of owning a house that has a gable roof along with the disadvantages. This will help you answer our previous question and provide more insight into what roof expert Eric Gonzalez mentioned. 

According to Civiconcepts, one important advantage of gable roofs is that they are considered a water drainage system. This is because of the slopes, which make it easier to get rid of water and snow without much effort. Angi also mentions how this automatic drainage will actually make your roof last longer as it helps you avoid any damage that could be caused by rain or snow being left for too long on the roof.

Gable roofs have two additional advantages that are actually related to each other. The first one is the simplicity of gable roofs. According to Dream Civil, these roofs win over other types when it comes to the construction process. Why? Gable roofs have a simple design, and therefore they are easier to build than other kinds. The second advantage is that this style of roof is your best choice if you have a small budget. Angi agrees with us; they mention that since they have an easier construction process than other roof types, that results in them being more affordable.

More advantages for homeowners

You can probably tell by now that the advantages of gable roofs mostly exist because of their design. Diversified Roofing shared another pro, as they describe that the two slopes they have provide you with additional space; They suggest using this space for creating an attic or a storage room. Angi also gives an example of how to use this space as they suggest storing holiday decorations in it; now you can have a place for your Christmas tree during the off-season. IKO on the other hand suggests using it to set up a spare bedroom or a play area for your kids — just make sure to be around while they are there.

Gable roofs also provide you with great ventilation. Angi explains how the attics under gable roofs add some ridge vents; they define them as vents with a design that gives you the ability to control the temperature inside your home. How exactly do these vents manage to do that? Angi adds that if you got expert help installing vents that fit your gable roof, then this will allow your attic to get rid of hot air during the summer — a great advantage in our opinion. What about winter? Well, the vents then will keep that hot air inside the house to keep your family warm — a win-win situation. 

Disadvantages of gable roofs

Going back to Eric Gonzalez's words about your region (via Angi), we will tell you why he offered this particular advice. The most noticeable and dangerous disadvantage of gable roofs is broken down by Civil Jungle, who agrees with Gonzalez. They state that you shouldn't pick a gable roof for your house if your geographical location has hurricanes and strong winds, as a gable roof won't be as stable as you hope.

An ironic thing here is that just like the design of a gable roof contributes to its advantages, it also contributes to its disadvantages. Long Home Products mention how the top part where the slopes meet actually works like a magnet for winds because of its structure. Unfortunately, you will find your roof peeling off if it faces consistent pressure from winds in the area. If this happens regularly, then it would be better to select another roof type.

Another con contradicts the fact that gable roofs are cost-effective: Long Home Products adds that if your area does get severe wind then the money you saved when building your gable roof will be spent on occasional maintenance to repair the damage caused by this weather. Of course, it's okay to do maintenance every now and then, but with gable roofs you will have to do a lot more than what's required for other roof types. Therefore this is definitely a con in our eyes.

More disadvantages to consider

While we said that gable roofs are usually easy to construct, IKO states that having a gable roof makes the process of building the house itself more difficult. This is because builders must make the walls have different and specific heights to support the special design of gable roofs. This support and special building process is what caused Civiconcepts to emphasize that gable roofs must be built by a professional architect. If the framing process isn't done properly or the wrong materials were used, then you will risk the possibility of your gable roof collapsing; this would be due to unprofessional installation.

We are sorry to say that having an attic also includes yet another con, and again this is because of the design. While Long Home Products suggest using the attic as an office or a small apartment you rent out, they mention how you won't be able to use the entire area. This is because of the slopes in gable roofs which may make you feel like you are living inside a cave; we are sure that this isn't a desirable feeling. It is also not pleasant to keep hitting your head against the walls in the attic whenever you try to move around.

Two types of gable roofs

Gable roofs give you a wide range of designs to pick from since they have different types. According to JTC, one of these types is the box gable roof. The triangular shape that we mentioned earlier fits here too, but they describe it to be an extended part of the house that exists at both ends of it. 

Decoist gives us some reasons to consider the box gable roof; They explain that its benefits include how the triangular extension makes your home look longer than it actually is. It also helps you have more inside space which can broaden your options of how to use the space, aka the attic.

IKO also discusses another kind of gable roof called a cross gable roof, which is essentially made of two gable roofs that meet each other at a right angle. JTC adds that this roof type affects the usually simple design of gable roofs. This is because cross gable roofs are known to be more complex, and therefore they make the house's layout and structure complicated as well; this is done in order to fit this type's required structure. The advantage here is the additional space you will gain; more cross gable roofs equal more interior space. It also equals more separate wings to add to the house like a garage.

Additional kinds of gable roofs

Another kind of roof is mentioned by DigsDigs and it is the front gable roof, which is always placed at the front of the house — thus the name. Sometimes it is called a false-front gable; this happens when it is only used for décor rather than being an actual roof. Civiconcepts adds that you usually have the front door of the house right under this gable. This is why Decoist recommends using that to your advantage by adding different designs under the roof; for example, ones made of brick. They also mention that you can make it a pleasant color. These two recommendations will make your front porch impress any passersby or visitors.

Our next roof type is introduced by Civiconcepts and that is the Dutch gable roof. This kind is your best choice if you are torn between building a gable roof or a hip roof because as Civiconcepts describe it, the Dutch gable roof is a combination of both. So you could build the hip roof and then change your mind and add a gable roof on top of it, creating this type.

According to Dream Civil, the chief benefit of a Dutch gable roof is that it adds a lot to the aesthetics of your house and makes its appearance more appealing. They also mention how it gives you more space to use because it is essentially two roofs joined together.