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Guide to Popular Roof Types and Materials

roofing materialsRoofs come in a wide variety of styles and materials, but they all follow six main structural shapes or types: gable, mansard, hip, saltbox, flat, and gambrel. These can be used alone or combined to form unique home roof styles on buildings that are not perfect rectangles or squares. Home designers and builders choose different roof styles for a variety of reasons. After deciding on a style, the next step is to select roofing materials. These are chosen for appearance, durability, and how well they perform in the weather and climate conditions of the property’s location.

Six Roof Styles Examined

Gable – This is the standard upside-down V-shaped roof common on many houses.

Mansard – Flat on the top but raised above the top of the walls, this type of roof has four sloping sides at the edges. It looks a bit like a tray turned upside down.

Hip – Instead of having two sloped sides like the gable roof, the hip roof has all four sides sloping down from a top point or line.

Saltbox – Similar to a gable roof, the saltbox has one side of the roof that is longer than the other. These can be found on houses in which the second floor only extends over part of the first.

Flat – These roofs lie perfectly horizontal and perpendicular to the ground. They are usually not found in areas of heavy precipitation.

Gambrel – These area also called barn-shaped roofs and have four panels that form an arch rather than a sharp angle.

Any of these roof shapes can be combined in a house that is L-shaped or has a unique outline instead of a simple rectangle. Professional architects and home builders understand how to make a roof not only look good, but also funnel water and debris off and away to preserve its life.

Popular Roofing Material Options

No matter what shape your roof is, there are three main material types used in most home and outbuilding applications.

Shingles – Various types of shingles are by far the most popular type of roofing materials used on homes. They come in a wide variety of types including wood, metal, slate stone, asphalt, recycled rubber, and ceramic tile.

Membranes – Relatively unpopular for homes, membrane roofing consists of large sheets of either rubber, plastic or bitumen that are laid out over the roof and then sealed and connected using heat and other fasteners.

Metal – Corrugated and galvanized iron or steel are the most common metal roof materials, though copper is used for decorative roofs as well. Metal is a popular material for outbuildings and homes in areas with a lot of precipitation such as snow and ice, as it sheds precipitation more quickly.

Older roofing materials such as thatch, stone slabs, and asbestos are no longer in popular use but may be found on historical buildings.

A huge range of colors, treatments and styles exist for roofing materials these days. Modern homes may prefer colored metal, while Victorians want a slate reproduction look. Home builders and roofing professionals can help you decide what would work and look best on your house.


We are a family operated business that specializes in roof repair, conversions, over layment and replacements. We take pride in the services that we provide and make sure that all of our customers are satisfied before the project is complete.

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Pressure Washing
Americas best pressure washing is a family owned and operated business that specializes in cedar shake roof maintenance, repair and treatment. We take pride in the services that we provide and make sure that all of our customers are satisfied before the project is complete.

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America's Best Roofing
(503) 259-0538

4145 SW Watson Ave Ste 350
Beaverton, OR 97005
America's Best Contractors, Inc, Roofing Contractors, Beaverton, OR