Gambrel Roof Advantages: Everything You Need to Know

Gambrel Roof Advantages [Updated, 2024]

An old home with a classic gambrel roof.

When choosing a roof for their home, many people choose a familiar shape. And among the most familiar roof types is the gambrel roof.

Also known as a Dutch roof, a gambrel roof is commonly seen on barns and stables throughout the United States. It is a roof with sides, each offering a shallower slope above a steeper one.

It also has a symmetrical design, allowing structures with the advantages of a sloped roof while maximizing available space.

The promise of more space means that aside from being popular for barns and other former farmhouse-style buildings, gambrel roofs are also popular for residential structures.

If you’re considering a gambrel roof for your home, you should first understand all the advantages this style offers.

Historic

gambrel roof historic

The gambrel style is worth considering if you want to add historical charm to your home. Many people choose this iconic design to create a connection to the past since it dates back to the colonial era.

Even if your home is new, using a gambrel roof can give the impression that it has been standing for centuries.

In addition to its historical significance, this style also offers practical benefits. Adding visual interest to your home’s exterior ensures it stands out from the other houses in your neighborhood.

Materials

gambrel roof materials

The gambrel roof is pleasing to the eye and economical. Unlike other roofing styles, Gambrel roofs require fewer columns and support beams.

With its efficient design, this structure requires only two roof beams and gusset joints, which results in lower material usage and construction costs. 

Budget-conscious homeowners who want to save on construction expenses can benefit from this cost-effective style.

Build

gambrel roof build

A gambrel roof may be the answer if you consider adding more space to your home. Surprisingly, the framing method for this roof style is relatively simple, despite its complex appearance.

Many contractors can quickly build a gambrel roof for your home. Not only is the construction process straightforward, but this roof style also provides more interior space than other styles. 

So, you’ll get more square footage for your buck.

When adding space to your home, a gambrel roof is the cost-effective solution you’ve been looking for.

Durability

Gambrel roof durability

When it comes to durability, the gambrel roof stands out. A gambrel roof can last several decades with suitable materials and proper construction techniques.

The great news is that as long as you perform regular maintenance, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing your roof could last for over a century.

Whether you want to invest in a new roof for your home or business, the Gambrel roof is an excellent option. 

Not only is it aesthetically appealing, but it’s also a reliable and long-lasting choice.

Windows

If you love to bask in the sun’s natural light, a roof style that allows for windows is a must-have. 

Not only does it provide ample lighting, but it also gives your home a welcoming and refreshing ambiance.

Adding windows to your roof design is easy with the right professionals, and with the added value to your property, it’s an investment worth making.

Whether considering selling your home or dreaming of the ideal living space, incorporating windows into your roof is a simple design smart choice.

Versatility

gambrel roof versatility

When it comes to roofing options, versatility is critical. Choosing suitable roofing materials protects your home from external elements and adds aesthetic appeal.

With a wide range of materials available, you can opt for wooden shingles, slate, asphalt, and even metal roofs

Homeowners can design a distinct appearance that matches their style thanks to this flexibility.

Choosing the right contractor open to working with your creative vision can ultimately result in a personalized and stunning roof design.

What About Gambrel Roof Gutters?

A gambrel roof, often seen in barns, garages, and Dutch Colonial-style houses, is also compatible with installing gutters.

Unlike hip roofs, gambrel roofs do not require gutters along the entire perimeter of the home, which simplifies installation and provides options for using higher-end materials or more striking colors.

Installing gutters on a gambrel roof can be easily achieved with the correct instructions. 

Professionals typically place them on the fascia below the roof, diverting water from the structure.

If your gambrel roof does not have exposed rafter tails below the shingles to attach gutters, you might need to cut and attach some wood to the existing structure for gutter installation.

While you can certainly install gutters on a gambrel roof, it’s important to note that due to their open design, these roofs may be more susceptible to collapse under heavy snow and rainfall.

Therefore, in areas prone to such weather conditions, regular maintenance and inspection are crucial to ensure the stability and integrity of the roof and gutters.

As for materials, traditional options such as asphalt, wood, or slate shingles are popular choices for gambrel roofs. 

However, a metal roof may also be a reasonable option; although more costly upfront, it requires less maintenance over time.

Please consult a roofing professional to understand the best options for your particular gambrel roof and climate.

How Is A Gambrel Roofs Different From a Mansard Roof?

How Is A Gambrel Roofs Different From a Mansard Roof?

A Gambrel roof and a Mansard-style roof are both roofs that feature two different slopes on each side. 

However, there are distinct differences between the two.

A Gambrel roof, also known as a barn roof, has a roof with two slopes, on each side, with the steeper lower slope and the relatively flat upper. 

Its symmetry and simplicity characterize it, and it only has two sides. You will typically spot this roof on barns, farmhouses, or Dutch Colonial-style buildings.

On the other hand, a Mansard roof, also known as a French roof, is a four-sided roof with double slopes on each side, forming a low-pitched roof. 

The lower slope is much steeper than the upper one.

Unlike the Gambrel, which only covers two sides, the Mansard roof wraps fully around the home.

Another key difference is that a Mansard roof often has dormer windows that protrude from the roof, providing space and light inside the building, while a Gambrel roof generally does not have this feature.

How Is A Gambrel Roofs Different From a Gable Roof?

Advantages of Gable Roofs

A Gambrel roof and a Gable roof are popular roofing styles, but they have distinct differences in structure and appearance.

A Gambrel roof, often called a barn roof, has two slopes. The lower slope is steeper, almost vertical, while the upper slope is much less steep. 

This design allows for more space under the roof, making it an ideal choice for loft spaces, attics, or buildings like barns.

On the other hand, a Gable roof, also known as a pitched or peaked roof, is one of the most common roof styles.

It consists of two roof sections sloping in opposite directions and meeting along a central ridge, forming a shape similar to a triangle.

Gable roofs are simpler in design than Gambrel roofs and are easier and cheaper to construct.

In comparison, while both types can offer more space, a Gambrel roof generally provides more usable space.

However, Gable roofs tend to be more resistant to wind and are better suited for areas with high wind or hurricane conditions. 

It’s always best to consult a roofing professional to determine the best type of roof for your specific needs and local weather conditions.

What About The Attic?

An old home with a classic gambrel roof.

The attic under a gambrel roof can be a valuable and versatile area in a home. 

Gambrel roofs, also known as barn roofs or Dutch roofs, have two slopes on each side, with the lower slope being steeper than the upper slope.

This design creates additional space within the attic, making it suitable for various purposes. 

Here are a few things to consider about the attic space under a gambrel roof:

▪️ Increased Usable Space

The gambrel roof design maximizes the available space in the attic. The steeper slope allows for more headroom and usable floor space than other roof styles. 

You can utilize this extra space for storage, living spaces, bedrooms, or recreational activities.

▪️ Design Considerations

When planning to use the attic space, remember the gambrel roof’s slope may limit the usable area near the walls. 

The space may taper as you move away from the center, so it’s essential to consider how this might affect your desired use and furniture placement.

▪️ Structural Support

Ensure that the gambrel roof structure is built to handle the intended use of the attic space. 

Additional support beams or modifications may be required to accommodate the load and ensure structural integrity.

▪️ Insulation and Ventilation

Proper insulation and ventilation are crucial for any attic space. Adequate insulation helps maintain comfortable temperatures and energy efficiency, while proper ventilation prevents moisture buildup and potential damage. 

Ensure your gambrel roof attic has appropriate insulation and ventilation systems.

▪️ Access and Egress

Consider the accessibility to the attic storage space. You’ll need a safe and convenient staircase or ladder to access the area. 

Additionally, ensure there are appropriate emergency exits, such as windows, in case of an emergency.

▪️ Permits and Building Codes

Before modifying or converting the space under a gambrel roof, check with your local building department to ensure you comply with all relevant permits and building codes. 

Ensuring the safety and legality of your project is crucial.

Overall, the attic under a gambrel roof can be an excellent opportunity to create additional usable space in your home. 

Proper planning, design, and structural considerations allow you to transform it into a functional and attractive area that suits your needs and enhances your living space.

Is A Gambrel Roof Style Right For You?

Is A Gambrel Roof Style Right For You?

When analyzing roof types, it’s essential to consider each kind’s benefits. Gambrel roofs are unique, classic styles with more floor space and room, among other advantages.

However, a Gambrel roof is only for some. While it has many advantages, structures prone to intense, high winds often, like the Denton County area, for example, may find that this style takes more damage in inclement weather.

If you’re wondering what type of roof is best, contact DKG Roofing at (940) 497-2833 for help. 

We’d love to answer any questions you might have, and we’re here to help guide you through choosing the right roof style to meet your home’s unique needs and requirements.

About DKG Roofing

With over two decades of serving homeowners in North Texas and Denton Roofing, DKG Roofing has established itself as a highly sought-after roof repair and replacement contractor.

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