Is a Gambrel Roof House Right for You: Pros and Cons Explained

Is a Gambrel Roof House Right for You

A Gambrel Roof, known for its unique shape with two slopes on each side, offers both aesthetic appeal and functional benefits for homeowners. One of the primary reasons it’s a good option for your house is the additional living or storage space it provides due to its steep lower slope and shallow upper slope. 

Gambrel roof design, commonly seen as gambrel roof barns and in colonial homes, also allows for better drainage and increased durability in harsh weather conditions. When considering a gambrel roof house, it’s essential to weigh the gambrel roof’s advantages and disadvantages to ensure it fits your specific needs and preferences.

Consulting with professionals can help ensure proper installation of gambrel roof framing, maximizing the longevity and benefits of your new roof.

What is a Gambrel Roof? 

What is a Gambrel Roof

A Gambrel roof is a type of roof that features two slopes on each side, with the lower slope being steeper than the upper one. This creates a distinctive and symmetrical “barn-like” appearance, making it a popular choice for farmhouses, barns, and other rural structures.

Origins: The term “gambrel” comes from the Dutch word “gampel,” which means “hook.” This refers to the shape of the roof’s curves, resembling hooks or angles. Gambrel roofs were initially used in 17th-century Europe but gained popularity in America during the 18th century.

What are Gambrel Roof Trusses? 

Gambrel Roof Trusses

Gambrel roof trusses are specialized gambrel roof framing structures used to support a Gambrel roof. They consist of two symmetrical triangular sections connected by a horizontal beam, creating the distinctive shape of the roof. These trusses are designed to distribute weight evenly and provide structural stability to the roof.

What is the Purpose of a Gambrel Roof?

Gambrel roofs have several purposes, including maximizing space and providing aesthetic appeal. The steepness of the roof allows for more headroom in the upper levels of a building, making it ideal for attics and lofts. Gambrel roof design also allows for larger windows on the upper floors, providing more natural light and better ventilation.

Furthermore, Gambrel roof houses are often used in barns and other rural structures due to their ability to withstand heavy snow loads and strong winds. The shape of the roof also helps with water runoff, preventing leaks and damage to the structure.

Types of Gambrel Roof Styles 

Types of Gambrel Roof Styles

i. Dutch Gambrel

This type of gambrel roof is recognizable by its symmetrical shape with four sides, two on each slope. It offers a classic look and is commonly found in traditional homes.

ii. Classic

The classic gambrel roof design is the most recognizable style, featuring two symmetrical slopes on each side. The lower slope is steep, while the upper slope is more shallow. This design maximizes headroom and storage space in the attic, making it popular in barn and colonial house designs.

iii. Valley

The valley gambrel roof framing combines the traditional gambrel shape with intersecting valleys, creating a more complex and visually interesting roofline. This style not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of the house but also allows for better water drainage and increased architectural depth.

iv. Mansard

The mansard gambrel roof, also known as a French roof, features four slopes, with the lower slopes being steeper than the upper ones. This design creates additional living space on the upper floors and is often used in urban settings to maximize building height while adhering to zoning regulations.

v. Dormer

The Dormer Gambrel Roof incorporates dormer windows into the design, providing natural light and ventilation to the attic space. Gambrel roof with dormers is ideal for homeowners looking to create a functional living area in the attic, as it enhances both the exterior appearance and the interior usability of the space.

vi. Wall Supported

The Wall Supported Gambrel Roof is designed with additional structural support from the walls, making it a durable and stable option. This style is particularly suitable for larger buildings or areas prone to heavy snowfall, as the reinforced structure can better withstand external pressures.

vii. Swept-Flared Gambrel 

As the name suggests, this style has a more dramatic flare at the bottom of each slope compared to the top. It creates a more elegant and stately appearance and is often seen in larger homes or mansions.

Gambrel Roof Advantages and Disadvantages 


While Gambrel roofs have many benefits, like any other roofing style, they also have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these factors can help you make an informed decision on whether a Gambrel roof is the right choice for your home or building.


  1. Increased Space: As mentioned before, the steep slopes of a Gambrel roof provide extra space in the upper levels of a home or building. This can be utilized as storage, additional living space, or even for creating a unique loft area.
  2. Cost-Effective: Compared to other roofing styles, such as hip or gable roofs, Gambrel roofs are more cost-effective due to their simple design and construction.
  3. Aesthetically Pleasing: The distinct shape and steep angles of a Gambrel roof can add character and charm to a home or building. It can also give the illusion of height, making a smaller structure appear larger.
  4. Better Ventilation: The high peaks of a Gambrel roof allow for better air circulation and ventilation in the upper levels, which can help regulate temperature and improve indoor air quality.
  5. 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. 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.


  1. Maintenance: Due to its complex design, a Gambrel roof may require more maintenance compared to other roofing styles. The curved slope can make it difficult to clean gutters and perform regular inspections.
  2. Limited Design Options: While the unique shape of a Gambrel roof may be appealing for some, it may not fit with certain architectural styles or preferences.
  3. Lower Slope Angle: The lower slope angle of a Gambrel roof may not be suitable for areas with heavy snowfall or strong winds, as it can lead to structural issues and potential leaks.

How to Build a Gambrel Roof? 

How to Build a Gambrel Roof?

Building a Gambrel roof house requires careful planning and attention to detail. Here are the basic steps for constructing a Gambrel roof shed:

  1. Determine the Pitch: The pitch, or slope, of a Gambrel roof, typically ranges from 20-30 degrees. Decide on the desired pitch depending on your location and climate.
  2. Measure and Mark: Before starting construction, measure and mark out the dimensions of your roof on the top plate of the walls. This will serve as a guide for laying out the roof trusses.
  3. Cut Roof Trusses: Using the measurements, cut out all necessary pieces for your Gambrel roof trusses from lumber.
  4. Assemble Trusses: Lay out the truss components according to your design plan and assemble them using heavy-duty galvanized screws or nails.
  5. Raise Trusses: With the help of a crane or lifting equipment, raise the gambrel roof trusses into position on top of the walls. Make sure they are properly aligned and securely fastened.
  6. Add Roof Decking: Install plywood or other roof decking material over the trusses. This will provide a solid base for your roof and protect it from weather elements.
  7. Install Ridge Beam: The ridge beam is a horizontal support beam that runs along the peak of the Gambrel roof. It helps distribute weight evenly and adds stability to the structure.
  8. Add Roofing Material: Choose your desired roofing material, such as shingles or metal sheets, and carefully install them starting from the bottom and working your way up. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation.
  9. Install Soffits and Fascia: The soffit is the underside of the roof overhang, while the fascia is the vertical board covering the rafters’ end. These elements not only provide a clean finish to your roof but also protect it from moisture and pests.
  10. Add Gutters: Install gutters along the edges of your roof to collect rainwater and direct it away from your home’s foundation. This will prevent water damage and erosion around your property.
  11. Complete Finishing Touches: Once your Gambrel roof is fully installed, you can add any finishing touches, such as trim or paint, to enhance its appearance. This will also help protect the wood from weathering and make it last longer.
  12. Regular Maintenance: To ensure your Gambrel roof stays in good condition, it is important to conduct regular maintenance checks. This includes inspecting for any leaks, replacing damaged shingles or tiles, and cleaning out gutters regularly.

What Materials Are Used to Build the Gambrel Roof Shed? 

A Gambrel Roof Shed is typically built using materials like wood for the frame and rafters, asphalt shingles or metal panels for the roofing, and plywood or OSB (oriented strand board) for the decking. 

These materials are chosen for their durability, affordability, and ease of installation. Additionally, the shed may include materials like vinyl or wood siding for the exterior walls and insulation to enhance energy efficiency and comfort inside the shed. Using quality materials ensures the shed is sturdy, weather-resistant, and long-lasting.

Gambrel Roof Vs Mansard: Which One To Choose?

How to Build a Gambrel Roof?

When deciding between a gambrel roof vs. mansard, consider the architectural style and practical needs of your building. A Gambrel roof is ideal for those seeking a traditional, rustic look with ample attic space, making it perfect for barns and colonial homes. 

In contrast, a Mansard roof offers a sophisticated appearance and maximizes living space on the upper floors, suitable for urban environments and elegant home designs. Each roof style has its own set of advantages, and the choice will depend on your specific requirements and aesthetic preferences.


Distinctive Points

Gambrel Roof

Mansard Roof

Number of Slopes

Two slopes on each side

Four slopes (two on each side)


Symmetrical with a steep lower slope and shallow upper slope

Steep lower slopes and shallow upper slopes

Space Efficiency

Maximizes attic space

Creates additional living space on upper floors

Historical Usage

Common in colonial and barn designs

Popular in French architecture, often in urban settings

Aesthetic Appeal

The traditional and rustic look

Elegant and sophisticated appearance

Installation Complexity

Easier to construct

More complex and labor-intensive

How Much Does a Gambrel Roof Cost? 

How Much Does a Gambrel Roof Cost?

The gambrel roof cost can vary depending on several factors such as the size and complexity of your roof, roofing materials used, labor costs, and location. On average, a Gambrel roof can cost anywhere from $10 to $20 per square foot. This includes both materials and labor costs.

If you choose to use more expensive materials such as slate or copper shingles, the cost can increase significantly. It is important to research and compare prices from different suppliers and contractors to get the best deal for your budget.

How Professional Roofing Contractors Can Help You With Gambrel Roof  House Installation? 

Professional roofing contractors can help you with Gambrel Roof House installation by providing expert design and structural guidance, ensuring the roof’s durability and functionality. They have the skills and experience to handle the complex angles and slopes of a gambrel roof, guaranteeing a precise and secure installation. Additionally, they can source high-quality materials and offer warranties for their workmanship, giving you peace of mind and a long-lasting roof.


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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