Gambrel Roof Vs Mansard Roof: Key Differences You Must Know

Gambrel Roof Vs Mansard Roof Key Differences Your Must Know

When it comes to the design of your roof, there are many options to choose from. Two popular choices are the Gambrel and Mansard roofs. Both styles have their own unique features and benefits, but which one is right for you? 

Both types are the curb roof variety, meaning they have a gentle slope on each side. This makes them ideal for areas with heavy snowfall or high winds.

In this comparison guide, we will break down the differences between the Gambrel and Mansard roofs to help you make an informed decision.

What is a Gambrel Roof?

What is Gambrel Roof

The Gambrel roof, also known as a Dutch Colonial or barn-style roof, is characterized by its two slopes on each side of the roof. The lower slope has a steeper pitch than the upper slope, creating a distinct bell-shaped curve. 

This design allows for more space in the attic area and can provide additional living space or storage. 

This style originated in Europe and was popularized in America during the 18th century. 

How to Build a Gambrel Roof? 

To build a Gambrel roof, start with a basic gable roof and add steeper slopes on each side. This is usually done by framing the upper slope with a smaller pitch than the lower slope. 

This creates more headroom and living space in the attic area. The steep angles of the lower slope also allow for efficient water runoff, making it a practical choice for areas with heavy snowfall. 

Use lumber to create rafters and secure them to the top plates of your walls. Make sure they are evenly spaced and appropriately secured.

What is a Mansard Roof?

What is a Mansard Roof

A Mansard roof, also known as a French roof, features four slopes, two on each side of the structure. The lower slope is steeper than the upper slope, creating a distinct bell-shaped curve.

Mansard Types 

There are three mansard roof types which are as follows: 

  1. Straight Mansard: This type of mansard roof has a small top slope with a vertical lower slope. The upper top slope can not be seen standing at the ground level. You can even install dormer windows for ventilation and light to pass. 
  2. Convex Mansard: It has a lower roof curved outside like a bell. This adds a great deal of extra space in the attic rooms.
  3. Concave Mansard: Like straight mansards, these roofs have a flat upper slope and a steep lower, curved inward. However, this type of roof only lends a little space, as other mansard types do.  
  4. S-Shape Mansard: It is a blend of both convex and concave mansard roofs. It begins by carving inward and and finishes by carving outward. 

Gambrel Roof Advantages and Disadvantages

Gambrel Roof Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Increased Living Space: Similar to the Mansard roof, the Gambrel roof allows for more living space in the top floor rooms due to its steep lower slope.
  • Cost-Effective: The design of the Gambrel roof makes it relatively easy and affordable to construct compared to other types of roofs.
  • Better Drainage: The double-sloped gambrel roof design allows for better drainage, preventing water from pooling on the roof and causing damage.
  • Easy to Build: The simple design of the Gambrel roof makes it easy for contractors to build, reducing labor costs and construction time.
  • Versatility in Design: While traditionally used on barns and colonial-style homes, the Gambrel roof design can also be incorporated into modern architecture by adding a sleeker finish or skylights for natural lighting.
  • Extra Space: The angled sides of the Gambrel roof provide additional space in the attic, making it ideal for storage or potentially converting into a living space.
  • Durable: The steep slope of the Gambrel roof allows for better snow and debris management, reducing the risk of damage to the roof and increasing its overall durability.
  • Energy Efficient: The design of the Gambrel roof allows for proper ventilation, reducing heat buildup in the attic and ultimately decreasing energy costs.


  • Limited Insulation: Due to its steep slope, it can be challenging to properly insulate attic spaces with a Gambrel roof. This may result in higher heating and cooling costs.
  • Vulnerability to Weather Damage: The flatter top portion of the roof is more susceptible to wind damage, especially in areas prone to strong storms or hurricanes.
  • Maintenance and Repair Costs: As with any multi-level roof, the maintenance and repair costs for a Gambrel roof can be higher than traditional single-level roofs.

Mansard Roof Advantages And Disadvantages

Mansard Roof Advantages And Disadvantages


  • Increased Living Space: The steep lower slope of a Mansard roof allows for additional living space in the attic or top floor of the building. This can be especially beneficial for smaller homes.
  • Versatility in Design: The flat upper slope of a Mansard roof allows for flexibility in design options such as adding dormer windows or incorporating skylights.
  • Easy Maintenance: Due to its relatively simple design, Mansard roofs require less maintenance compared to other types of roofs.
  • Energy Efficiency: The double-sloped design of a Mansard roof allows for better insulation, resulting in lower energy bills and a more comfortable living environment.
  • Extra Space:  The vertical sides of a Mansard roof provide additional wall space for windows, allowing for more natural light to enter the building.


  • Cost: Mansard roofs can be more expensive to construct compared to traditional gable or hip roofs due to their complex design and need for skilled labor.
  • Limited Roofing Options: Due to its unique shape, a Mansard roof may have limited options for roofing materials, resulting in higher costs and fewer choices.
  • Weather Vulnerability: The flat upper slope of a Mansard roof makes it more susceptible to damage from strong winds or heavy snowfall.
  • Drainage Issues: If not properly designed and maintained, the lower slope of a Mansard roof can lead to drainage problems and water pooling, which can cause leaks and potential roof damage.
  • Maintenance: The complex design of a Mansard roof may require more maintenance compared to traditional roofs, especially for gutter cleaning and repair work on the steeper upper slope.

Gambrel Roof Vs Mansard Roof  

Feature Gambrel Roof Mansard Roof
Shape Two symmetrical sides Four sloping sides
Slope Variation Two slopes on each side Usually two slopes on each side
Design Origin Dutch origin French origin
Popularity Popular in North America Common in Europe
Architectural Style Often used in barns, homes Preferred for classical architecture
Storage Space Large attic or loft space High potential for extra rooms
Complexity Relatively simple construction More complex design
Historical Period 17th century onwards 16th century, revived 19th century


After extensively comparing Gambrel vs Mansard roofs, it’s clear that both styles offer unique aesthetic appeal and functional benefits. Whether you’re drawn to the classic elegance of the Mansard or the spaciousness of the Gambrel, your choice ultimately depends on your personal preferences and practical needs.

When it comes to making the right decision for your roof, DKG Roofing is here to assist you with expert roof inspection, repair, and selection. Our team is dedicated to ensuring that your roof not only enhances the beauty of your home but also provides lasting protection. 

Call us at (940) 497-2833 to discuss your roofing needs and take the first step toward a secure and stunning roof for your home.

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.

Follow Us

Recent Posts