When asked to draw their idea of a typical house, most people will draw a house with a two-sided roof. This classic two-sided roof design is called a gable roof. If your Mason City home has a gable roof, or if you’re in the process of moving and are considering a home with a gable roof, it makes sense to understand more about this roof design. At Young Construction, we have plenty of experience with gable roofs and are proud to offer this introductory guide to this timeless roof design.

Gable Roof Definition

A basic definition of a gable roof is a roof that has two sections that pitch downward until they meet a wall. The sides of each section opposite the walls meet to form the peak of the roof. On each end of a gable roof, a wall rises from the ground to the peak of the roof, creating a triangle shape from the peak down to the bottom of the roof. The word “gable” has long been used to describe roofs, potentially originating from a word meaning “top” because of the way the shape was made in primitive construction. No matter where the word comes from, it’s clear that the basic shape of a gable roof has withstood the test of time, making it a great option for your home.

Why Are Gable Roofs So Popular?

Gable roofs have many advantages over other roof styles that make them popular throughout the country and around the world. One big advantage is cost. Gable roofs are easy to build since they only require a repeating pattern of triangles in the roof trusses. This makes constructing a new gable roof quick, inexpensive, and easy. Gable roofs also promote good water drainage, thanks to their pitch. This ensures that water ends up in your gutters instead of on your home’s foundation. In climates that get heavy snow during the winter, gable roofs tend to be strong enough to carry the extra weight of the snow without being so angular that the snow falls off in large sheets unexpectedly.

Types of Gable Roofs

There are three main types of gable roofs used in residential construction. The first type of roof is called an open gable. In this roof design, both sides of the roof continue past the end walls to create an overhang. The benefit of this design is that it helps to protect your home’s foundation from moisture and creates extra space for soffits that add extra ventilation to your attic.

The second type of gable roof is called a box gable roof. This type of roof is built around a box, meaning that the ends of the roof are flush with the sides of the house. Although box gable roofs don’t have the extra overhang, they provide for some unique architectural designs and can be less expensive to install. Finally, there is the Dutch gable roof. This type of roof has a roof covering on all four sides of the home. Rather than meeting in the middle like a hip roof, though, a Dutch gable roof has a central section with a higher pitch that meets at the peak like a typical gable roof.

Mixing With Other Roof Styles

One feature of gable-style roofs that we at Young Construction appreciate is their versatility. You can add a gable roof to one or more other roof styles to create a roofline with a lot of beauty and curb appeal. For example, many modern homes combine a hip roof with one or more gable roofs over certain windows on the second story. The result is a multi-tiered roof that will help your home stand out from others in the neighborhood. When mixing multiple roof styles, the only thing to watch out for is to make sure you have proper drainage from each peak.

Increased Attic Space

Another great advantage of gable roofs is that they help increase your attic space versus a more flat roof style. By increasing the pitch of a gable roof, you can increase the ceiling height in the attic to the point that you can convert your attic into a livable space. By adding dormers to your roof, you can install windows to bring in natural light and extra ventilation. A box gable roof tends to work best when trying to add square footage to your home. This is because a box gable roof does a better job of increasing the overall height of the building, ensuring that the space at the bottom of both sides of the roof isn’t so small that it’s unusable.

Potential Drainage Difficulties

One potential drawback of a gable roof is that there are no gutters on the ends of your home to provide extra drainage. That’s one reason why we install a lot of hip roofs at Young Construction because the four-sided design allows for moisture protection all around the structure. As long as you keep your gutters clean on a home with a gable roof, though, you should be able to maintain fairly good drainage. On the ends of your home, where there are no gutters, it’s important to make sure that your yard slopes away from your home so that excess water doesn’t sit on your home’s foundation. If you continue to have problems, you can install French drains to provide extra drainage capacity.

Gable Roof Pitch

One important term in the world of gable roofs is “pitch.” The pitch of a roof is the angle at which it slopes away from the peak. When installing a gable roof, you can change the roof’s pitch by changing the size and shape of the roof trusses. Typically, the highest pitch that you’ll see on a gable roof is 45 degrees. Anything steeper than that makes it difficult to access the roof when repairs need to be made. Plus, roofs with steep pitches are less safe when heavy snow falls. The main advantage of a more aggressive pitch is that it provides better drainage during storms. However, keep in mind that a steeper pitch will result in a taller ceiling on the inside. Sometimes, this can make the space more difficult to heat and cool if you convert the attic to a finished space.

Maintaining a Gable Roof

Proper maintenance of a gable roof will help it maintain its protective qualities. One way that Young Construction recommends maintaining your roof is to clean it every few years. By removing the dark residue left behind by leaves, bird droppings, acid rain, and other natural contaminants, you will help your shingles last longer so that your roof doesn’t develop a leak. Keeping your gutters clean to allow for proper drainage is another great way to take care of your roof.

Your Roofing Experts

At Young Construction, we take pride in helping our customers select the best roof and roofing materials for their homes in Mason City, IA. We can install and repair metal roofs, shingle roofs, flat roofs, and more. Plus, we can complete your home’s transformation by installing new gutters, windows, and vinyl or steel siding. With over 20 years in the business, you can be sure that we’ll take care of you with excellent customer service and quality craftsmanship. Our top-notch results are one reason why we consistently receive five-star customer reviews. To learn more about different roof types, contact us at Young Construction today.

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