Roofs are a critical component of any building. As the highest point of a structure, roofs protect the interior from outside elements like rain, snow, wind, and sunlight. They also provide insulation to regulate interior temperatures and humidity.
There are several roof styles to choose from, each with their own advantages and best uses. The three most common roof types are gable, hip, and flat. These popular roofs have distinct designs, features, and structural differences that suit them to certain climates, budgets, and architectural aesthetics.
Types of Roofs by Auckland, NZ Roofers
Gable roofs have a triangular shape formed by two sloping sides that meet at a central ridge. The steep pitch allows precipitation to easily run off while providing space for ventilation. Gable roofs area common choice for colder climates and traditional home styles.
Unlike gable roofs, hip roofs slope inward from all four exterior walls. The angled sides meet at a central point to create a pyramid-like shape. The aerodynamic structure makes hip roofs popular in regions with high winds or heavy snowfall.
Flat roofs have only a slight incline and appear nearly level. The simplicity makes them a cost-effective option often used in modern and commercial buildings. Flat roofs can also be utilized as additional outdoor space.
The ideal roof type is determined by climate, budget, architectural style, and functionality. This comprehensive guide examines the pros and cons of gable, hip, and flat roofs to inform homeowners on selecting the right roof.
Gable roofs are one of the most popular roofing styles. Their angled shape is iconic in American homes and suits both traditional and modern designs.
What is a Gable Roof
A gable roof contains two sloping sides that meet at a central ridge to form a triangle. The vertical gable ends create a distinctive peaked house shape. Gable roofs have open eaves and feature a pitched roof line on at least two sides of the structure.
The angle or pitch of the two roof slopes is designed to allow optimal precipitation runoff based on climate. Areas with heavy snow often require steeper pitches approaching 45 degrees. Regions with milder weather only need a low-angle pitch of 30 degrees for sufficient drainage.
Gable roofs can utilize various construction materials like asphalt shingles, metal panels, wood shakes, or tile. The gable ends themselves may remain open or closed off with vertical wall panels.
Types of Gable Roofs by a Roofing Company in Auckland, NZ
There are a few common gable roof variations:
Front Gable Roof: The triangle gable sits above the main entrance, drawing attention to the door. The roof ridge runs parallel to the front of the house in this traditional design.
Side Gable Roof: The most popular option with gable ends on the sides and door underneath one eave. Side gable roofs have a more understated look than the front facing style.
Cross Gable Roof: For more complex homes, cross gables feature two or more gable sections intersecting perpendicularly. The overlapping ridges provide visual interest and allow for extra ventilation.
Advantages of Gable Roofs by Auckland, NZ Roofing Contractors
Gable roofs offer numerous beneficial features:
- Easy to Construct: Simple triangular framing makes gable roofs cheaper and less complex to build than other roof types.
- Good Ventilation: The pitched shape and open eaves encourage air circulation, preventing moisture buildup and heat retention.
- Attic Space: Gable roofs maximize unused space under the slope that can be converted into living areas or storage.
- Drainage: Angled sides allow snow, leaves, and rain to easily run off into gutters without pooling on the roof.
- Cost Effective: Affordable materials plus simple construction make gable roofs a budget-friendly option.
Disadvantages of Gable Roofs by a Roofing Company in Auckland NZ
Potential drawbacks of gable roofs involve:
- Wind Damage: Overhanging eaves and broad exposed area can be damaged by heavy winds and hurricanes.
- Energy Inefficiency: Poor insulation and air gaps may lead to higher heating and cooling costs.
- Requires Framing: Additional walls, beams, and supports essential underneath for strength.
Best Suited For
Gable roof properties make them well suited for:
- Colder Climates: Steep pitch aids snow slide-off in regions with heavy winter precipitations.
- Budget Conscious Builds: Simplistic affordable construction ideal for those with limited funds.
- Traditional Architectural Styles: Iconic gable silhouette complements colonial, craftsman, and cap cod homes.
In general, a basic gable roof works well in most temperate or subtropical climates. Their versatility and classic appearance continue to make gable roofs prevalent across America.
Hip Roofs by Roofers in Auckland
Unlike gable roofs, hip roofs slope inward from all four exterior walls. This firefighter shape makes them easily recognizable and better equipped for high wind and wet weather.
What is a Hip Roof
Hip roofs contain four triangle sides that slope downwards from perimeter walls to converge at a central ridge or point. Because hip roofs only have inclined planes without vertical gable ends, they create an angled pyramid-like silhouette.
The versatile hip style can integrate additional elements like dormers or cross hip sections over wings. Multi-level hip roofs may feature a lower secondary roof that attaches to the primary hip roof perimeter.
Much like gable roofs, hip roofs come in a variety of construction materials such as asphalt shingle, tile, metal, and wood shake. The optimal pitch angle ranges between 30 to 45 degrees based on regional climate factors.
Types of Hip Roofs in Auckland
There are three major hip roof classifications:
Regular Hip: Simplest style with four triangle sides connected at center ridge with same moderate pitch.
Half-Hip: Contains two hip ends and two short gable ends for an L-shape design (half hip/half gable).
Cross-Hip: Perpendicular intersecting hip planes over different sections of complex structures.
Advantages of Hip roofs
Benefits provided by hip roofs involve:
- Excellent Wind Resistance: Aerodynamic angled sides better withstand high velocity winds.
- Efficient Drainage: All sides slope down to prevent precipitation buildup and promote runoff.
- Wraparound Gutters: Gutters can fully encircle perimeter with no vertical gable ends.
- Added Ventilation: Continuous incline and lack of gables encourage cross airflow.
Disadvantages of Auckland Hip Roofs
Potential negatives associated with hip roofs:
- Complex Builds: Compound angles make construction more challenging and expensive.
- Skilled Labor: Precise calculations and cutting for integrated hip planes.
- Snow Management: Possible ice damming along lower edges of the roof.
Best Suited For
Due to performance advantages, hip roofs work effectively in:
- High Wind Regions: Aerodynamic slopes limit storm damage in hurricane zones.
- Heavy Snow Areas: Slope prevents accumulation loading and darting ice.
- Contemporary Architecture: Sleek angled silhouette fits modern home aesthetics.
In cooler climates with harsh weather, hip roofs prevail as a smart roof choice. Their integrated drainage planes also complement modern house plans.
Flat roofs provide a literal elevated horizontal surface. Their minimal pitch allows easy installation but requires careful waterproofing.
What is a Flat Roof
Despite the naming convention, flat roofs actually have a slight incline ranging from 1%-15%. This subtle slope facilitates drainage without noticeably raising any one side. By contrast, “sloped” roofs exceed 15 degrees pitch.
Flat roofs consist of layered water-resistant membranes laid over roof decking without angles, peaks, or vertical sides. This basic shape can continue linearly or bend at borders to create a low curvature.
Durable materials like thermoset membranes, coated metal, concrete, and modified bitumen compose flat roof assemblies capable of handling environmental exposures. These topped surfaces often integrate functional fixtures too.
Types of Flat Roofs
There are three predominant flat roof classifications:
Membrane: Layer of rubberized material bonds over roof decking for flexible waterproof barrier.
Built Up (BUR): Hot mopping of overlapping tar and graveled material layers.
Modified Bitumen: Composite sheets with plastic and rubber reinforcements for durability.
Advantages of Flat Roofs
Appealing benefits of flat roofing:
- Cost Effective: Minimal materials and uncomplicated construction reduce project expenses.
- Easy Installation: Level surface allows faster application without complex framing tasks.
- Outdoor Space Utilization: Flat plane creates usable surface for decks, vegetation, solar arrays.
- HVAC Equipment Positioning: Provides area to locate utilities away from living spaces.
Disadvantages of Flat Roofs
Potential disadvantages associated with flat roofs involve:
- Leaks: Subtle slope, seams, and penetrations increase chance of water entry and retention.
- Maintenance: Require frequent inspections and renewal of surface treatments against weathering.
- Limited Drainage: Susceptible to ponding water accumulation causing roof overload.
Best Suited For
Flat roof attributes make them ideal for:
- Commercial Buildings: Cost and space benefits maximized on offices, warehouses, and retail.
- Modern Residential: Contemporary architectural designs favor minimalist flat roof dynamics.
- Warm, dry climates: Where reduced precipitation and solar intensity limit weathering threats.
Flat roofs prevail on commercial buildings but also suit modern homes in temperate environments. Their expansive tops can morph into functional outdoor spaces as well.
Key Considerations When Choosing a Roof
Many variables influence the optimal roof type for a home or building. Carefully evaluate the following criteria when deciding among gable, hip, and flat roofing:
Climate and Weather – Regional temperature, precipitation levels, storm frequency and solar exposure should match capable roof performance.
Budget – Labor, material, and maintenance costs vary among roof types so balance expense with longevity.
Architectural Style – A home’s aesthetics typically align with standard roof profiles used on associated house types.
Future Solar Plans – Solar panel installation compatibility affects some roof choices more than others.
Outdoor Space Needs – Options like flat roofs allow recreational use while pitched roofs minimize it.
Attic Storage – Gable and hip roofs permit conversion of unused attic space beneath their slopes.
Lifespan Considerations – Compare material durability and factors like sun/hail resistance when estimating roof longevity.
Maintenance Requirements – Weight the regular care demands from minor to major based on roof style, climate exposure, and access difficulty.
Numerous traditional and modern construction materials get utilized across gable, hip and flat roof buildings. Review options compatible with your roof type and environmental performance needs below:
Asphalt Shingles – Budget roofing layers bonded by asphalt sealant to form water-shedding shingles, have paper or fiberglass backing. Its versatility, affordability, and ease of installation make asphalt shingles the most common residential roofing material.
Wood Shakes/Shingles – Shingles sliced from cedar logs or hand split wood shakes make rustic and natural roof covering. However, susceptibility to mold, moss, and fire make wood roofing high maintenance.
Slate or Tile – Professional installation required for these heavy overlapping ceramic or stone slab roof systems, but longevity and beauty rewards the investment. Mortar options available too.
Metal – Copper, zinc, galvanized steel and aluminum can be fabricated into standing seam panels or imitation shingles. Costs more but metals are extremely weather resistant for minimal upkeep.
Membranes – Built up, modified, and single ply membranes made of thermoset rubbers, thermoplastics, or polyvinyls bond as continuous waterproof barriers on flat roofs. Offer 10-30 year lifespans.
Coatings – Solar reflective elastomeric white acrylic or silicone coatings renew flat roof lifespan at lower cost than full replacement. However lifespan averages 10 years or less.
Consider hiring a professional roofer for recommendations on materials that will perform best in your area. They can also evaluate existing materials if replacing an old or storm damaged roof.
Hiring a Roofer in Auckland, NZ
Unless you have extensive construction experience, hire a licensed and insured professional roofer for roof installations and replacements. Ensure you pick the right roofer by asking these key questions:
- What professional certifications and training do you have?
- Are you licensed, bonded, and insured for liability and worker injury?
- How many years have you been specializing in roof installation and repair?
- Can you provide references from recent residential roofing projects?
- Do crew members undergo background checks and random drug screening?
- Will there be a project manager/point of contact for my job?
- What manufacturers’ roofing materials and warranties do you use?
- How long will my installation take and what preparation is required?
- What are your most common installations between shingle, metal, flat, slate etc?
Insist on seeing current credentials, insurance paperwork, and a portfolio with project pictures. The best roofers will happily provide extensive proof of qualifications.
Roof Design Trends
In addition to classic roof looks, some emerging styles and integrated features are increasing in popularity:
Cool Metal Roofs – Specialized metal roofing products with reflective pigments or unique paint colors aim to reduce solar heat absorption. Cool metal can lower interior home temperatures while preserving curb appeal.
Green Roofs – Used more prominently on commercial buildings, green roofs have a layered drainage system supporting soil and living vegetation on flat or low sloped buildings. The plants cool interior air and reduce storm water runoff.
Solar Integrated – Active solar shingles or subtle solar panels embed directly into roofing assemblies as integrated photovoltaic systems or “BIPV”. These flush mount solar roofs generate renewable electricity from the sun.
Synthetic Alternatives – Manufactured polymer based shingles attempt to replicate wood or slate while improving durability and application consistency. These composites include rubber and plastic formulations.
Responsive Technologies – Internet connected roof sensors can now monitor rain, sun and thermal patterns while diagnosing leaks automatically. This data gets processed to improve weather planning and inform preventative repairs.
Roof Maintenance Best Practices
Normal environmental exposure, aging, severe weather events and ineffective draining leads to roof damage over time. Maintain roof integrity through these standard care procedures:
Clear Debris: Remove branches, leaves, moss beds or debris that ultimately retains moisture and accelerates deterioration. Carefully inspect hidden areas too.
Unclog Gutters: Ensure water flows freely from roof drainage points. Signs of overflow indicate gutter cleaning needs.
Anchor Loose Elements: Fasten back down any warped flashing, detached shingles, or protruding nails that undermine water resilience.
Pest Management: Squirrels, raccoons and birds that infiltrate attic space often enter through roof gaps. Monitor and block access holes.
Scrutinize Vulnerable Zones: Check areas like dormers, hips, skylights and plumbing vents likely to leak plus wear faster from weather or foot traffic.
Renew Surface Coatings: Re-apply special sealer products to protect flat or metal roof materials from oxidation and UV damage over time.
Conduct Annual Inspections: Make roof wellbeing evaluations routine before and after seasons of intense weather. Inspection by a roofer every few years provides experienced diagnostic insight too. Stay actively attentive and you’ll maximize a roof’s safe working lifespan.
Working at heights makes roof installation and repair uniquely hazardous occupations. Safety procedures and equipment prevents grievous injuries:
Harnesses and Rope Systems – Tie into anchored cables or ropes via a harness when working near unprotected roof edges. This arrests falls.
Perimeter Warnings – Mark work zones with visible boundary markers like ropes and flashing markers to prevent dangerous proximity to vulnerable edges.
Slide Protection – Secure roofing materials during transport up ladders onto roofs. Wind or slipping items become dangerous projectiles.
Footwear Traction – Wear shoes with grip and stability like rubber soles to avoid slipping on smooth or inclined roof planes.
Environmental Planning – Delay work during severe winds or heavy precipitation that amplifies falling and dropping risks.
Training Reinforcement – Continue practicing emergency maneuvers and equipment protocols through refresher seminars.
Cost of a New Roof
Average costs to install a new roof range from $6,000 to $14,000 depending on many variable expenses:
Roof Size: Costs correlate directly to full roof square footage, calculated horizontally as length x width.
Material Types: Asphalt shingles cost less than premium wood shakes, tile, metal or slate options.
Access Difficulty: Multi-story homes or complex architecture increase equipment/labor efforts.
Removal Services: Tear-off and disposal of old roofing or structural reinforcements add expenses prior to new roof installation.
Repairs Needed: Addressing punky decking, leaks, flashing issues or insulation requirements inflates project scope and pricing.
Location Factors: Overhead like local dump fees, building permits, and insurance minimums vary by region too.
Contractor Bid: Get at least three binding contractor bids for accurate cost comparisons in your exact area.
Signs You Need a New Roof
While roofs eventually require replacement due to normal aging, assess these warning signs signaling more immediate roof renewal needs:
Over 20 Years Old: Asphalt shingle lifespans under extended UV, heat and frigid exposure rarely exceed 20-25 years before cracking and lifting occurs.
Prior Repairs: Repairing a roof more than once usually indicates systemic issues necessitating full replacement for a properly functioning roof system.
Visible Leaks: Persistent water stains on interior walls or ceilings confirms breaches in waterproofing needing extensive repair likely exceeding deteriorated roof value.
Substantial Moss Buildup: Thick moss beds prevent proper roof drainage and retains moisture against shingles or tiles, accelerating weathering.
Lost Shingles: Spotting multiple missing or cracked shingles hints at broad degradation making simple repairs pointless.
Interior Water Stains: Leaks causing interior cosmetic or structural damage makes tear off and replacement urgent before mold concerns emerge.
High Energy Bills: Poor insulation coupled with inadequate waterproofing raises HVAC run times and costs.
Buckling Shingles: Wavy shingles or tiles indicate problems with adhesive failure, moisture saturation, or decking issues underneath.
Don’t risk further exterior damage or unhealthy interior conditions. Contact a reputable roofer to schedule a diagnostic inspection when debating between roof repairs vs. roof replacement.
Roofing Terms Glossary
Asphalt Shingles: Most common roofing material composed of an asphalt coated ceramic granule surface bonded to a fiberglass or organic paper backing. Used on sloped roofs.
Attic Ventilation: Intentional interior airflow exchange between occupied house and attic spaces to manage temperature and condensation. Creates passive ventilation through gaps, ducting and turbines.
Box Gable: Gable roof extension where triangle edges run vertically parallel to main walls rather than sloping directly from roof peak to side eaves. Creates an overhang appearance.
Built Up Roofing (BUR): Time-intensive flat roof assembly method that hot mops overlapping asphalt/tar layers reinforced by coated felts or fabrics. Topped with an aggregate layer like gravel for protection and ballast.
Certified Roofing Contractor: Designates professional roofing contractor credentialed by manufacturer associations or independent exam boards. Confirms technical competency through testing.
Cool Roof Systems: Roofs made of highly solar reflective materials, multi-layered assemblies or unique paint colors that absorb less heat. Used to regulate interior temperatures passively.
Flashing: Sheet metal strips, valleys, and vertical joints designed to divert water runoff safely away from vulnerable roof transitions and architectural joints. Prevents seepage through gaps.
Low Slope Roofing: Any roof with a pitch less than 3/12, making it appear nearly flat. Requires meticulous waterproofing techniques for sufficient weather resistance.
Mansard Roof: Iconic steep multi-angled French roof style with upper and lower roof slopes on all four sides. Creates additional attic space and an aesthetic architectural focal point.
Membrane Roofing: Single ply rubber sheets with thermoset and thermoplastic waterproof membranes that fully adhere to commercial flat roof assemblies without seams. Long lifespan but difficult repairs.
Metal Roofing Panels: Interlocking metal sheets fabricated from galvanized steel, zinc, copper and titanium provide extreme weather resistance for sloped roof buildings. More lifespan than shingles.
Pitch: The quantitative slope angle measurement of a roof expressed as X inch rise per 12 inches of horizontal run. Low pitch roofs range below 6/12 pitch and steep roofs exceed 9/12 pitch.
Rafters: Structural triangular frames made of angled lumber, wood beams or manufactured metal trusses that provide inhabited space underneath while bearing roof loads above.
Rubber Roofing: Durable flat roof waterproofing solution of ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubber single ply sheets bonded fully to roof boards or insulated substrates. 30-50 year lifespans.
Standing Seam Metal Roof: Interlocking raised vertical metal sheets joined without penetrations. Flexible expansion and contraction makes it suitable for complex roofs. More resilient than exposed fastener metal roofs.
Thermal Movement: The expansion and contraction roofing materials undergo as temperatures fluctuate. These forces must be accounted for in quality roof products to prevent issues like material buckling.
TPO Roof Membrane: Thermoplastic polyolefin single-ply heat-welded roof membranes valued for superior durability and energy efficiency. Used on flat commercial roofs.
Valleys: Internal roof diagonal seams and transitions across intersecting sloped roof planes and hip joints. Valleys endure extreme precipitation runoff making them leak prone.
Wind Uplift: Powerful upward wind forces exerted on the roof. Roof structures in very windy climates need uplift resistance factored into engineering and robust shingle sealing for resilience.
Gable, hip and flat roofing all serve the fundamental purpose of protecting a home or building from the elements. Yet notable differences in slope, structure, climate suitability and aesthetics make certain roof types preferable in specific situations. Consider all functional performance variables as well as costs, architectural synergy, and expected lifespan during evaluation. In regions with more extreme weather, prioritize resilience in your roofing selection. With regular inspection and maintenance, quality roofs can provide decades of safety with a quick call to a roofer at the first signs of trouble. Invest wisely at installation and the payoffs will come through reliable performance, energy savings, and lasting curb appeal!