Bird's eye view of a roof design.

Bird’s eye view of a roof design.

The roof of a house is not the sexiest feature; yet, it is a very prominent one no doubt. With this prominence also comes an important role in which the roof play. It provides shelter from all weather elements while helping to define the structure itself. Rain, wind, snow, and the sun are all kept at bay by the roof of our home. Some homes will have very high pitched roofs, and then there are those that have moderate and low pitches. It is not by accident that these roofs come in several heights and pitches. It was born out of necessity that roof plans take on such varying degrees of design. Therefore, designing a roof plan is critical to the overall process of a good home plan design project.

Architecture Blend
As with many other elements of residential planning, a roof plan design should blend with the house based on its style of architecture. The roof of a Tudor house should be steeply pitched with shallow eaves, as it is a key element in how the style is defined. On the other hand, a prairie style home should have a low pitch roof with very broad eaves, as this too speaks to one of several characteristics associated with this type of home.

There are many different roof configurations found on homes across America. The most common roof design types are the gable, hip, cross-gabled, cross-hipped, and dormer roofs. For the most part, you will see different variations of these across a broad assemblage of architectural styles. More specific, and arguably, less common residential roof designs include salt box, shed, gambrel, mansard, dutch gable, half-hipped, butterfly, and M-shaped. Paring these roof types with the appropriate architectural style is recommended for a home to obtain design harmony and curb appeal.

K.I.S.S. the Roof Design
Keep It Simple Stupid. As with designing a floor plan layout, the roof must also be considered when establishing the footprint of the house. For each offset, angle, or change in plate heights, there is an additional degree of difficulty from a design and construction point of view. Home builders and framing contractors can appreciate a set of plans that have a simple roof design. It saves money on the total framing job from a labor stand point and it is easy to construct. Now, contrast a simple roof with that of a more complex design having odd angles, multiple plate heights, and multiple pitches. A less than skilled framer would have a very difficult time building it and that can only lead to more money (increased cost) and more problems (roof leaks).

There have been cases that I am aware of where framing contractors abandoned jobs in the middle of framing roofs because they were to complex for them to handle. In another other example, I’ve seen home construction jobs where the framing was flawed and later lead to roof leaks. These leaks can be frustrating and costly if not corrected. None of these cases were the result of my designs I might add. However, it’s stories like these that I remain acutely aware of when I design a roof plan. The moral of the story, design the roof with a K.I.S.S.

A roof design can make or break the appearance of a home. It must be considered when developing the floor plan and determining the style of architecture of a home. Having those ideas in place will lead to a well crafted roof that should be easy to frame. Roofs are not sexy, but they are apart of the overall anatomy of a home which adds to its beauty. It is yet another piece of the puzzle in the three dimension world of home design.

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