Gambrel Roof: Here’s Everything You Need to Know About It

Gambrel Roof: Here’s Everything You Need to Know About It

The type of roof you choose for your home can have a huge impact on its value, which is why it’s something worth thinking about. There are many roof types out there, but how do you know which one to choose? 

Don’t worry; we’ll make it easier for you. Have you heard about a gambrel roof? Many homeowners are not familiar with the term, but they are once they see what it looks like. 

Gambrel roofs are often seen in barns and garages, but they’re also used in mansions and Dutch Colonial-style houses. It is recognizable through its symmetrical structure and two-sided slopes on each side.  

Gambrel Roof

Take a look at what you can learn from this article:

This Article Contains

A History of the Gambrel Roof

It is believed that a gambrel roof first made its presence known in 1677 at Harvard University. From then on, the use of this type of roof spread across the US—from Maine to other coastal regions. After some time, it was then inspired by Europeans who used it for their Georgian homes. 

Gambrel vs. Mansard vs. Gable

A lot of people confuse gambrel with mansard roof types. Gambrels have two symmetrical roof sides with slopes in opposite directions, while a mansard is on a low pitch. Moreover, a mansard is a four-sided structure, and it doesn’t feature a ridge in the middle because the upper parts are not steep enough. 

On the other hand, a gable roof has two roof sections that slope in opposite directions. This type of roof doesn’t provide enough attic space, but it can definitely withstand extreme weather conditions. 

What sets a gambrel roof apart from a gable roof is its design flexibility. To illustrate, it’s possible to build bigger gambrel roof sheds, which you can’t do with a gable roof. This is because a gambrel is designed to maximize space. 

The Types of Gambrel Roof Designs

There are three types of gambrel roof you can get today: 

  1. Classic: This is the most common gambrel roof design, which is often seen on barn and shed roofs. Its two-pitch design allows for more attic space.
  2. Mansard: This is a French-style roof that has an identical shape to a gambrel.
  3. Wall-supported: If you want the most beautiful gambrel roof, this one’s for you. It has no ridge boards, which makes it aesthetically pleasing. 

Why You Should Choose a Gambrel Roof for Your Home

Now, let’s explore the benefits of a gambrel roof and why it’s a good fit for your home: 

  • Versatile: One of the best things about a gambrel roof is that you can use it for different home styles. Whether you own a Georgian-style home or a Dutch colonial-style home, you can install a gambrel roof to that, and it will not look out of place at all. Moreover, since the top part of the roof is almost vertical, you get more space should you wish to have another floor. 
  • Timeless: Did you know that a gambrel roof is a symbol of Colonial America? This is because it was made popular in North America first; therefore, it’s part of their historical heritage. With that, a gambrel roof has a classic and timeless design to it that you can enjoy for many years to come. 
  • Easy Build: Another great thing about gambrel roofs is that they’re easy to build because of the lack of any complex joints or valleys to fit together. In fact, the underlying structure of this roof only has two wooden beams with gusset joints. 
  • Affordable: A gambrel roof has a simple design, which impacts its price. That said, you can get a gambrel roof for a reasonable price, which is why it’s one of the most cost-effective roof styles available today. Furthermore, it’s easy to install and maintain as well. 
  • Good drainage: Gambrel roofs have good drainage, thanks to their steep slope structure. You don’t have to worry about heavy rainfalls because this type of roof can simply let water flow down the side of your home. 
  • More Space: Due to the lower slopes of this roof, you get more headspace, which is excellent if you want to have more attic space. You will also notice that many gambrel roofs have dormer windows. This is because they let homeowners optimize the space even more. 

Why a Gambrel Roof May Not Be an Excellent Idea

Along with advantages, a gambrel roof has its disadvantages as well. For one, it requires regular maintenance, such as annual roof inspections, to ensure that there are no issues or damages to the material. This can be an issue if you are looking for a roof that only requires minimal maintenance. 

Another thing is that a gambrel roof isn’t the best option if you live in an area that experiences extreme weather. If you often experience heavy snow or high winds, they can put a strain on the structure that can lead to leaks. On the other hand, if you still prefer a gambrel roof, you need to reinforce the joint gussets and waterproof the ridges. 

Finally, if you have an attic space, a gambrel roof may cause some ventilation issues that can lead to a build-up of moisture in the attic. 

How Long Does it Last? 

There are many factors that contribute to the lifespan of a gambrel roof, such as the installation, design, materials, maintenance, and climate. If your gambrel roof is installed properly, then it can last for a hundred years. On the other hand, it won’t be as durable if it’s not installed properly by a professional. 


Now that you know everything about a gambrel roof, do you think it’s the right one for you? Indeed, it’s one of the most beautiful roof styles today, but it’s essential you weigh your options. Roofs should last for a long time and shouldn’t give you a headache in the future. Therefore, choose wisely. The good news? Gambrels are an excellent type of roof that is worth the investment. You just need to make sure it’s installed properly using high-quality materials, by trusted roofing professionals.

Ready for a Gambrel roof? Southern Premier Roofing is a reliable Raleigh roofing contractor. We offer affordable prices on roofing and other projects not only in Raleigh, but also in Fayetteville, Hope Mills, and Charlotte. Get a quote today! 

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