Starting in the 1600s, barn buildings in North America began to commonly have gabled roofs, sometimes known as Dutch colonial roofs. This kind of roof can be recognised by its symmetrical yet sloped appearance. It has two symmetrical sides with steep slopes sloping in opposing directions. Its lower sides have a higher slope than its two top sides.
Because their several peaks connect at various angles, gambrel roofs fall within the category of multi-pitched roofs in modern architecture. Gable gambrel, dormer gambrel, and the new-style valley gambrel are its three sub-types. It is frequently mistaken for the mansard roof, although this one slopes in two different ways.
What is The Purpose of a Gambrel Roof?
This roofing is designed to pack a larger visual punch at its most basic level. Beyond that, though, the steeper edges expand the storage area underneath it. By boosting headroom, it also provides greater living space on the upper levels of the building. This is the rationale behind the adoption of this roof design on barns, sheds, and garages.
Gambrel Roof Advantages
Here are some benefits of choosing these roofs so that you can see why they are so popular.
- It has a distinctive architectural feel. The colonial architecture lends the house a charming, Georgian or Dutch feel. It is more elegant than typical flat roofs and other contemporary roof designs.
- Contains fewer building materials. It is more economical in terms of labor and materials because it requires fewer beams or columns during installation. Overall, fewer sets of gusset joints and two roof beams are needed. Therefore, you may also list “simple to build” as one of its benefits.
- Provides improved drainage. The roof’s steep slopes provide improved drainage since rainfall may readily run off to the sides without pooling at the joints where the gutter pipe is attached. This implies that you would also save money in the long run on potential water and moisture issues.
- It continues longer. These roofs outlive other styles of roofs when the proper materials are employed. In fact, some withstand use for more than a decade before needing renovation. It is a fantastic investment just based on this.
- Expands the available space. These roofs, as has already been established, provide multi-story homes extra headroom. This extra room can be utilised as storage or an attic room. You increase the waterproofness once you shingle the edges. To acquire natural light, you can even add windows to your roof style.
A number of materials can be used to build it. Slates, wood, or asphalt are a few of the materials that can be utilised for these roofs. As a result, you can use the information that is most pertinent to your location. Various materials can also be used to match it with.
Gambrel Roof Disadvantages
Like many other roofing systems, it is not flawless. The drawbacks of gambrel roofs are listed below for your consideration.
- Demonstrates inadequate resistance to snow slush. The gambrel roof’s flatter side is not designed for snow accumulation, and this is obvious. If this is not addressed right away, snow accumulation may result in damage and even possible structure collapse.
- Susceptible to uneven wear Gambrel roofs are more vulnerable to uneven wear since different material combinations might be utilised to create them. For it to last a long period, regular maintenance inspections are necessary.
- It is not conducive to retrofitting. The drawback of this form of roofing is that it cannot be upgraded once it wears out or when it is too obvious to even fix. Contractors who are unfamiliar with the design run the risk of doing complete damage.
- Gusts of wind can damage it more easily. Gambrel roofs are susceptible to damage in some areas with year-round, stronger-than-average winds. Since there is an unequal air flow over the steep slopes compared to the lower slopes, it has nothing to do with aerodynamics.
- It needs to be waterproofed. You must make sure that there are waterproofing shingles around the ridges in order to strengthen it with snow damages down the stretch. This will increase the price of your gambrel roofing plan.
- Ventilation problems exist with certain designs. Insulation may be a concern, despite the fact that it increases headroom. All of the hot, humid air rises as a result. However, that presents even another issue because the precipitation from the hot air may eventually reduce structural integrity.
Where is Gambrel Roofing More Prevalent?
One is that gambrel is the preferred roofing material for barns and farms. In addition to Georgian and Dutch colonial residences, they can also be installed in log cabins. Its spaciousness has demonstrated its usefulness in incorporating additional living areas like an attic room or a loft as they are included in modern or mid-century residences.
Are There Types of Gambrel Roof?
Yes. There are three different kinds of gambrel roofs.
You can mix a gambrel roof with another roof style for a distinctive and contemporary appearance. The most popular roof designs to mix gambrel with are hipped and gable.
To allow for additional natural light inside the house, you need dormers. This seems crucial for the additional living spaces the gambrel offers. One large dormer or a number of smaller ones could be present across the roof.
A wide overhanging gambrel
Overhangs serve purposes beyond appearance. Along with providing shade for the patio or porch, it serves as a protective layer for the sides.
And just when you think that using gambrel calls for conservatism, you need to reconsider. This is due to the fact that you can combine the three designs discussed here into a single roof layout.
Gambrel Roof House Ideas
Here are examples of houses featuring a gambrel roof that you can refer to if you are ever thinking of having one.
Newport style home with classic gambrel roofing
This one utilises a traditional gambrel roofing. It has 5 bathrooms and 7 bedrooms on 3,481 square feet. Additionally, it has two garages, two attic rooms, and one attic storage.
Gambrel gable roofing for a colonial style home
This home’s unique gable and gambrel roof design was created to provide as much natural light into the interior spaces as possible. It has a 3-car garage, 4 bedrooms, and 2.5 bathrooms. The roof’s main pitch is 8 on 12, and its trusses make up the roof frame.
Gambrel Roof Shed Ideas
Gambrel car garage
A barn-style residence has a 12 by 16 gambrel car garage. There are two contemporary doors on it. one side door to access the tool pack and other equipment, and one roll-up door for the car passage.
Gambrel Tool Shed
This particular one is an 8 by 8 one-door gambrel tool shed that is designed to hold large equipment, other gardening tools, and machinery used for all kinds of home maintenance tasks.
Gambrel Roof vs Mansard Roof
These two varieties of roofing are both of European heritage. Mansard is a French word, while gambling is a Dutch word. Mansard has four sides with double slopes, whereas gambrel has two sides with steeper slopes that face opposite directions. This is the main distinction between the two.
Mansard is more challenging to install and maintain than gambrel. They are comparable in other ways as well. For additional weatherproofing, both can be shingled. On the structure’s top floor, they increase headroom as well. As for drawbacks, they have similar susceptibilities to snow accumulation and wind damage.
Gambrel Roof vs Gable Roof
The most popular type of roof frame is a gable roof. It has four steep sides or pitches and is constructed in the shed style. These are specifically designed to prevent wind, rain, and snow from harming the roofing. In contrast to the disadvantage of gambrel roofs, gables give more ventilation because of the additional headspace they create.
However, gambrel roofs are intended to provide greater storage space, and as they are taller than gable roofs, they may be able to do so. In comparison to gable roofs, it is also regarded as a roofing that is more flexible.
History of Gambrel Roof
The gambrel roof has a long history that begins in the eighteenth century. This roof was known as the “Dutch Roof” during that time, especially in England and North America. The Medieval Latin term gamba, which implies a leg or a horse’s hock, is where the name “gambrel” comes from.
The Mansard roof, which was the original name for the roof in Europe, is still used today. The similarity between the mansard roof and the roof is the reason behind this. The Second Harvard Hall at Harvard University, which was constructed in 1677, has the oldest roof in America that is currently known.
What is the LifeSpan of a Gambrel Roofing?
A gambrel roof’s longevity is influenced by several variables, including its design, installation, climatic conditions, building materials, maintenance requirements, and so forth. The Roof’s lifespan may range from 30 to 40 years.
According to survey results, it has been discovered that roofs that are protected or covered with a sturdy material, such as metal sheets, and that have also been constructed expertly and professionally can survive up to a century. Contrarily, these roofs coated in materials like wood or asphalt last less time than gambrel roofs made of metal. Z-piles are popular sheet piles that can be used for a variety of reasons, the pz 27 sheet piles is something that you should consider, read all about it here.
Types of Gambrel Roof Designs
This roof design can be modified depending on the user’s preferences and needs. The following are a few examples of the different gambrel roof designs.
Classic Gambrel Roof Design
It is the gambrel roof’s most widely used design. Usually, it is used to roof barns and storage sheds. This plan’s main benefit is that it uses a two-pitch design to optimize attic space.
The valley style can have several slopes, although eight slopes are most frequently seen. There are two front-facing hills on each side. This sort of gambrel roof is common in homes with square floor plans with identical lengths and widths on each side. These residences have a lot of space. Up to twelve or fourteen slopes can also be included in contemporary adaptations of the valley-style roof. It is more uncommon because of the increased complexity, which naturally extends building time and costs.
Mansard Gambrel Roof Design
It is a slightly modernized variant of the traditional mansard roof and is also frequently referred to as the French Roof design because it was widely utilized in France. This gambrel roof’s design provides excellent flexibility in terms of pitch size.
Wall-Supported Gambrel Roof Design
Because of its excellent aesthetic qualities, this pattern is used for roofing when a beautiful appearance is required. The ridge boards are not present in this type. Storage space is constrained because the lowest point of the pitch overhangs the house’s eaves. As a result, users who want to maximize the storage area should avoid the wall-supported gambrel style.
Each side of the dormer style two sides has projecting windows. Slopes are also incorporated into the design of the window roofs. Each roof slope typically includes two windows. The less common gambrel houses you see today typically feature the dormer styles.
Why Should You Choose a Gambrel Roof for Your Home?
Let’s now examine the advantages of a gambrel roof and why your house might benefit from having one:
Versatility: A roof’s ability to be used with various home types is one of its best qualities. You can add a gambrel roof to any home, whether built in the Georgian or Dutch colonial styles, and it won’t look out of place. Furthermore, if you decide to add another story, you have extra room because the top portion of the roof is nearly vertical.
Unchanging: Did you know that these roofs represent Colonial America? This is because it was first made popular in North America, making it a part of their historical legacy. As a result, a gambrel roof has a timeless and traditional design that you may appreciate for many years to come.
Simple Construction: Another fantastic feature of these roofs is their simplicity in construction, as there are no intricate troughs or joints to fit together. In actuality, there are only two gusset-jointed hardwood beams in the underpinning framework of this roof.
Affordable: A gambrel roof’s low-cost results from its straightforward design. Nevertheless, gambrel roofs are among the most economical roof designs accessible right now since they are affordable. Additionally, it’s simple to install and keep up with.
Greater Room: This roof has lower slopes, giving you additional headroom, which is great if you want more attic space. A common feature of gambrel roofs is the presence of dormer windows. This is so that homeowners can further utilize the space.
Gambrel Roof Design
A gambrel roof is a common type of roof that is mainly seen on Dutch colonial homes. A gambrel roof’s zenith is often constructed at a 30-degree angle and its second slope at a 60-degree inclination. However, the final design is determined by the builder’s and the individual’s needs. Compared to the common triangle roof shape, they are simple to construct and provide greater room. Additionally, these permit light to enter the home.
Construction of Gambrel Roof
The framing work served as the foundation for building the gambrel roof. This covers the assembly of numerous discrete trusses, which are typical of identical size. (A truss is a building made up of straight timber or steel elements attached to triangular structural units.) The size of the top roof largely determines the number of trusses needed. When every truss is finished, it is raised onto the roof. The trusses are then covered with a roof deck, which is often made of metal, wood, and shingles.
How Much Does a Gambrel Roof Cost?
Research indicates that gambrel roofs cost 10–20% more than gables. As a result, a gambrel roof would cost at least $11,000 to $20,000 more than a gable roof, which costs between $9,000 and $10,000 more.
How Long Does a Gambrel Roof Last?
Gambrel roofs are supposed to last for over 40 years, depending on how well they are maintained. Even though inspection should be done regularly, it requires less care than other kinds of roofing. Regular upkeep involves protecting it from wind, rain, and snow.
How to Build a Gambrel Roof?
The resources required to create one must be organized first:
- 2×6-sized wood trusses
- 1/4″ to 3/8″ plywood
- waterproof substance
- Set a height limit for your gambrel roof.
- Determine how many trusses are necessary to cover your home.
- Determine the length that each truss would be. The general rule of thumb for lesser angles is 60 degrees, and for higher angles, 30 degrees.
- Mark the lower and upper truss angles with a pencil or chalk. After cutting them, follow the angles’ degrees. After measuring the first truss, begin work on the others.
Getting ready to create one means gathering the necessary supplies first:
- (2-by-6-inch) wood trusses
- 3/32″ of a plywood sheet.
- Protection against water
Your gambrel roof’s height should be decided.
- Determine how many trusses you’ll need to cover your house. A minimum of 16 inches should separate the trusses.
- Establish the length of each truss. The general rule is that greater angles should be 30 degrees and lower ones 60 degrees.
- The lower and upper truss angles should be marked using a pencil or chalk. Using the angles’ degrees as a guide, cut them. After measuring the first truss, work on all of them.
How to Shingle a Gambrel Roof?
Here’s how to shingle a gambrel, which will provide greater weatherproofing.
The first step is to determine how many shingles are needed. To do this, calculate your values in square meters after measuring the roof area. As a general rule, you will require one square of shingles for every 100 square meters. The retailer would be aware of how many shingles squares you require.
When the sun is at its highest, install the shingles. It becomes more flexible and convenient to put in thanks to the heat.
From the lowest angle, begin putting the shingles. Each shingle should be nailed with nails, and any extra shingles on the sides should be trimmed using a razor. Put another set of shingles over the top of the first ones.
The shingles should be placed one on top of the other until the appropriate thickness is reached. When you get to the top, use ridge caps to finish the shingles.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Angles For a Gambrel Roof?
Gambrel roofs have a specified width, so the lower angles shouldn’t be greater than 60 degrees, and the upper angles shouldn’t be greater than 30 degrees.
How Should a Gambrel Roof be Measured?
You must input the following measurements precisely and sequentially using a gambrel calculator.
- Enter the building’s width and exact length.
- Enter the length of the overhangs at the eaves.
- Put in the overhangs of the roof’s measurement.
- Start with the pitch of the higher roof and then move on to the pitch of the lower roof.
- Type in the length of the lower pitch.
A Gambrel Roof Needs Support, But How?
A knee wall is required to provide support for almost all gambrel roofs. The connection where the slopes of the upper and lower roof meet is braced by this supporting structure. The roof’s frame or rafters are constructed and installed after the knee wall. The good news is that you wouldn’t require collar ties for a gambrel roof, so you can cut this price out of your budget.
Why do Barns Have Gambrel Roofs?
Due to the additional headroom it provides, gabled roofs are the ideal roofing type for barns. This is a valuable way to add more storage for things like vegetables, agricultural supplies, and other things. Additionally, it can be utilized to store seasonal or smaller pieces of farming equipment. It is also wise to prevent moisture buildup that can harm the farm items that are kept inside.
Why are Kentucky’s Gambrel Barn Roofs Painted Black?
This question has a practical solution rather than a beautiful one. They require the heat produced by the dark barns to raise the temperature needed for tobacco curing, a key product in that region. Creosote, which is traditionally used to make paint, is helpful for deterring termites.