The gambrel roof is
a variation of a gabled roof that peaks at the ridgeline then falls
away in a broad, low slope, then breaks horizontally and changes to a
steeper pitch. A gambrel roof has a broad upper story and side
facade, and is often associated with barns. This
design provides the advantages of a sloped roof while maximizing head
space on the building’s upper level for living or storage
Gambrel roofs are often
associated with the Dutch Colonial and Georgian styles, among other
architectural styles that were common in Colonial American times.
Used from Maine to
Georgia, the gambrel roof style was popular in home designs from
around the late 1600’s to approximately 1800. The style was used from
Maine to Georgia and seems to have been more common in areas closer
to the coast.
Brocklebank-Nelson-Beecher house with a gambrel roof built in 1680 in
Georgetown, Massachusetts that now operates as a museum is of the
First Period of American architecture when the first settlers built
their homes. The reason that the gambrel roof was used for this house
is the fact that the rooms were only one deep and thus the house
required the more “commodious” roof to add overhead
height to the second floor.
Also attributed to the
First Period of American architecture, the Thomas Riggs house, built
in 1661 in Gloucester, Massachusetts of log construction, has a
gambrel roof with dormer windows and features three early bed
chambers on the second level under the roof.
An 1888 book published
by Harvard University about American architecture says that gambrel
roofs were popular for about 100 years during the colonial period,
were often adorned with dormers and a cornice, and were advantageous
because the provided a loft above the main rooms.
If you love the look of a gable roof but need more storage space on the upper level of your home, then a gambrel roof may be the perfect solution. Here’s some more information to get you started.
Easy to frame and somewhat simple to build, the cost of adding a gambrel roof tends to be less than other roof styles. The total price depends on the type and quality of the materials used, size of the job, and cost of labor in your area. Get a price quote for roofing installation to learn more.
A gambrel roof offers the advantages of a sloped roof while still providing head and storage space on the home’s upper level.
This type of roof is easy to frame and construct.
Very cost-friendly for homeowners on a budget.
Gambrel roofs don’t handle heavy winds or snowfall very well.
May require frequent maintenance.
Not as distinguished looking as other roof styles.
Gambrel roofs aren’t considered the most durable roofing style, as they are susceptible to damage if placed in areas with heavy snow or rough winds.
Gambrel roofs are expected to last for at least 10 years down the road, but do require a bit more maintenance than other roofing styles. These roofs regularly need to be protected from the elements, and possibly repainted as well.
Common Questions and Answers
What are the characteristics of a gambrel roof?
The gambrel roof is a variation of a gabled roof that peaks at the ridgeline, falls away in a broad, low slope, and then breaks horizontally to change to a steeper pitch. A gambrel roof has a broad upper story and side facade, and is often associated with
What is the main purpose of adding a gambrel roof?
Most homeowners use a gambrel roof in order to add more storage room to the upper part of the structure. For instance, a gambrel roof can be added to a detached garage in order to allow extra space for storing tools, etc.
HistoryThe gambrel roof style was popular in homes designed from the late 1600’s to approximately 1800. The style was used from Maine to Georgia, and seems to have been more popular in areas nearer to the coast.
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