Home » What Is A Gable Roof? Designs, Types and More (with illustrations)

What Is A Gable Roof? Designs, Types and More (with illustrations)

Gable roofs are a cornerstone of traditional residential architecture, known for their timeless appeal and functional design. Characterized by their triangular shape, they are not only a symbol of the classic American home but also offer practical advantages for a variety of climates and styles. This guide delves into the essence of gable roofs, describing their structure, benefits, potential drawbacks, and how they compare with other popular roofing types like the hip roof.

On This Page

What Is a Gable Roof?

A gable roof is distinguishable by its two sloping sides that come together at a ridge, creating a peak or triangular shape. This roof style is one of the most common across various types of residential construction due to its simplicity, ease of construction, and effective water and snow shedding capabilities.
house with a modern gable roof made of metal

What Are the Benefits of a Gable Roof?

Gable roofs have excellent drainage, preventing water and snow accumulation, which reduces the risk of leakages and structural damage. They are also cost-effective, provide good space for an attic or vaulted ceilings, and allow for better ventilation within the home:
  • Excellent Drainage: The sloping design prevents water and snow accumulation, reducing the risk of leaks and structural damage.
  • Cost-Effective: Gable roofs are relatively inexpensive to build when comparing them to more complex roof types, making them a budget-friendly option.
  • Additional Space: Their structure allows for more attic space or vaulted ceilings, offering extra room for storage or living spaces.
  • Better Ventilation: The design facilitates air flow in the attic space, helping to regulate temperature and prevent moisture buildup.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Gable Roof?

While gable roofs are advantageous in many ways, they can be vulnerable to wind damage if not properly constructed, especially in areas that have high winds or hurricanes. Their simple design may also lack the architectural complexity or uniqueness desired in modern construction.
  • Wind Vulnerability: Gable roofs may be susceptible to damage in areas with strong winds if they are not built correctly, especially if the roof pitch is steep.
  • Aesthetic Simplicity: While classic, the straightforward design of gable roofs may lack the architectural interest desired in modern homes.
  • Structural Limitations: In very wide buildings, the gable roof may require additional support to prevent sagging or collapse over time.

Gable Roof Types

Gable roofs come in many different styles, each offering both aesthetic and functional elements to suit different architectural needs.

Open gable

The open gable roof is the most traditional form, featuring two sloping sides that meet at a central ridge, with ends that are open and visible from the exterior.
illustration of a house with an open gable roof

Box gable

Box gable roofs have a triangular extension at each end, enclosed with walls that extend from the ridge, giving a box-like appearance.
illustration of a house with a box gable roof

Cross gable

The cross gable consists of two or more gable roof lines that intersect at an angle, commonly seen in houses with more complex floor plans.
illustration of a house with a cross gable roof


Though typically associated with barns, the gambrel roof features two different slopes on each side, resembling a gable roof at the top and providing more space underneath.
illustration of a house with a gambrel roof

Saltbox gable

The saltbox gable roof is asymmetrical, with one side sloping down to the first floor level and the other side to a shorter height, creating a distinctive profile.
illustration of a house with a saltbox roof

Dutch gable

A Dutch gable roof combines the hip and gable roof structures, featuring a small gable (or pediment) at the top of a hip roof structure, offering additional attic space and a charming aesthetic.
illustration of a house with a Dutch gable roof

Gable Roof vs Hip Roof

Comparing gable and hip roofs, the gable is simpler and cheaper to construct, offering greater potential for attic space and easier ventilation. However, hip roofs provide better stability and wind resistance due to their all-encompassing slopes, making them preferable in hurricane-prone regions.
illustration comparing a house with a gable roof and a hip roof
Feature Gable Roof Hip Roof
Better performance against wind
Better performance against snow
Better stability
Easier ventillation
Easier to build
More attic space

What Are The Best Materials For a Gable Roof?

an image showing three different roof material types. From left to right: asphalt shingles, metal roofing, roof tiles
Selecting the right material is important for maximizing the performance and enhancing the appearance of a gable roof. Here are some of the best options: MISSING ALT

Asphalt shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most popular choice for gable roofs due to their affordability, durability, and ease of installation. They come in a variety of colors and styles, allowing for customization to fit any home's aesthetic. Their composite structure provides reliable protection against weather elements, making them a practical option for many climates.

Metal roofing

Metal roofing, known for its longevity and resistance to extreme weather conditions, is another excellent choice for gable roofs. It's lightweight, recyclable, and available in sheets or tiles to suit different architectural styles. Metal roofs can also aid in lowering energy expenses by deflecting sunlight and heat away from the home.

Roof tiles

Roof tiles, made from clay or concrete, offer a high-end, traditional look for gable roofs. They are extremely durable, fire-resistant, and effective in climates with heavy rain or heat. While more expensive and heavier than other options, roof tiles can last for decades, providing a timeless appeal and substantial value to a property.

Cost To Repair Gable Roof

The overall cost for roof repairs varies based on the particular problem requiring attention and your roofs material type. Typically, the average cost across the nation falls between $400 and $2,000*.

*Cost numbers in this section were sourced from Fixr and Homeadvisor.

We highly recommend comparing quotes from multiple contractors to get a personalized offer for your specific situation.

Gable Roof FAQs

More on the topic

Different (and Best) Types of Roofs to Transform Your Home

How Much Does Roof Repair Cost? (2024 guide)