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6 Types of Tiny House Roofs

There are so many types of roofs out there for your tiny home! We have brought together six different types of roofs that are considered standard for tiny houses. Get creative with your tiny home. It’s yours, after all!

Remember you can always add dormer or skylights for more space and lighting but they will also add to the overall cost and complexity of construction.

Shed Roof

If you’re going to build a loft and want to utilize as much space as possible, a shed roof is a better option. It’s a one side roof, allowing you to have the peak of your roof at the maximum height of the structure. It allows you to have additional lighting as you can place windows on the peak side in the loft area. Your pitch dictates how much space you have on the eave side of the structure.

If you would like to harvest rain, this roof has an optimal advantage due to the fact that you only need to collect on one side. On the other end of the spectrum, the disadvantage this roof type has is for snowfall. If you life in a heavy snowfall area, you will need to compensate by increasing the pitch to rid the roof of snow. A metal roof will help with this as the snow will slide off easily.

Saltbox Roof

Another option is a saltbox roof. It create a similar space inside like the shed roof but gives you two sides. The peak is off center to do this. This also gives you the opportunity to have a skylight that faces the stars at night rather than another window in the wall. All depends upon your preferences.

Although it carries most of the same advantages as the shed roof, the off-center peak has its disadvantages. The peak requires the end walls to be fortified. The off-center also causes weight to be distributed unevenly (especially in an area where there is snow). A metal roof, again, can help with this. Reinforcements are required in several points of this roof type because of its design, but is not an overall problem.

Gambrel (Barn Style) Roof

The gamebrel (or barn style) roof gives the most upward space. In a loft, you may want more headroom without losing soundness of structure. Speaking of structure, this roof is considered one of the stronger choices.

That strength comes with the many angles, though! This roof can be difficult to build for inexperienced DIY-builders. There are a total of 8 angle cuts for each roof truss that also needs to be properly reinforced at each joint to maximize its strength. It may sound difficult, but with proper research you will be able to do it. If you have questions you can always reach out to our community or a local roofing contractor for help.

This roof will also require the most materials to create, so plan accordingly.

Gable Roof

The gable roof is the most commonly built roof, both in tiny and standard houses. Although it is simple to build, it does not utilize space efficiently for a tiny home dweller. It gives very little space for a loft due to its shape and has little to offer in way of wall space as well. You end up crawling into your loft and laying down immediately. Some can offer a space to sit up depending upon the size of the tiny house.

If you live (or plan to live) in a snowy climate, you will need to reinforce the structure which will take about a foot off of your headroom in a loft. If you do not plan for snow on your roof, there is no need to reinforce it.

Arched/Round Roof

The arched or round roof is one of the more unique designs. This design is most commonly seen on gypsy wagons. This roof style is one of the stronger roof types, just like the barn roof. It disperses load evenly so you don’t have much to worry about in most climates.

With all stronger roof types, it is more difficult to build. Just like the barn roof, this roof may be more difficult to beginning and inexperienced DIY-builders. Always do plenty of research so you can ensure a strong build that you can depend on. If you ever have questions you can ask our community or contact a local contractor for help.

Flat Roof

Although flat roofs are structurally sound, due to the fact they have no pitch you will accumulate more water and debris. This can lead to leaking and repair work in the long run. This is not a recommended roof type for snow as it may not have the strength to bear snow. We’ve included it because it is an option for uncommon scenarios. Best to give it a small pitch (similar to shed roof but less pitch) to ensure the elements can fall off of your roof and give you peace of mind. Of course it is no longer a “flat roof” but maybe it’s for the best.

Always look at the pros and cons of each roof type to ensure you choose what works best for your style of tiny plus the weather you expect to live in.

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About the Author
Stephanie McQueen
Stephanie McQueen
Stephanie is the content curator and resource hoarder of all things tiny houses. She believes everyone can live a sustainable lifestyle, no matter the size of your house. Connect with Stephanie through LinkedIn or her done-for-you marketing agency, Employed By Life Online.
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