Common Roof Designs in the Chicagoland Area

The Chicagoland area, with its varied architecture and challenging weather conditions, requires roof designs and styles that are both aesthetically pleasing and resilient. We break down the pros and cons of popular roof designs and styles in the region, aiding Chicagoans in making well-informed roofing decisions.

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What Are the Different Types of Roof Designs?

1. Gable Roof

Gable roofs, known for their triangular shape, are a common sight in Chicagoland. They are excellent for shedding water and snow, making them suitable for the local climate. The gutter overhang is essential so as to ensure no future foundation problems.*


  • Effective for water and snow shedding.
  • Simple design makes it cost-effective to build.
  • Provides more space for the attic or vaulted ceilings.


  • Not ideal for high wind areas unless properly reinforced.
  • Can be prone to damage if not adequately braced.

2. Hip Roof

Hip roofs have slopes on all four sides, all equal in length. They offer enhanced stability and are highly resistant to high winds, which is crucial in this area.


  • Enhanced stability in high-wind areas.
  • Even slopes allow for easy runoff of water and snow.
  • Aesthetically versatile for various architectural styles.


  • More complex to construct than gable roofs, making them more expensive.
  • Less attic space compared to gable roofs.

3. Dutch Roof

A Dutch roof combines elements of gable and hip roofs, featuring a gable at the top and a hip roof structure on the bottom. This style provides a distinctive look.


  • Combines aesthetic elements of gable and hip roofs.
  • Good water and snow runoff.
  • Adds architectural interest to a building.


  • More complex to build, increasing construction costs.
  • Potential for more maintenance due to the mixed design.

4. Jerkinhead Roof

Jerkinhead roofs blend the features of gable and hip roofs, offering improved stability and resistance against wind compared to traditional gable roofs.


  • More stable than a standard gable roof.
  • Offers better wind resistance.
  • Aesthetic appeal with a unique design.


  • Complexity in design can lead to higher construction costs.
  • May require more maintenance.

5. Pyramid Roof

Pyramid roofs, forming a perfect pyramid shape, are often used on smaller buildings like bungalows. They add a unique architectural element to the structure.


  • Unique design adds architectural interest.
  • Excellent for water and snow runoff.
  • Reduced risk of wind damage due to the shape.


  • More expensive to build due to complexity.
  • Less space inside the attic area.

6. Mansard Roof

Originating from French design, Mansard roofs have four double-sloped sides, creating additional living space under the roof, which is both practical and stylish.

7. Bonnet Roof

Similar to Mansard roofs but with a lower slope at the bottom, Bonnet roofs provide extra covered space outdoors, perfect for porches.

8. Gambrel Roof

Often seen in barn-style houses, Gambrel roofs have two different slopes, providing extra space under the roof and a classic American aesthetic.

9. Skillion Roof

Skillion roofs are single-sloped, similar to a shed or lean-to. They are modern and straightforward, offering a minimalist look.


  • Cost effective roof design: Materials and labor is less intensive.
  • Perfect for cold climates when you are installing exterior insulation.
  • Preferred for solar panel installation due to low slope and angle.


  • No attic space for ventilation
  • Needs extra lift in areas prone to snow to be able to support the weight in the winter months.

10. Curved Roof

Curved roofs add a contemporary touch to homes, bending in various ways to create an architectural statement.


  • Contemporary and unique design.
  • Flexible design options for creative architecture.
  • Can be designed for efficient water and snow runoff.


  • Higher cost due to complexity and custom design.
  • May require specialized materials and labor.

11. Flat Roof

Flat roofs are common in commercial buildings but are also seen in modern residential designs. They are easy to construct and allow for rooftop gardens or patios.


  • Simple and cost-effective to build.
  • Space can be used for gardens, patios, or solar panels.
  • Suitable for a modern, minimalist aesthetic.


  • Prone to water pooling if not properly designed.
  • Needs extra engineering to support snow weight.
  • Regular maintenance required to prevent leaks.

12. Shed Roof

A shed roof design, characterized by its single sloping surface, is ideal for modern and minimalist architecture, often utilized in regions with less snowfall where efficient water runoff is desired.


  • Simplicity of Design: Shed roofs have a simple and straightforward construction, which can lower building costs.
  • Modern Aesthetic: The sleek, single-plane look of shed roofs is well-suited for contemporary home designs.
  • Water Runoff: Their inclination allows for effective water runoff, a useful feature for Chicago’s rainy seasons.


  • Snow Accumulation: In heavy snowfall, typical of Chicago winters, the snow may not disperse evenly, potentially leading to accumulation and added stress on the structure.
  • Limited Attic Space: The design of shed roofs usually doesn’t allow for much attic space, which can be a disadvantage for storage or additional living space.
  • Aesthetic Integration: Shed roofs may not blend seamlessly with the traditional architecture prevalent in many Chicago neighborhoods.
  • Wind Exposure: Depending on the orientation and angle, shed roofs might be more exposed to high winds, which could increase the risk of damage.

13. Butterfly Roof

A butterfly roof is V-shaped, resembling a butterfly’s wings. It’s a modern design that allows for large windows and natural light.


Distinctive and historical architectural style.
Good for snow and rain runoff.
Adds more space on one side of the house.


Asymmetrical design can be more complex to construct.
May limit space on one side of the attic.

14. Sawtooth Roof

Sawtooth roofs consist of two or more parallel pitched roofs, resembling the teeth of a saw. They are often used in industrial buildings but are gaining popularity in residential architecture.


Industrial aesthetic with a unique appeal.
Ideal for natural light and ventilation.
Suitable for loft spaces or artistic installations.


More expensive due to complexity and size.
Potential for leaks at the ridges if not properly sealed.

15. Dormer Roof

Dormer roofs have a protruding window that adds space and natural light to the upper levels of the house.


  • Adds extra space and natural light to the upper levels, great for lofts
  • Enhances the aesthetic appeal with varied designs.
  • Suitable for adding extra ventilation or emergency exits.


  • Can be expensive to add to an existing roof.
  • Potential for leaks if not properly installed and maintained.

How to Choose Roofing Shingles for Your Type of Roof Style?

Selecting the right roofing shingles is crucial for both the longevity and aesthetic of your roof. Consider the following factors:

  • Climate Compatibility: Choose shingles that can withstand local weather conditions.
  • Architectural Style: The shingles should complement your home’s architectural design.
  • Weight and Durability: Ensure your roof structure can support the weight of the shingles.
  • Color and Aesthetics: Select a color that matches your home’s exterior.
  • Warranty and Cost: Balance between quality, warranty, and your budget.

How to Decide What Roof Style is Best for Your Home

Choosing the right roof style for your home in Chicagoland depends on various factors, including architectural style, weather resilience, and personal preference. Call now for a no cost and no obligation consultation!