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Garage Styles & Roof Shapes

The way a garage roof is framed defines the style of the garage itself. Four of the most popular roof shapes are gable, gambrel, hip, and reverse gable. Garages are usually attached to the house or located close to it, so the style of the house’s roof usually determines that of the garage.

Gambrel (“Barn”) Roofs

Gambrel or “Barn” Roof

The most common style of garage roof is the gable. The roof has two symmetrical slopes that meet to form a triangle over the door. Simple to frame and relatively inexpensive to build, gable-style garages drain easily and have good load-bearing capacity.

Although gambrel roofs (pictured above) are tougher to frame than gables, they provide much more space for storage or even a loft. The roof is essentially gable style, but instead of only one slope on each side it has two, which is what contributes to the extra headroom.

Hip Roof

Hip Roofs

Hip roof-style garages provide the most protection from the elements because they offer a generous overhang on all four sides of the structure. Hip roofs are four sided, with all four sides sloping up to the apex and ending in either a point or a small platform. They’re less commonly seen, however, because the shape not only decreases upper storage but the roof itself is also more difficult to frame than either a gable- or gambrel-style roof.

Reverse-Gable Roof

Reverse Gable Roofs

A reverse-gable garage is a gable-style garage with the door relocated to accommodate the style of the house and the orientation to the street.

Reverse-gable garages have the door under the eaves, on the long wall, rather than under the gable. This allows the driveway to come in straight from the street instead of curving around to the gabled end. Otherwise, reverse- gable garages offer the same storage and load-bearing capacity as regular gable garages.illustration-copy-sun

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About Don Vandervort
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Don Vandervort developed his expertise more than 30 years ago as Building Editor for both Sunset Books and Home Magazine. He has written more than 30 home improvement books and countless magazine articles. He appeared regularly on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert. Don founded HomeTips in 1996.

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1 Comment

  1. Hi, nice article on roofs! Very comprehensively explained. I would like to just point out that gable roofs, or any pitch roofs for that matter, have very strong advantage in the fact that snow will slide down from them and not stay for longer, so no need to deal with extremely bigger loads during winter. Although on the other hand they do struggle with wind, so probably not the best choice if you live in a hurricane area. Anyway, I wrote an article about gable roofs, if you were interested to have a look and give me your thoughts :)


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