Everything You Need to Know About Gambrel Roofs

  1. Roof types
  2. Residential roof types
  3. Gambrel roofs

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on gambrel roofs, a popular and distinct type of residential roof. Whether you are a homeowner looking to upgrade your current roof or simply curious about different roof types, this article has everything you need to know about gambrel roofs. From its unique design to its practical benefits, we will cover all the important aspects of gambrel roofs in detail. So sit back, relax, and let us take you on a journey through the world of gambrel roofs. When it comes to roofing options for residential properties, one type that often catches the eye is the gambrel roof.

This unique style features a double-sloped design that gives homes a charming and distinctive appearance. If you're in the market for a roofing contractor to perform repairs, installations, replacements, or inspections on your roof, or simply looking for information on roof types and materials, this article will cover everything you need to know about gambrel roofs. First, let's explore the history of gambrel roofs and how they have evolved over time. Originally, gambrel roofs were most commonly seen on barns and other agricultural buildings, with their steep slopes providing extra space for hay storage. However, as time went on, this style of roof became popular in residential architecture as well, particularly in colonial homes. Today, there are two main types of gambrel roofs: traditional and modern.

Traditional gambrel roofs feature a symmetrical design with two slopes on each side, creating a classic barn-like appearance. On the other hand, modern gambrel roofs often have a steeper upper slope and a shallower lower slope, providing a more contemporary look. When it comes to materials, there are several options to choose from for your gambrel roof. Wood is a popular choice for its natural beauty and durability. Asphalt shingles are also commonly used due to their affordability and ease of installation.

Metal is another option that offers long-lasting protection and can be customized to fit any style of home. To ensure that your gambrel roof is properly waterproofed, there are a few techniques that can be used. Sealants can be applied to the seams and edges of the roof to prevent water from seeping in. Underlayment, such as felt or synthetic materials, can also be used as an extra layer of protection against moisture. In conclusion, gambrel roofs are a unique and eye-catching choice for residential properties. Whether you're considering this style for your home or simply looking to learn more about roofing options, this article has covered everything you need to know about gambrel roofs.

With the right materials and waterproofing techniques, a gambrel roof can provide both aesthetic appeal and practical functionality for your home.

Types of Gambrel Roofs

When it comes to roofing options for residential properties, one type that often catches the eye is the gambrel roof. But within the category of gambrel roofs, there are different types that homeowners should be aware of.

Traditional Gambrel Roofs:

These roofs are designed with a steep upper slope and a shallower lower slope, giving them a classic barn-like appearance. They are typically made from wood or asphalt shingles and are popular in rural areas.

Modern Gambrel Roofs:

In contrast to traditional gambrel roofs, modern ones have a more gradual slope on both the upper and lower portions. They also often incorporate materials such as metal or clay tiles for a more contemporary look.

These types of gambrel roofs are commonly seen on newer homes in urban or suburban areas.

The History of Gambrel Roofs

Gambrel roofs have been a popular choice for residential properties for many years, but their origins can actually be traced back to barns. In fact, the word 'gambrel' comes from the Old French word 'gamberel', which means the hind leg of a horse. The unique design of the gambrel roof was originally used in barns to create more space for haylofts and storage. By using a double-sloped design, farmers were able to increase the storage capacity of their barns without having to expand their land or building size. However, as time went on, this style of roof caught the eye of homeowners looking for a distinctive and charming appearance for their homes. The first known use of a gambrel roof on a residential property was in 1625 in colonial America, and it has been a popular choice ever since. From its humble beginnings on barns to its widespread use in residential properties, the gambrel roof has certainly come a long way.

Its unique design and practicality have made it a timeless choice for homeowners looking to add character to their homes.

Materials Used in Gambrel Roof Construction

When it comes to choosing materials for your gambrel roof, there are several options available. The most common materials used in gambrel roof construction are wood, asphalt shingles, and metal. Each of these options has its own unique pros and cons that you should consider when making your decision.


Wood is a traditional and popular choice for gambrel roofs due to its natural beauty and durability. It can also be easily customized to fit the unique design of your home.

However, wood requires regular maintenance and is more susceptible to damage from weather and pests.

Asphalt Shingles:

Asphalt shingles are a cost-effective option for gambrel roofs and are available in a variety of colors and styles. They also offer good insulation and are easy to install. However, they have a shorter lifespan compared to other materials and may not be as aesthetically pleasing as wood or metal.


Metal is a durable and low-maintenance option for gambrel roofs. It is resistant to weather, fire, and pests, making it a long-lasting choice.

Metal is also available in different finishes and can be painted to match the style of your home. However, it can be more expensive upfront and may require professional installation.

Waterproofing Techniques for Gambrel Roofs

One of the most important considerations when it comes to any type of roof is waterproofing. This is especially true for gambrel roofs, as their unique design can make them more susceptible to water damage if not properly protected. There are two main techniques for waterproofing a gambrel roof: sealants and underlayment. Both are essential for ensuring that your home is protected from potential water damage.


The first line of defense against water penetration on a gambrel roof is sealants.

These are typically applied along the seams and edges of the roof to prevent water from seeping in through any small gaps or cracks. When choosing a sealant for your gambrel roof, it's important to select one that is specifically designed for roofing applications and is compatible with the materials used on your roof. Additionally, regular inspections and maintenance of the sealant is necessary to ensure its effectiveness.


Underlayment is another important component of waterproofing a gambrel roof. This is a layer of material that is placed under the shingles or other roofing material to provide an additional barrier against water infiltration. The type of underlayment used will depend on the specific materials and slope of your gambrel roof. For example, synthetic underlayments are often recommended for steeper slopes, while asphalt-saturated felt may be more suitable for lower slopes.

It's important to consult with a professional roofing contractor to determine the best underlayment for your specific roof. Regular inspections of both the sealant and underlayment can help identify any potential issues before they become major problems. It's also important to address any necessary repairs or replacements promptly to ensure the continued effectiveness of these waterproofing techniques. In conclusion, gambrel roofs offer a beautiful and practical option for residential properties. They have a rich history and come in various types to suit different architectural styles. With the right materials and waterproofing techniques, a gambrel roof can provide long-lasting protection for your home.

Whether you're searching for a roofing contractor or simply curious about roof types, we hope this article has provided you with valuable information.

Lucy Williams
Lucy Williams

Evil internetaholic. Certified food scholar. Subtly charming beer fanatic. Infuriatingly humble pizza lover. Award-winning music fanatic.

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