Top 20 Roof Types: Costs, Design Elements, Pitch, & Shapes

The value of the roof over your home cannot be overstated. Sure, we all know it’s primary purpose is to protect us from stormy weather and prevent animals who may otherwise drop things on our heads.

GAF Timberline HD Shingles on a Gable Roof with Fake Dormers on a Two-Story House

Bonus points for keeping strong winds outside, where they belong, and stopping the sun from baking us under intense heat. Oh and those critters agile enough to climb walls, yes they too can take a well constructed roof as a fair warning that they are not welcomed to stay, rent free. 😉

“At least we have a roof over our head.” – said no one, ever, who cared about the quality and character of their house.

For us civilized creatures, the home roof is both a basic necessity, and, when done right, a thing of beauty. It has lasting value and adds character to what is otherwise a box, we call home.

This guide to roof styles is for anyone looking for inspiration or information to update and/or replace their existing roof. Or perhaps you are considering an addition to your house, an added structure to your property or even a new home altogether. Whatever the case may be, let us guide you through the many details that make for a roofing project.

We have a huge variety of styles for you to browse through and lots of ground to cover before we get there. We’ll talk about shapes, concepts, pros and cons of various materials and their costs, planning considerations and what makes for character (hint: combinations and willingness to be bold with designs). Whatever your roofing needs may be, we’ve done our best to leave no stone unturned. So, let’s get on with it!

First Things First

As exhaustive as our guide may be, it must be emphasized that a quality roofing installer is your best friend in translating design ideas into a finished product that is up to snuff.

An architect or interior designer can assist with plans, and a carpenter type may suffice on smaller projects.

But a roofer is the indispensable craftsman who likely has the experience, knows the trade according to regional traditions and has the process down to a practical science.

Our goal is to help you, help them in being a viable partner in that process. 😉

So, the purpose of a roof, everyone knows. It’s the basics of shelter. But functions of a roof are a good place to start on a path toward understanding the science. Don’t worry, we’ll do our best not to put you to sleep here. 🙂

First there is Drainage.

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Skylight Installation Costs: Velux, Fakro, Kennedy

Skylights transform a room, bringing in the outdoors from above, like a window on the sky. Benefits include natural light that reduces the need for artificial lighting and room ventilation with skylights that open.

This skylight buying guide covers top brands, their products and prices, installation costs and skylight options.

Cost

On average, you can expect to pay between $1,375 and $2,210 to install a new fixed or vented skylight measuring up to 30 by 48 inches in size/window dimensions.

All else being equal, it will cost a lot less to install a new skylight during the construction of a new home.

Re-roofing is the next best time to install a new skylight on your property, while cutting-in a hole to install a skylight in the existing roof will be significantly more expensive.

Your home’s location and local cost of living will have a material impact on the total cost installed. The relative ease of roof access will also impact costs.

The table below provides a further breakdown of costs for materials and installation:

Low Average High
Skylight costs: $35-$125 $275-$535 $1,400-$2,000
Installation costs: $275-$735 $1,100-$1,675 $1,985-$2,400
Total installed cost: $485-$860 $1,375-$2,210 $3,385-$4,400
Features: Plastic
Fixed
Skylight or tube
Up to 22″
No blinds
Plastic or glass
Fixed or vented
Skylight or tube
Up to 30×48
Blinds optional
Manual or remote open
Electric or solar
Glass
Vented
Skylight
Up to 34×70
Blinds optional
Remote open
Electric or solar

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Implications of California Mandating Solar on New Homes by 2020

California has become the first state to require new homes be built with solar power systems. Bloomberg says, “California just sent the clearest signal yet that rooftop power is moving beyond a niche market and becoming the norm”.

California is a trend setter, so Bloomberg might be right on the money. Its graph on the fast rise of solar in the decade ending in 2017 makes the case very emphatically.

The law applies to single-family homes and multi-unit residential buildings less than four stories high. It requires those built after January 1st, 2020 to be outfitted with a PV solar energy system.

The mandate is one of four key Building Energy Efficiency Standards released by the California Energy Commission.

  1. Solar PV systems with smart inverters with optional battery storage
  2. Demand/Response compliance options including battery storage and heat pump water heaters
  3. Healthy indoor air through controlled home ventilation and filtration
  4. Tighter home envelopes with house wrap, more insulation in the attic and walls, efficient windows and more

Implications of Mandating Solar Power in CA

The immediate impact was a rise in solar stock prices (Sunrun rose 15%, e.g.) and a fall in prices for residential construction companies.

No wonder. A lot more solar power systems are going to be sold. The demand for a new home might fall, while the costs are likely to rise.

Positive Implications

Carbon emissions will be reduced: California’s goal is a 40% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. This legislation will produce small steps in that direction each year.

Utility costs will fall for solar homes: The CEC expects homes equipped with solar to save $19,000 over the projected 30-year life of the systems.

Negative Implications

New home cost will rise: The CEC states that average cost of these solar energy systems will be $9,500. The average home in CA uses a 2.5kW to 4kW system.

At current prices of $2.80 to $3.22 per watt, the Commission is estimating the average system to be 2.95kw to 3.4kW, so the estimation seems low on the upper end. Systems for homes with 4+ bedrooms are often more than 4kW, so cost for them might rise to the $11,000 to $13,500 range.

Jimmy Pethokoukis, American Enterprise Institute economic policy analyst told CNBC:

This is great for wealthier homeowners, but for everybody else it’s one more reason to not go to California or to leave ASAP.

Maybe that’s part of the California Energy Commission’s design! 😉

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