The Best Roof Style For Your New Shed?

The 3 most popular roof lines are gable, barn style and flat. Which one you will want for your new shed depends on a number of factors. Each one has it’s benefits and disadvantages.

Gable Roof

  • You can vary the pitch depending on the weather in your area. Use a steep pitch for rain, snow and lots of falling leaves. A more shallow pitch will save on the construction cost and have a lower overall height.
  • Or you can use whatever pitch matches your house for maximum curb appeal.
  • Shingle roofs are the standard. They are relatively economical and easy to install. And they are good for 20 plus years with proper maintenance.
  • Fairly easy to construct because the walls are symmetrical and you can make your own trusses.

Barn Style Roof

  • Barn style roofs look great!
  • If you build it tall they have lots of overhead storage. You can easily add 50% more storage by installing a loft.
  • You will lose storage space if you build it short (like in the photo here) because the shorter walls are useless for shelves or long items. But it still looks good…
  • The trusses are more complicated to build and overall it takes longer to build.
  • If you build it taller you need to be more careful because of the additional height.
  • Requires more materials so it adds to the overall cost vs a flat or gable roof. But this is offset by the additional storage space you gain.
  • It’s height might block your views, or it might look out of place in a confined yard.

Shed Roof

  • Lowest possible overall height in cases where you are concerned about view, or home owners association or zoning requirements that have height restrictions.
  • Can easily add overhang or a porch in the same roof line. This makes it look built in and attractive.
  • Can’t use shingles because the pitch is too shallow. So you will need rolled roofing which doesn’t last too long. But you can use metal. Costs a little more but is good for 30 to 50 years.
  • No overhead storage because you have no rafters.
  • Can’t use where snow load is an issue.
  • You can control the direction of water flow off the roof depending on which way you slope it. For example if you are building up against an existing building, or on a property line where you don’t want the water going on to a neighbors property.

You will not have a choice if the law requires that your shed match your house. But most of the time you will have a choice.

In most cases a low pitch gable roof will be your best choice. My shed plans use a 3/12 pitch because it’s easy to work on. If you use a higher pitch it gets more expensive, more difficult, and less safe.

I have recently include the option to add 3 1/2 or 5 1/2 inches of overhang. That’s plenty of overhang to keep the water off your sidewalls but doesn’t require complicated construction techniques like cutting notches in the rafters or intricate soffit trim. And it makes your shed look even better.

Another recent option is 8ft sidewalls to give you more room to store tall or long items vertically.

I also recommend spending a little extra and buying high quality shingles. They are thicker so they will be more difficult to cut and work with. But they will last longer and save on maintenance.