Gable roof design ideas, inspiration & pictures

What is a gable roof?

Gable roofs are the kind of roofs children draw when they sketch their family homes. These roofs have two sloping sides that connect together at a ridge, which creates end walls that form a triangular extension at the top called a gable. The build of the gable and how it’s decorated and detailed depend on the structural system used, which reflects the climate of the area, available materials, and cultural aesthetics. Roofs of traditional Malay houses are modeled in the gable fashion in order to provide shade and protection from the tropical climate and for good ventilation. Extended frames with ornaments on the edges of the roofs are quite common. For example, the vernacular Malay roof is best for hot and humid climates. If you’re looking for inspiration for this style of roof, an exemplary model can be found in the design of Ruman Lipat Kajang, or a pyramidal style pitched roof can be found in Malaysia on structures like the Palembang Rumah Limas.

What are some common gable roof styles?

Malaysia is quite unique in that it consists of a few different gable roof designs throughout the country. The most common gable styles are the box, cross, and Dutch gable roofs.

Box gable roofs are the roofs we know best, as it’s closest to the standard gabled roof–the only difference is the triangular section of the design is distinguished more in the box style. They have a triangular extension at each end of the house and boxed at the end is the roof section.

Cross gable roofs are comprised of two or more gable rooflines that bisect at an angle, most commonly with the two ridges set perpendicular to each other. Homes with this design tend to have more complex and ornate layouts because of the change in shape the cross design has on the home’s structure and tend to have separate sings, a larger porch, or even an attached garage.

Dutch gable roofs are an amalgamation of the gable and hip roof. A hip roof (or hipped roof) is a roof where all sides slope gently down to the walls. Normally, hip roofs have no gables or other vertical sides to the roof, which is what makes the Dutch roof so unique. The typical design places the gable roof on top of the hip roof, which provides more space within the home.

What materials should I use and how much will it cost?

There are a few different materials you can use for your gable roof, each with its own up and downsides.

Clay tiles: When it comes to roof tiles, clay tiles are pretty common in warmer climates, as the Terra Cotta color matches perfectly with the environment and ups the curb appeal of your home. The biggest upside to clay is its durability–you can expect these tiles to last you a good 100 years. The downside, however, is its heaviness. Expensive internal structural enhancements, such as roof trusses, are often needed in order to support the extra weight of the clay. Prices for clay will vary depending on the brand you choose, as well as the size and location of your home, but a general estimate of cost is approximately 42-64 MYR per square foot. Naturally, clay tiles cost about 30% more than their concrete counterpart.

Concrete tiles: Concrete are not as susceptible to damage from freezing temperatures like clay tiles are, and therefore can be used in almost any climate, which is a big selling point for this material. Concrete tiles are more prone to stains than clay and have about half the lifespan of clay, giving you only 30-50 years. The average cost of concrete tile is 20-30MYR per square foot.

Metal sheeting: When you’re looking for energy efficiency and durability, metal roofing could be the best choice for you. This sheeting basically pays for itself in that there is little to no maintenance for a lifelong brilliant appearance, plus it saves you money on energy costs. But because this material is so heavy-duty, it’s a bit on the costlier side, averaging between 40-80 MYR per square foot. The cons for this material, aside from cost, is that it can collect snow and echo during loud rainstorms, which Malaysians should be mindful of.

Asphalt shingles: Asphalt shingles come at a great price and are very easy to install. The average roof totals about 3200 MYR. When it comes to the cons, this style is relatively ordinary and lacks the energy efficiency and environmental friendliness of other roofing types. Asphalt can also rip apart from your roof during high winds and they get extremely hot when sitting in the sun.

Cedar shakes: Cedar is a popular hardwood choice for shingles and can last about 30-50 years when properly maintained. Wood shingles in general are fairly durable as roofing material, but do require some extra TLC. This material is chosen for its natural aesthetic, much like clay, and that is one of its biggest pros, along with its ease of installation. Some cons include the regular maintenance, and natural hardwood comes at a bigger price than some of the other alternatives. Pricing averages about 40-60 MYR.

What’s the installation process like?

We here at homify always love a good DIY project, but when it comes to your exterior, we always recommend a good professional come in and do the work. It’s easier and much safer when in the hands of one of our roofing companies.

1. Fasten top plates to all outside walls with nails.

2. Measure and cut ceiling joists.

3. Cut a ridge board.

4. Lay your planks across the ceiling joists.

5. Figure out the rise of the gable.

6. Measure and cut rafter boards.

7. For each pair of rafters, make a collar tie.

8. Assemble the gable.

9. Fasten planks to the rafters with nails so that they run parallel to the ridge board.

10. Use mitered planks to cover the ends of the gable.

11. Nail tar paper to the planks.

12. Add asphalt shingles and roofing nails where necessary.

What are the pros and cons of hip roofs and gable roofs?

There aren’t many cons to the gable roof–just the fact that they are not ideal for high winds or hurricanes. They are, however, built to suit climates with wet and snowy weather, they’re more spacious with attic or loft storage, and they’re cheaper and easier to build.

Hip roofs are more expensive than gable roofs and more materials are required when building them. Leaks can also occur when not properly installed, which is why we recommend a roofing expert. On the plus side, they are excellent for high wind and snowy areas, they give extra living and standing space for loft conversions, and they’re totally versatile.