Gambrel Roof Design

The Gambrel Roof Design is one of the most popular styles of roof designs and can meet various architectural needs.  The Gambrel Roof Design optimizes the interior’s usable space by using a double slope on each side.  The upper slopes remain relatively flat allowing room for storage or living space. Dormers can also be added for additional visual interest and light.

History of the Gambrel Roof Design

Gambrel Roof DesignA symmetrical gambrel roof design was originally a Dutch type of building style used in the early colonial days from the 1600s to the 1800s.  They were often used to build barns and were influenced by the Indonesian home roofs that featured a hip followed by a gable end on the ridge.

Early settlers adapted this design to meet their needs.  This style is most commonly seen along the east coast from Maine to Georgia.

Benefits of the Gambrel Roof Design

The gambrel roof design has several benefits in addition to the additional space it provides.  They are able to withstand adverse weather conditions like high winds or heavy snow falls thanks to modern building materials.  Gambrel roofs are also aesthetically pleasing and create a classic look that is attractive on a traditional architectural style.   This type of roof is very simple to construct and frame making it a cost-effective solution for homeowners as well.

Important Considerations when Using a Gambrel Roof Design

When building a new gambrel roof, it is important to ascertain how much head space will be needed.  A low roof is fine if the area will be used for storage.  However, a higher roof is necessary if the area is going to be used for extra living space.  Be sure to factor in room for the insulation and the ventilation system as well.  A qualified contractor can help determine how much space is needed and what building codes will need to be met before beginning construction.

Ventilation with the Gambrel Roof Design

One of the problems with a gambrel roof design is that they may have ventilation problems potentially making the space uncomfortably hot.  This is because the roof begins where the wall for the lower part of the home ends.  Ridge vents may be able to be placed into the edge of the roof helping to supply a continuous airflow, ventilating the area.  Eyebrow vents are another solution for passive ventilation.  However, these are complicated and should be installed by a professional roofer.  An attic fan can also create the necessary air circulation.

Advantages of a Gambel Roof

A gambrel roof design has many advantages and there are several examples of this type of roof in historic architecture.  Both the famous Thomas Riggs house in Gloucester, Massachusetts and the John McKinstry house in Ellington, Connecticut are excellent examples of a gambrel roof.  The Gambrel Roof design can be used for a home, a barn, a shed or a garage and the extra space created can be utilized for an extra bedroom, a game area, an art studio and more.

Building a Gambrel Roof Garage

Building a gambrel roof garage provides the benefit of having additional space for just about anything.  Tools, boxes, bikes and more can be stored above the space created for parking motor vehicles.  The extra space can even be used as a guest room, loft, apartment, office or workspace.  A gambrel roof garage usually has an interior staircase or drop down stairs that is used to access the second level of the building.  They can also be built to any size or configuration.

Why Build a Gambrel Roof Garage?

Gambrel roof garages are simple to design and build, making them ideal for a homeowner on a budget.  They take less wood than other types of garages of the same size.  This is because the side walls are shorter and require less lumber.  Building a gambrel roof garage also does not require any interior wall supports or posts.  Gambrel roofs do not hold snow as easily, preventing a roof from collapsing in severe weather conditions.  This is one of the reasons this type of roof is popular in the Northeast.

Gambrel roof garage examples

A gambrel roof has a straight ridgeline from the center of the roof like a gabled roof.  However, there is a second, lower panel on each side that has a steeper pitch.  Gambrel roofs can also be built with a “Dutch kick.”  This is an extension of the roof line that provides shelter for the area below.  It is common to see this type of roof in rural countryside barns and traditional colonial houses and buildings.

There are a few gambrel roof garage plans that popularly used. The detached barn style garage is perhaps the most popular since it easily customizable and can be made to accent to the appearance of the existing nearby structure while providing extra space and function.

Some of the examples include the gable end and eave side loads that tilt on both ends and have two windows at the front.

The gambrel 2 bay is best for a narrow lot. It has an outside stair that leads to the loft or upstairs storage area.

The gambrel 22 by 40 features an outside stair that leads to the second floor studio among others. With these one has the option of either getting a gambrel roof garage that has been built as a detached structure or an addition.

Using Gambrel Roof Trusses

The best way to begin building a gambrel roof garage is to create a series of trusses.  These are placed atop the frame and connected using plywood brackets.  Once this is done, the pieces can be placed atop joists and lined up to provide support for the roof.  Once the truss are connected, they can be covered and fastened together.  Then whatever roofing materials are being used can be installed on top. An experienced contractor may be necessary to help to determine what local building codes apply as the best solution for your needs.

Roof Design Considerations

The angle break of the roofline is another thing to consider while figuring out the design plan for building a gambrel roof garage.  It is important to determine how much height is needed in the space for the intended use.  Where the roof line angles down is up to the homeowner’s personal preferences and the desired finished appearance.  However, these dimensions will ultimately affect the price and how the structure is constructed.

Building a gambrel roof garage has several advantages over other types of garages.  This type of building helps ensure that the garage space provides any necessary storage, and can also be ideal for a mother-in-law apartment, art studio and more.  They are easy to construct and there are many easy to follow plans available to hold one car or several.

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