The roof’s design is influenced by the climate and the style of your home.

The attic of our house used to be a frightening and exciting place for me when I was a child. Anyone brave enough to break through the cobwebs and climb into the dusty darkness was in for a world of adventure. It was a dark, hidden world only accessible through a small panel in the top of my parents’ wardrobe. I wasn’t supposed to go up into the attic, but what kid wouldn’t want to investigate a secret room in the house?
Many children in the Midwest have similar memories. The room under the rafters that we call the attic is created by the pitched roofs that shed our summer rains and winter snows. It can be used as storage, an extra bedroom, or nothing at all, but the space exists due to architectural necessity. The pitched roof and the attic underneath it are a part of our culture, and the picture of a roof is associated with shelter. is one of the authority sites on this topic.

A house’s roof is obviously a significant structural feature and a central factor in the overall architectural design. It protects the interior of the building from the elements, as well as the sidewalls and windows from the sun and rain, but it also plays an important role in deciding the design’s character. In fact, a particular roof style is often closely associated with a particular home style. The asymmetrical gable of a New England “salt box” is readily identifiable, while the Prairie style is distinguished by deep overhangs and low-sloped, mostly flat roof shapes. Steep pitches, complex massing, and intricate detailing are all hallmarks of Victorian architecture. Many Southwestern Adobe-styled homes often have roofs that are totally concealed behind parapet walls.

How does an architect decide on a home’s roof style and construction? The site’s environment is often the first factor to consider. Roofs in northern climates are built steeper and thicker to shed heavy snowfalls and insulate the interior during the winter months. Several cutting-edge building techniques have been developed to “superinsulate” residential roofs against long, cold northern winters and avoid ice-damage problems. If the sun is allowed to shine directly in through the windows in the arid Southwest, the interior of a house will easily become overheated. Deep overhangs, such as those popularised by many of Frank Lloyd Wright’s houses, only allow the sun into these houses for a few hours per day. The overhangs keep the interior cool while allowing vast expanses of glass to take in views of the desert beyond. In hot climates, lighter coloured roofing materials often help to minimise heat build-up during the day.

The roofs of seaside homes are particularly vulnerable to the elements. Many roofing materials fail more easily as a result of salt spray and strong winds. Better homes in Florida have metal or concrete-tile roofs, which can last up to 70 years. Lighter shades predominate once again, decreasing the roof’s temperature and extending its lifetime. Traditional wood shingle or shake roofs on New England seaside homes will last the life of the house if properly maintained and left to weather naturally.

Roof selections can also be influenced by the region’s architectural history and the context of the immediate site. Many new homes have roofs that are built to blend in with the existing architectural styles in the neighbourhood. Historic neighbourhoods also establish guidelines to assist homeowners in designing roofs that are in keeping with the architectural style of the neighbourhood. If a home is designed in a specific style, it is critical to think about the shape, materials, and detailing of this very prominent feature.
Roof design, space planning, construction practise, zoning and building code regulations all clash in a complicated jumble when usable space in the attic is required. Designing usable attic space, particularly in remodelling projects, is a true three-dimensional problem. A space up under the rafters, however, can be a very special place if done properly; a private area for meditation or a bedroom with great views over the surrounding houses. Dormers may be used to add character and texture to the exterior while still allowing light and air into the “attic.” That was the case in my first home office, which was in the attic of a historic district home built in the 1890s. At the top of the 26 steep stairs up from street level, I had to duck to avoid the rafters, but once at my desk, I had a fantastic view of downtown skyscrapers just a few blocks away.