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​The homify guide to Dutch gable roofs

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
by Waterproofing Durban
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It’s not uncommon for someone to build their own home instead of buying it. After all, being more in charge of your home’s look and design ensures the end result is much more to your liking and personal style (if you make use of a professional architect, of course). 

But whether you are building or buying, one of the most important parts of any house is its roof. Not only will your roof’s style enhance your home’s exterior look, but can also play a crucial role in determining how the internal space is distributed. 

Of course we are treated to various options in terms of roof types: open gable, gambrel, mansard, m-shaped, pyramid hip… the list goes on! And one of the more common roof types in South Africa, not to mention one of the most versatile and creative styles, is the Dutch gable roof.

Dutch gable roofs form part of the hip-roof family and combine a hip roof with a gable roof. With four downward sloping sides, it is topped with a gable roof, which is also called a gablet. This particular roof style originated in Europe in the 14th to 17th centuries, but due to its versatility and advantages can be seen on houses right around the globe. 

So, is the Dutch gable roof ideal for your house?

1. The pros of Dutch gable roofs

A Dutch gable roof possesses all the typical benefits that come with an ordinary hip roof. With eaves on all sides, it can better protect a home’s walls from inclement weather. That means rain, harsh sunlight and even snow will be kept a comfortable distance away from the house, ensuring a warmer interior during the winter and a cooler one in summer. This, of course, also helps with the homeowners’ heating- and cooling bills. 

Dutch gable roofs also present a more interesting build and are more attractive to look at than, say, flat roofs. They are especially great at ensuring extra character for houses where the façades need a little sprucing up. One also has the option of adding a window to the gablet, ensuring greater ventilation and extra light. 

Lastly, the smaller gable helps to eliminate some attic space in the home. Some may see this as a disadvantage, but for others it can be a blessing. With less attic space, the homeowners won’t have to be concerned about moisture damage, ventilation, cleaning, and all the other elements that typically come with attics. However, should you decide to convert the attic into another room, like an extra bedroom, you may find that the available space doesn’t allow for an extravagantly large room.

2. The cons of Dutch gable roofs

The appearance of a Dutch gable roof is definitely more enticing than a simple hip or gable roof, yet constructing it isn’t very straightforward. One has to consider different pitches, straight walls in the gablets, and, in the end, you are essentially building one roof on top of another, which means more materials are required. 

Waterproofing is another disadvantage when it comes to Dutch gable roofs. Joining the two types of roofs means that the spaces where they meet can easily be pooled up by water or snow. Thus, extra consideration needs to go into ensuring those joints are sealed, properly shingled, and fully waterproof.

​3. Which materials to use for Dutch gable roofs

The great thing about Dutch gable roofs is that you are not limited to a certain roofing material. All the regular options like shingles, wood shakes, slate or clay tiles, and concrete are available. Just keep in mind that each also comes with its own lifespan, cost, and visual style. 

However, metal roofing is lightweight and a fantastic choice in terms of waterproofing. Thus, if you’ve got a sturdy budget, metal is certainly recommended for a Dutch gable roof.

4. Materials not to use for Dutch gable roofs

Asphalt shingles may be a popular choice for Dutch gable roofs, but keep in mind that they don’t last as long as metal. In addition, they don’t offer the same level of water protection. 

However, if you are dreaming about a Dutch gable roof clad in asphalt shingles, consider extra waterproof roof coating. 

Of course Dutch gable is not our only option! Let’s discover The pros and cons of a flat-roof house.

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