This helpful buying guide discusses the different types of garages, and looks at roof shapes, like gambrel (barn) roofs, hip roofs, and reverse gable roofs.

The way a garage roof is framed defines the style of the garage itself. Four of the most popular roof shapes are gable, gambrel, hip, and reverse gable. Garages are usually attached to the house or located close to it, so the style of the house’s roof usually determines that of the garage.

Gambrel (“Barn”) Roofs

The most common style of garage roof is the gable. The roof has two symmetrical slopes that meet to form a triangle over the door. Simple to frame and relatively inexpensive to build, gable-style garages drain easily and have good load-bearing capacity.

Gambrel or “Barn” Roof


Although gambrel roofs (pictured above) are tougher to frame than gables, they provide much more space for storage or even a loft. The roof is essentially gable style, but instead of only one slope on each side it has two, which is what contributes to the extra headroom.

Hip Roofs

Hip roof-style garages provide the most protection from the elements because they offer a generous overhang on all four sides of the structure. Hip roofs are four sided, with all four sides sloping up to the apex and ending in either a point or a small platform.

Hip Roof

They’re less commonly seen, however, because the shape not only decreases upper storage but the roof itself is also more difficult to frame than either a gable- or gambrel-style roof.

Reverse Gable Roofs

A reverse-gable garage is a gable-style garage with the door relocated to accommodate the style of the house and the orientation to the street.

Reverse-Gable Roof

Reverse-gable garages have the door under the eaves, on the long wall, rather than under the gable. This allows the driveway to come in straight from the street instead of curving around to the gabled end. Otherwise, reverse- gable garages offer the same storage and load-bearing capacity as regular gable garages.


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About Don Vandervort
An avid builder and remodeler, Don Vandervort has developed his expertise for more than 30 years, as Building Editor for Sunset Books, Senior Editor at Home Magazine, author of more than 30 home improvement books, and writer of countless magazine articles. He appeared for 3 seasons on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert for several years. Don founded HomeTips in 1996. Read more about Don Vandervort