You may have seen these two different roof styles and maybe not even known their names.
First let’s take a look at what a dutch roof is and looks like.
Now if you were to take the side to the left in the photo and shorten your rafters so that they came up to a header that was parallel to the edge it would like like the first photo and effectively become a Dutch roof.
The roof built as a Dutch roof has the advantage of a smaller gable end and this can be used for extra ventilation through the use of a window or louvered vent. Yet sometimes it is used as an architectural element alone.
Dutch roofs do have some disadvantages and the primary one is the loss of interior space and head room because with this roof all four angles of the roof are pitched in the same degree. I agree and disagree with the statement below.
“The style is one frequently used on ranch homes and cottages and is one that is excellent for homes in areas with high winds, tornadoes and hurricanes, as it tends to withstand damage from these conditions better than a gabled or similar style roof.”
In the Bahamas we see many hip roofs and dutch roofs and it’s always been told to me that the reason is that in a hurricane, no matter what direction it comes from the other side will help hold the force. Here, the little gable ends are often used to add ventilation, which is needed in a warm climate.To this I agree.
Where I disagree is that any roof if not properly attached to the walls will have problems in high winds or hurricanes. Remember the pressure differences between inside and outside in a hurricane and the up lift forces, not just the force of the wind alone against the structure.
Now to many people a Dutch roof is often thought to be this (photo below) but in fact this is what we call a Gambrel roof. I’m not positive but I believe the misunderstanding came about because in places such as Pennsylvania, where there are many people of Dutch descent and farm buildings that are actually gambrel’s, others started calling them Dutch roofs.
Even a Gambrel roof such as this would have potential problems in the north due to the low top pitch angle. Snow would have a tendency to collect up there and as the weight of it increased, it could lead to some substantial issues if not properly framed and supported.
So there’s a bit about Dutch roofs and Gambrel roofs and I think you’ll see why I had to put in the bit about Mansard style roofs too