Green gables

Ok – how many of you know the book, Anne of Green Gables? You have probably never realized that the book is so named due to the type of roof on Anne’s house – the gabled roof. So, what exactly is a gable roof? Simply put, the Gable Roof is the basic, triangular roof structure with two sloping roof planes that angle away from each other. The triangular shaped wall below the roof is called the gable wall or simply “the gable”. The gable on the Green Gables Farmhouse is painted green and hence the name.

What are some other roof types? I’m glad you asked. Here are a few roof types that you may find:

  • A Gable Roof, as mentioned above, is triangular in shape and has two opposing roof planes.


  • A Hip Roof is shaped like a pyramid (though it does not necessarily come to a point). 


  • A Shed Roof is a single, sloping roof plane.
  • A Gambrel Roof also has a gable wall, but it is pentagonal shaped rather than triangular. This is because each side of the gambrel roof has two different sloping pitches.


  • A Mansard Roof is similar to the gambrel roof in that each side of the roof has two different sloping planes. However, a mansard roof is also similar to a hip roof, in that the roof wraps around all sides of the structure.


One particular roof feature that you will encounter quite often is the dormer. Dormers are constructed on top of the roof. They are typically designed to provide additional usable area on the attic level, though some dormers serve a purely decorative purpose. Dormer will have their own roof – often the dormer roof is a gable, hip, shed or even an arched (sometimes called an eyebrow) roof.