What Is a Reverse Gable Roof?

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Reverse gable roofs are roof sections that extend in the opposite direction from the normal gable construction. These are usually miniature additions that allow homeowners to include windows and peaks in an otherwise flat roof slope. A dormer window is a good example of a reverse gable roof. You can add reverse gables to your home, but it is more common for a reverse gable roof to be included in the original structure.

What Is a Reverse Gable Roof?
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What Is a Reverse Gable Roof?

A reverse gable roof typically sits perpendicular to the main roof, making it a secondary construction attached to the main roof of the house. Reverse gables can also refer to construction on an alternate side of a gabled structure, often seen with garages that are positioned along the side of a house instead of directly beneath the peak of the roof. When installed on a side-wall in this manner, these garages are known as reverse gable garages.

Gable Roof vs Reverse Gable Roof

A gabled roof is made of two surfaces that slope upward to meet along a single ridge, forming a peak at either end of the house and allowing debris, rain and snow to slide off the roof on either side. These double-sloping rooftops, which create an upside-down V angle at the front and back of houses, are a common part of the average home design. Reverse gables are examples of the same gable structure that face away from the original gabled roof so that the two ridges form a perpendicular angle. Reverse gables are used primarily for decorative purposes. A dormer window is a good example of this kind of reverse gabled roof. When placing garage doors, a reverse gable does not mean an additional gable has been made, but that the door has been set underneath one of the sloping sides of the roof instead of beneath one of the peaks. This is often easier when creating garages for houses that can be extended to the side without adding a new roof.

Uses of Reverse Gable Roofs

The most common use for reverse gable is adding windows on roofs. Without reverse gables, windows would have to be either skylights set at an angle on the slope of the roof, or openings confined to either end where the roof peaks. While this works for attics or crawlspaces, many homeowners prefer traditional windows for bedrooms that are located within the roof area. A small reverse gable, or dormer window, can be built into the roof. Since a sturdy reverse gable must be part of the roof structure itself, these are often planned out beforehand and included in the blueprint of the house. They can also be part of additions, with the changing roofline for the addition adding an attractive feature to the house.

Materials Needed to Build

Due to the complicated nature of reverse gables, requiring very precise angles set against the original gable, they are usually only constructed with wood beams. It is possible to construct reverse gables with steel beams, but this is very rare compared to the traditional method.

Things to Consider

Since reverse gables are added mostly for decoration or internal convenience, they can cause slight problems with the roof structure, forming weak points that are difficult to shingle and more likely to crack or wear down than other parts of the roof. Since the extra angles of reverse gables create pockets for dirt and mildew to gather, they need to be cleaned more regularly than other parts of the original gable roof.


Tyler Lacoma

Tyler Lacoma has worked as a writer and editor for several years after graduating from George Fox University with a degree in business management and writing/literature. He works on business and technology topics for clients such as Obsessable, EBSCO, Drop.io, The TAC Group, Anaxos, Dynamic Page Solutions and others, specializing in ecology, marketing and modern trends.