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. When referring to objects such as garage doors, reverse gable means that they have been placed underneath the slope of the roof instead of at the end, underneath the peak. You can add reverse gables to your home, but it is more common for them to be included in the original structure.


A reverse gable roof reverses not the gable structure, but the direction of the gable, making the roof a secondary construction attached to the main roof of the house. Modern reverse gables are rarely seen . Reverse gables can also refer to constructions made on an alternate side of a gabled structure, often seen with garages that are positioned along the side of a structure instead of directly underneath the peak of the roof. When installed on a side-wall in this manner, they are known as reverse gable garages.


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 gable roof so that the two ridges form a perpendicular angle. Reverse gables are used primarily for decorative purposes, letting windows be set in the roof to look out the sides of the house. When referring to the placement of 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 underneath 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.


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 can be built into the roof to allow such windows. Since a sturdy reverse gable must be part of the roof structure itself, they are often planned out beforehand and included in the blueprints of the house.


A reverse gable porch, courtesy Kearns Brothers

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.


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.