What Is a False Gable on a House?

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Gables are used to complete the end of a pitched roof.

The curb appeal of a home is very valuable. Often when a house is for sale, potential buyers will pull up to the curb and look at the house in order to decide if the house looks appealing enough to actually tour the house. This is a critical issue for a house; if the buyer drives away, the owners have lost a potential sale based on the exterior appearance. For this reason, houses are sometimes built or remodeled to include a false gable.



When a roof is pitched, meaning that it has two slopes that meet at a central ridge, it forms a triangular shape in the pitched area. This space is called a gable. Often the gable is used to finish off the end of the roof. When a gable is not necessary, it is called a false gable. Adding gables to a front facade can update the appearance of a house. Many ranch-style homes built in the last fifty years were designed to look like a simple box with a low-pitched roof running along the width of the house. This design is no longer common. More modern home designs feature one or more gables facing the street.



When a house is being renovated, it is common for the builder or architect to add a gable over the front entry and potentially at each end of the house. With some home styles, dormer gables are added to make it appear that the home has an additional floor in the attic space. Not all dormers or gables are false. A gable is considered false when the protruding portion of the gable roof sits on top of the actual roof. Even if the gable has a window, if the window has no access from inside the house, then the gable is false.

Facade Improvements

While some ranch homes have a very plain roof, other older homes may have gone through a number of renovations over the life of the house. When multiple renovations, additions and remodels take place, the facade of a home can become unbalanced or it may begin to look like a patchwork. To bring the facade back into balance, a new design is created that seeks to unify the former additions into a single new design. This type of improvement may need to use a false gable to balance out an existing gable.


False Gables

Not all gables are good. Sometimes a home will be designed with too many gables, causing the facade to look busy. In this case, an architect may choose to unify the different elements into one single large gable. At any time when the interior ceiling or room structure does not reflect the outside gable, the gable is likely to be false. A false gable is almost always built in order to improve the curb appeal of the home. Poorly constructed false gables built over existing roofs sometimes add too much weight to ceiling rafters or cause water entry points.



F.R.R. Mallory

F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.