All winter long I reviewed and planned our new storage shed but wondered what style would be best for us, the gambrel roof shed or the gable roof shed. Where you live, and your type of weather will often help you to decide on which shed roof is best for you
How do you choose which shed roof is best? Most outdoor storage sheds are built with either a gable or gambrel roof. Gable roofs have a much simpler design suitable for all weather conditions. Gambrel, often called “barn style” roofs, offer more shelving and overhead storage space.
Let’s take a look at the advantages (pros) and disadvantages (cons) of both the gambrel and gable roof storage sheds. They look alike but, many things are different about each style.
Gambrel Roof Sheds
Gambrel roofs are similar to a mansard roof with two slopes to both sides, one steeper than the other. This barn style roof remains very popular on farmhouses and log cabins. The gambrel style roof allows for an attic or loft for additional storage or living space.
When used on storage sheds, the gambrel roof allows for more interior room to build a second level or loft, basically doubling the storage space.
Gambrel roof sheds are not recommended for high wind areas. Installation of hurricane clips on trusses is strongly advised when building a storage shed with a gambrel style roof.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Gambrel Roof
- Most storage space
- Doors/windows can be installed in any wall
- Greater headroom
- Most loft space, increased storage capacity
- Room for more wall shelving
- More expensive to build
- Not recommended for areas of heavy wind loads
- More difficult to build
Gambrel shed roofs also offer a “rustic look” to their overall appearance which may seem out of place when compared to the more modern look of homes built today. One disadvantage of a gambrel roof shed is that they may be more expensive overall, but the extra cost might well be worth it in the end.
In areas with frequent high winds, I would recommend reinforced trusses on gambrel roof sheds for increased weight and support.
Gable Roof Sheds
Gable roof sheds remain one of the most common styles of storage sheds built today. These roofs are known for their simple, triangular “A” frame design. Suitable for high wind areas, gable roof sheds, however, do leave more surface exposed to the elements.
Gable roofs can be covered with almost any type of roofing material. When building this type of storage shed, I prefer metal roofing. It may add to the overall cost but is well worth the additional investment.
Pros & Cons Of a Gable Roof
Simply stated, gable shed roofs are suitable for light to medium storage capacity only. Easier to build and maintain, gable roof sheds also offer:
- No valleys to leak
- Better snow/water runoff
- Less overall costs
- Matches existing home roof lines better
- Reduced mold and mildew buildup in wet conditions
- Limited shelving space
- Less light and air movement
- Restricted attic/loft storage
Keep in mind, that even the largest of gable roof sheds will store much less than the same size gambrel roof shed, which is one major disadvantage.
Gambrel Roof Shed vs Gable Roof Shed: What’s the Difference?
Sizes for pre-built range from 8×8 to 12 x 20 feet, but on-site builds of gambrel roof storage sheds can be larger. Determining the total square footage of storage space that is needed, including future needs, will give you a rough estimate of the correct size of the shed that is required.
Cubic square footages range from 424 cubic feet for an 8×8, to over 2,000 cubic feet of storage room for a 12×20 ready to assemble gambrel roof prefab shed.
Gable sheds are available in a wide range of sizes meeting all your storage requirements. From 8×8 to 10×16, gable roof sheds are one of the most popular sheds built and easily match existing homes.
With storage space from 424 cu ft. to 829 cu ft. gable roof sheds offer a good range of sizes that are an affordable and practical solution to your storage needs.
Shed Wall Height
Shed wall heights for gambrel roof sheds are typically 54” for a short wall and 96” for a tall wall 8×8 building. In comparison, wall height for a prefab 8×8 gable roof shed is 72″. Although the wall height for the gable roof shed may appear taller than a short wall gambrel roof shed, keep in mind that space is at a premium with gable roofs that slope inward reducing overall storage capacity.
The floor storage space for both the gambrel roof shed and the gable roof shed are often measured in cubic feet. For the less mathematically inclined use this formula: Length (feet) x Width (feet) x Height (feet) = Volume in cubic feet (written as Xft3).
Note: A short wall gambrel roof shed will have approximately the same storage volume as the same size gable roof shed with a 72” wall height.
Gambrel roof sheds are designed to maximize the total interior space. Due to the gambrel roof shed height, additional storage or lofts can be easily installed, increasing the storage space. Extra shelves can also be built to efficiently increasing capacity.
With a more open floor plan, larger items can be placed closer to the walls and out of the way for easier access to the loft or shelving areas.
Designed for smaller storage needs, the gable roof shed is ideal for storing lawnmowers, bicycles and garden equipment. With overall smaller cubic feet or room available, gable roof sheds often become full quickly.
Adding a smaller loft to gable roof shed is possible but does not add a great deal of storage space to the overall maximum capacity. Loft headroom is also minimal and items are hard to retrieve when needed.
Standard roof materials for either the gambrel roof shed or the gable roof shed are asphalt shingles. You can expect the least expensive asphalt shingles to last for 10-years. Asphalt shingles are sold in squares or 3 bundles per square.
Higher grade asphalt shingles have a warranty of up to 40 years.
In areas of heavy snow loads, metal roofs might be a good idea. Naturally, metal roofs will raise the overall cost of your new shed but will pay for itself in a few years.
Setting a price or budget for the construction of either the gambrel roof shed or the gable roof shed is always a factor that should be part of the planning stage. Prices for prefab storage sheds can range from $1,099 for an 8×8 gambrel roof shed built on your foundation to over $3,500 depending on the dimensions of your shed.
Always keep in mind that prices will vary depending on where you live. These prices do not include the price of foundations which could cost up to $1,000 or more.
Your new gambrel or gable roof shed should be placed on the level, compacted ground. A concrete foundation is best but not necessary. If you decide to build your shed, my recommendation is to use deck blocks with the proper footprint for the size of your shed.
If possible, place or build your new storage shed in an area of your yard that is not subject to flooding and will not interfere with other uses of your backyard. If placed above the ground supported by deck blocks, be sure to install wire barriers from the ground to the bottom of your new unit.
Inexpensive wire barriers will keep out leaves and prevent rodents from starting a family under your new shed. Above ground placement also allows air to move under your new storage unit which helps prevent rot and keep the interior temperatures cooler during the summer months.
So, Which One Is Better For You?
Let me just quickly recap on how either a gambrel or gable shed can make your life less cluttered. Looking at the advantages and disadvantages of both the gambrel and gable shed should give you a pretty clear picture of which style is the best for you.
Gambrel roof sheds also offer a “rustic look” to their overall appearance which may seem out of place with the more modern look of home built today. With more items that need to be stored with limited space, I decided that the gambrel roof shed is perfect for me.
Armed with all the right information and taking into consideration the size and the possible growth of your family in the future, my only advice would be to get a storage shed that will have enough room now and 10-15 years from now. Bigger is always better!
Isn’t it cheaper to build by own gambrel or gable roof shed? That would depend on your experience with power tools and your mechanical ability. Building these sheds may look easy, but it takes time and a lot of work to build even the smallest of storage sheds.
Are there options in exterior finishes? Definitely. Tongue and groove, vinyl siding, and metal roofing are only a few of the options that are available. Adding interior lighting is another option but will require an electrician and increase the cost of your new storage shed.
What can I expect to pay for an average sized gable roof storage shed? Prices range according to size, options selected, finishes, and the area where you live. Buy what your budget allows without sacrificing building quality is a good rule of thumb.
Let’s face it. We all have a lot of things that we want to keep but no place to keep it. Both the gambrel and gable roof storage sheds offer the best possible solution at the lowest possible cost. Just remember to get the size that has the room that you will need now and in the future.
One thing I want to stress is that building your shed is not going to be completed in one weekend. Your time is valuable and spending it on something that you are either unsure of or lack in experience may eventually cost you more in the long run.
Looking at all the information, you will be able to select the gambrel or gable roof shed that is best for you.