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Discover the Timeless Charm of Gambrel Roof Barn Designs

Picture a barn—any barn. Do you see it clearly in your mind? Good. Now, focus on the roofline. Does it feature a pair of different pitches? If so, you're visualizing a gambrel-style barn. In this...

Picture a barn—any barn. Do you see it clearly in your mind? Good. Now, focus on the roofline. Does it feature a pair of different pitches? If so, you're visualizing a gambrel-style barn.

In this article, we'll delve into the world of gambrel barns, exploring their history, advantages, and drawbacks. By the end, you'll have a clear understanding of whether a gambrel roof is the right choice for your barndominium project.

What are Gambrel Barns?

A gambrel barn is simply a barn that features a gambrel roof. The shape of a gambrel roof is distinctive, with two steep slopes on either side and two shallower slopes joining to meet at the top.

The Original Barndominium from Fixer Upper Image © Magnolia

A Rich History

The exact origin and inspiration of gambrel buildings remain unknown, with theories pointing towards diverse locations such as the Netherlands, Indonesia, and indigenous tribes in North America. However, what we do know is that gambrel roofs have long been prevalent in Europe and North America.

Interestingly, in Europe, they were referred to as "mansards" or "kerbs." It was only when they started being constructed on barns and houses in America that they became known as "gambrels" in that part of the world.

Gambrel Roof Barn Image © Carney Logan Architects

The Advantages of Gambrel Roofs

Now that you understand what a gambrel roof is and its history, let's explore the benefits it offers for a barndominium:

1. Easy Construction

Constructing a gambrel roof is straightforward and doesn't require specialized skills. Any experienced contractor can tackle the job with ease.

2. Material Efficiency

A gambrel roof requires fewer materials compared to other roof types. With just a pair of roof beams and some gusset joints, you can construct a durable roof for your barndominium.

3. Cost-Effectiveness

The minimal material requirements of a gambrel roof make it a cost-effective choice. You can allocate the money saved on the roof towards other aspects of your barndo's design.

4. Good Drainage

Gambrel roofs' slanted shape prevents water from pooling on the top, reducing the likelihood of leaks, wood rot, or mold issues.

5. Ample Interior Space

Gambrel-style roofs maximize usable space underneath. Unlike traditional triangular roofs, the lower inclines of a gambrel roof give you more vertical walls and a greater sense of openness. This allows for increased storage, more furnishings, or even a loft that feels spacious and airy.

6. Natural Light and Views

The unique shape of a gambrel roof makes it easier to include large windows or doors, flooding the interior with natural light and providing breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Attics under gambrel roofs are far from dark and claustrophobic.

7. Classic Country Look

When you choose a gambrel roof for your barndominium, you evoke the iconic image of rural America or Europe. Whether you opt for traditional red and white or a personalized color scheme, a gambrel roof adds a touch of classic charm to your structure.

Considerations to Keep in Mind

While gambrel roofs offer numerous benefits, they may not be suitable for all areas with harsh climates. Strong winds can cause a gambrel roof to detach more easily, and heavy snowfall could potentially lead to the roof caving in. However, the slopes of a gambrel roof allow for easy shedding of snow, rain, and hail, minimizing the risk.

Is a Gambrel Roof Right for You?

Consider choosing a gambrel roof if:

  • You desire a roof shape that offers substantial loft space and an open feel.
  • You appreciate the classic, old-fashioned appearance of gambrel barn roofs.
  • You want to save money on materials and construction for your barndo roof.
  • You seek to maximize natural light and embrace panoramic views.
  • Your area doesn't experience excessively high winds or snowfall that could overload the roof.

Ready to Build a Gambrel Barndo?

Adding a gambrel roof to your barndominium instantly infuses it with a timeless rural charm. Whether you opt for a pre-designed floor plan or work with an experienced architect to create your own unique gambrel barndominium, the choice is yours.

Barndominium Image © Magnolia

To get started, click below to explore our recommended barndo builders and designers.

Note: The images used in this article are for illustrative purposes only and belong to their respective owners.