The saltbox roof was at the height of their popularity in the Colonial era when Europeans were beginning to colonize North America. This type of roof is asymmetrical and has only two sides. The smaller side has a low slope and the larger side has an even lower slope so as to be almost flat, giving the appearance of a shed-style add-on to one side of a gable roofed home.
Saltbox roofs evolved from gable roofs to allow for more living space for growing families in the 14th to 16th Centuries. Today, saltbox roofs give a house a charming, antique look and are an inexpensive way to add more living space to one side of your home.
Saltbox roofs are well suited for northern climates with moderate to heavy rain and snowfall. Their two sloped sides and lack of flat parts allow water run off and can prevent snow from piling up.
The asymmetrical design of the saltbox roof is also more durable than a gable roof and the lower part of the roof makes accessing it to do maintenance or snow removal easy.
Yes, the unique look of a saltbox roof is very appealing, but a major drawback to the design is the fact that the interior of the home will have slanted interior ceilings.
Also, designing a saltbox roof is more complex than other types of roofs, such as a gable or a shed-style roof and that can add to the cost of construction.
Roofing Materials to Use for a Saltbox Roof
Just about any type of roofing material is suitable for a saltbox roof, so what you decide on is a matter of preference.
When you choose a roofing material, consider the following: your budget, durability and maintenance required, expected lifespan, and aesthetic appeal.
The most popular roofing materials in the Edmonton area are asphalt shingles and wood shake, but if you can spare the expense, metal roofing is a great choice for your saltbox roof. If the slope is quite low, we recommend switching to a higher grade 2-ply SBS roof system. This is more costly but it is much more durable against build-up of snow and ice.
If your ideal home is unique, rustic, and durable, a modern version of the saltbox-roofed home–without the lack of bathrooms, closets, and flooring–could be exactly what you’re looking for.