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Types of Roof Overhangs

See the types of roof overhangs such as shed, flat, awnings, pergola, gambrel and more with their different parts, costs, and the best roof overhang designs for your home.
Modern house exterior with gorgeous roof overhang and terrace surrounded trimmed green lawnA roof overhang consists of how far the roof extends beyond the outside wall of a house or other building. This overhang is also referred to as an eave, and the underside is called a soffit. 

The roof overhang protects the exterior of a house from strong winds and rain. This extended roof keeps rain, snow, and ice from getting behind the siding and causing rot and erosion. It also shades some of the hot sun from windows to prevent glare and keep extra heat out.

The length of a roof overhang is adjusted when the home is being built based on the climate. Houses constructed in rainy and tropical climates have more extended overhangs to protect from extra moisture. 

These longer overhangs have a maximum length of 2 feet. If the roof overhang is longer, builders must install additional support to the soffit underneath. For drier climates, the roof overhang is shorter, and some homes may have no overhang at all.

A roof overhang is designed with the climate in mind or based on the type of building and architectural style home. This informative guide provides the types of roof overhangs and their sizes to help you decide which roof overhang is the best for your home.

See the types of roof overhangs below.

Shed

New modern home features a backyard with shed type roof overhang patioBuilding a shed without a roof overhang could be disastrous when rain soaks the ground around its foundation and rots the wood flooring.

Shed roof overhangs are typically sloped to allow water runoff away from the walls of the shed and can provide a great place to stack firewood or tools for protection from the elements. 

A shed roof overhang is also great for a porch to prevent getting wet from water runoff when going in and out of your home.

The amount a shed roof overhang extends out from the exterior wall depends on the location and typical weather conditions.

Hip

Hip roof A hip roof overhang has several eaves that slant down on all sides and angles. Hip roof overhangs typically follow the design of the roof line and add a very attractive look to your home.

They are the most common roof overhangs and stand up well to windy and stormy weather. Hip roof overhangs also work well to protect a home or building from water runoff.

Flat

Beautiful modern home with flat overhang roofFlat roof overhangs add a handsome look for two-level homes and provide clear views for second-story windows. A flat roof overhang over an entrance needs to have an angle from the wall of the house to the overhang to help with water runoff.

Any other flat roof overhangs on the home also need water runoff provision to prevent water pooling and possible leaks. Read more about flat roof pros and cons here.

Gable

Gable roofMade in a triangular shape that protrudes from the eave, a gable roof overhang is commonly seen over an entryway or front porch.

The simple triangle shape is easily adjusted to any size or home exterior lines, and the tall angle of a gable roof overhang allows for good runoff for rain and snow.

Awnings

Awning roof An awning is added to a home to protect a deck or patio off the home. They can be removed at any time as they are not attached to the actual roofline but instead installed to the side of the home. 

Awnings are also used over windows that face a southern direction exposing the interior to extreme heat and are used to allow windows to be left open during inclement weather.

An awning over a doorway or entrance provides some protection from the weather when entering a home or building.

Modern house design with window awnings, garage and car Retractable Awning

Retractable awnings are added to a deck or patio to provide protection from the sun and a reduction of heat buildup. They are typically mounted directly to the exterior wall of your home and have motorized or manual crank controls to extend and retract the awning. 

The awning can be extended completely for the most coverage or partially according to how much coverage is desired. Retractable awnings also protect from inclement weather.

Juliet Awning

Juliet awnings are not mechanical and typically made from metal in a choice of color. This awning has a straight top line and deep concave sides with sections of metal that run vertically.

Juliet awnings come in metal, copper, aluminum, and steel and offer a distinguished finish to entryways and for windows providing protection from weather and sun.

Canopy

A canopy overhang is used for entry doors when space is limited. They have a steep arch and are connected to the home’s exterior wall. 

Canopies may have a frame made from posts to provide a seating area and can be designed to match any décor style by using color, materials, and architectural lines. These small overhangs offer a place to get out of the weather when unlocking the door to your home.

Sunroom

Modern sunroom extending into the garden surrounded by a block paved patioAdding a sunroom to your home is as easy as enclosing a porch that is located under the roofline already. If the porch only has a small roof overhang, a roof will need to be added to the overhang to cover the sunroom. 

If not added, the short roof overhang will cause water and runoff to flood the sunroom. There are several roof options for sunroom designs with a slope or shed roof working the best. They are both cost-friendly and provide strength and stability.

Screened-In Porch

Screened in porch A screened-in porch offers the fresh air and breeze of the outdoors while protecting you from bugs and unwanted visitors.

Like a sunroom, a screened-in porch project will depend on whether there is an existing roof overhang, what type of roof you prefer, and what your budget allows.

Screened-in porches can either be located off a back deck or a front deck of a home with a permanent roof that extends from the existing roofline.

Pergola

Glass patio with pergola cover and a view of the gardenPergolas are often seen in gardens, from a backyard oasis to an expansive arboretum. A pergola is made from beams and rafters that create a grid pattern with a short overhang of beams and an open top. 

They can also be used for a porch roof, allowing the placement of intertwining vines or clear roof panels.

A pergola may be attached to a home’s exterior wall to create an outdoor seating and entertaining area. Pergolas are supported by columns made from wood or masonry.

Cantilever Roof Overhang

A cantilever roof overhang is found more often on a modern home design. It hangs straight out from the roofline, almost appearing to be suspended in the air.

Cantilever roof overhangs create a dramatic look and are good protection from the weather. 

However, because they are typically flat, additional support is needed for the soffit in areas with heavy snow in the winter.

This type of roof overhang may even be seen under the front section of a home or building that extends over the edge of a property.

Bonnet

Beige stone house with bonnet roof overhangGiving off a stately and eye-catching design, the bonnet roof overhang consists of two slopes. The top slop has more of an angle and sits higher than the lower slope with less of an angle.

The danger is water may accumulate where the two slopes meet without proper construction and waterproofing. Bonnet roof overhangs are more expensive to construct but provide a unique roof design. 

Bonnet roofs are also referred to as a kicked-eaves roof, giving the home a visor look. Homes with wrap-around porches typically have a bonnet roof and overhang.

Curved

House with curved roof designA curved roof overhang is most common as a porch overhang for an entrance to a home. The structure may be formed with wood, but the actual covering tends to be made from metals such as copper that are flexible. Strips of metal are heated and curved to follow the line of the overhang. 

The slope can be customized to your liking but is best when adapted to handle weather conditions such as snow.

A lower pitch is preferred for windy climates to avoid the overhang from being swept up and destroyed. A higher pitch is better for snowy regions to allow for sufficient runoff.

Gambrel

Red orange painted barn shed with gambrel roofing white doors in summer landscape field in countrysideA gambrel roof is commonly found on barns, farmhouses, log homes, and Dutch Colonial home designs. The peak of the roof runs horizontal to the front and back exterior walls and cascades down similar to a waterfall.

The slope on the overhang for the home’s front porch is highly resistant to strong winds and tolerant of winter climates that get heavy amounts of snow.

Hexagonal

A hexagonal roof feature is perfect for a front porch extension. The end design creates a gazebo when screened-in, creating a beautiful sitting area for the front or back of your home. 

Hexagonal roofs for patios are attached directly to a home’s siding and do not need an overhang where it meets the exterior wall. The rest of the angles typically have a slight overhang.

Mansard

House with mansard roofSimilar to a bonnet roof overhang, looking like a gambrel roof, and incorporating a hip roof, a mansard roof offers an interesting design.

The roof has two slopes on all four sides of a home or building, the lower slope having a steeper angle than the top slope, opposite a bonnet roof. 

Often, the lower slope will have dormer windows. The overhang on all four sides is similar to a hip roof overhang.

Overhang Roof Design

Modern one storey commodious house with beautiful roof overhang designDesigning a home with a roof overhang ensures protection from water and snow runoff. Still, other building techniques include a roof edge almost flush with the roofline to afford a modern look.

A rain screen channel allows for water runoff. Homebuilders may choose to use a flush overhang in the front of a home and a standard roof overhang on the back.

The flush overhang does offer protection from weather and, in fact, reduces the possibility of wind picking up the overhang and ripping it off. In a storm such as a tornado, this type of wind velocity could pick up the roof overhang taking the entire roof with it as the wind gets under the structure.

Overhang roof design offers numerous possibilities and choices for homeowners and commercial buildings. See our gallery of roof deck designs here.

Standard Roof Overhang

Beautiful modern house with overhang roofing A roof overhang used to protect the home’s exterior walls and siding from rain is extended 16 to 18 inches from the wall of the house.

A roof overhang designed to provide shade for windows to reduce heat buildup in the home extends out at least 24 inches from the exterior wall and is a standard overhang on track-built homes.

Once the length exceeds 24 inches, the structural integrity may be compromised and need to be reinforced with supports.

At times, when a climate is extremely hot and sunny, an overhang may extend 36 inches. As there are numerous roof overhang types, there is not a standard size other than the measurements listed here. 

There are overhang lengths that exceed the necessary overhang for protection from weather and sun. Roof overhangs may be used as a decorative part of a home design or even a building design. An overhang can create a style to complement a home’s look and define the owner’s preferences.

What Is the Overhang of A Roof Called?

A roof overhang that extends past the home’s exterior wall is also called an eave. It’s the structure at the end of the roof’s slope. Another name for a roof overhang is the rafters of your roof.

The underside of this overhang is given a finished look through framing, siding and other materials and called the soffit, a word that means “fixed under a structure.”

How Much Should a Roof Overhang?

Luxury new home with blue siding and chic patio accented with stone fireplaceA roof overhang depends on the purpose of the overhang and the architectural design. More practical roof overhangs to protect from rainwater and melting snow runoff are anywhere from 16 to 36 inches. Several considerations concern the extended overhang:

  • Protection from sun and heat
  • Prevention of water damage from runoff
  • Reducing splashback
  • Design and style element
  • Wind resistance

Reducing splashback entails keeping water runoff from hitting the ground around the home’s foundation.

Water that pools at the home’s foundation will cause wood rot and cement to crack from water expansion and flexure due to temperature extremes. Splashback may also cause dirt and mud to kick up and stain the exterior siding.

Parts of a Roof Overhang

Porch area of home perfect for entertainingThe parts of a roof overhang depend on the home or building’s construction and architectural design.

Some elements of a roof overhang may be different or not needed according to the weather where the building is located or the materials used to build with.

The main parts of a roof overhang include:

Roof sheathing – The roof sheathing sits under the roofing shingles for support and to provide a nail bed. The sheathing is typically made from ½ inch plywood and extends out beyond a building’s exterior wall to make up the top of roof overhangs.

Underlayment – The roofing felt laid on top of the sheathing before the shingles were nailed down.

Roof tiles – Roof tiles or shingles create the barrier to moisture on the roof and are nailed to the sheathing. They are commonly made from fiberglass asphalt or can be found made from stone or metal.

Fascia – The vertical roof trim is called the fascia and runs along the entire perimeter of a house or building. It’s also called the gutter board and is mounted at the intersection of where the roof edge meets the exterior walls of the house.

Drip edge – The drip edge is made from aluminum or other non-corrosive materials and is placed along the eaves at a 90-degree angle. Drip edges route water runoff away from the fascia and into the gutter.

Soffit – The underside of a roof overhang is the soffit. A soffit can be enclosed or left open to expose the beams for a design effect. The soffit also includes ventilation vents that may provide air circulation in the attic of a home or building.

Frieze Board – The frieze board is a board or trim fixed to the wall of a home or building that forms a corner with the soffit. It’s used to cover the joint or gap between the soffit and exterior wall of the home or building.

Rafter tail – Rafter tails are the ends of the wood beams that are located under the overhang. Rafter tails may be enclosed within the soffit or exposed, sometimes for aesthetics.

Cornice – A wood or metal finish at the edges of a building or home to protect the exterior edges or add a finished look to the eaves.

What Is an Eave?

Stunning house with front garden a driveway and garageThe roof overhang is also called an eave and is a significant part of home building and design. In areas where weather can be wet or stormy, eaves protect from water runoff. 

Eaves also protect windows from overexposure from the sun causing excessive heat to build up inside, and they protect the foundation of a home from water runoff and pooling. Eaves may also be explained as the lower edge of a roof.

Check out more roof types and get more ideas on the types of roof overhangs for your home.

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