Saltbox roofs are a unique and interesting architectural feature. Initially built during the 17th and 18th centuries, their resemblance to wooden salt containers of the time gives them their unique name. Their signature one-sided slope makes them easy to identify. While not as common as they once were, saltbox roofs are still used today in more unique modern architecture.
This guide on saltbox roofs will go in-depth about their common uses, pros and cons, and their cost. That way, you can decide if a saltbox roof is right for you!
WHAT IS A SALTBOX ROOF + ITS DISTINGUISHING FEATURES?
Because none of us have probably ever used a colonial-era saltbox, it can be hard to imagine how this type of roof looks. The best way to describe it is that it looks like a gable roof, with one pitch and two sides, but this asymmetrical roof has one long side, then a shorter side with a steep slope.
The main purpose of this design was to create extra storage space in the attic or loft area. The steeper slope on the shorter side allowed for this by creating more headroom on that particular side. However, this also means that only half of the house can allow for an upper level— like a lofted area. The longer slope, however, allows for more open space and higher ceilings. In short, the most distinguishing features of a saltbox roof are:
- Its asymmetrical slopes.
- It has one short, steep slope and one long, shallower slope.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HAVING A SALTBOX ROOF ON YOUR HOME?
If you have a saltbox roof on your home, you might be aware of its amazing benefits. If you’re considering one, here’s what you can expect:
GREAT FOR SNOWY CLIMATES ❄️
Saltbox roofs have great snow and ice-shedding capabilities, making them excellent in snowy climates. The steeper slope allows snow to slide off easily, which prevents it from building up and causing damage or a collapse.
ADDS CURB APPEAL 😍
Another great thing about saltbox roofs is that they add curb appeal. This unique roof style is eye-catching and can make your home stand out from the rest.
HIGH WIND RESISTANCE 🍃
Saltbox roofs stand up to high winds better than a standard gable roof. This is because the steeper slope allows wind to flow over the roof rather than hitting it head-on.
ADDS MORE LIVING SPACE 🛋️
Although saltbox roofs only allow more living space on one half of it, the space created is perfect for additional living space, like a lofted bedroom or office. The steeper slope provides more headroom on that side of the attic.
ARE THERE ANY DRAWBACKS TO USING A SALTBOX ROOF
With this unique roof style, there, of course, are a few cons— cause nothing’s perfect.
COMPLICATED TO INSTALL 🏗️
While the roof looks like a standard two-sloped roof, it can be a little more complex to install. There aren’t any supporting beams, which can speed up the process, but the steepest side of the roof requires more safety measures and takes a little extra time to install properly.
TAKES AWAY FROM VITAL ATTIC SPACE ⛔
Yes, a saltbox roof can add living space, but it does not have a standard attic space like gable roofs. In turn, this can mean there’s less storage and less insulation if not done right.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO INSTALL OR REPLACE A SALTBOX ROOF ON YOUR HOME
More often than not, a saltbox roof will likely be built in the initial home build. In this case, you can expect a saltbox home to cost between $200,000 and $500,000, with the average being $285,000, according to HomeAdvisor.
The roofing component, however, makes up between $5,000 and $20,000 of that overall cost. So if you did want to renovate your single-story home to have a saltbox roof and lofted living space, you could. That cost would really depend on the size of your home, the amount of lumber needed to build up the frame, and then insulation and roofing materials like asphalt shingles.