Jerkinhead Roofs – Architect, History, Uses, Benefits, and Costs

A gable roof is the most traditional roofing style seen in homes today. This style looks more like a pyramid than a V. The gable roof resembles a shed-shaped gable roof. Jerkinhead roofing systems are also called “half-tank” and “Dutch hip.” People like this style of roofing because it reminds them of the style of many church roofs.

Basically, the jerkin roof combines elements of hipped and gable roof structures to create complex roofs for buildings. Although the word sounds incredibly ridiculous, Jerkinhead is steeped in history. This tells us that the origins of the Jerkinhead roof system are actually quite old.

Identify the structure

This roof style resembles a gable roof with two sloping sides that meet in the middle, although the main ridge is quite flat and is more of a hipped roof style. (See options and alternative models at the bottom of the page).


The thatched roof dates back to the Middle Ages, although its appeal increased in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The Jerkinhead gable roof style was widely used in the mid-1920s by a designer named Gilbert Stanley Underwood. He was working for the Utah Parks Company at the time.

This design was not widely used in the United States until designers began using this type of roofing system to beautify bungalow-style homes popular at the time. Today, Jerkinhead roofing systems are a standard style often found on cottages and other homes in Craftsman, California, as well as on many churches. If your house of worship dates from the 1920s to 1950s, or if it was built to reflect the form of that era, it probably has a Jerkinhead roof.

Why a drawing of an acorn?

The style of Jerkinhead roofs is quite complex and fascinating. This roofing system essentially solves and corrects the main problems of the hipped roof system and the gable roof style. Both the gable roof and the hipped roof are prone to damage. With a pitched roof, at least two sides of the house are fully exposed to the wind.

Simpler roofing materials, such as gable roofs, are never seen again. Ridge roofs constantly attract attention and are always fascinating and add a design element to any home. The design certainly creates a unique look, and is a more rewarding choice compared to more economical roof styles.

A roof can be the perfect roof for your dream home. And if so, you will enjoy the pun on the name of this roofing system for years to come. It’s hard to put a price on a word like that!

Advantages of the Jerkinhead roof

A special view

Jerkinhead roof structures fit many architectural ideas, such as American Foursquare and French style homes. They represent comfort and stability and are suitable for cottages and small houses.

High wind resistance

The style of Jerkinhead roof systems is complex and has a gentle slope with subtle curves and bends. This stylistic element allows jerkinhead roof systems to perform well in high wind areas, making them ideal for climates and landscapes exposed to harsh weather conditions.

Increased stability

The use of rafters and trusses in the construction of a lifting roof increases the strength and stability of the entire structure. The flat roof pitch also increases stability compared to other roofing systems, including fairly wide profiles.

Disadvantages of the Jerkinhead Roof

Minimum distance

The Jerkinhead style roofing system limits the overall footprint of the building. This can be quite inconvenient, especially if owners want to increase their storage space. As with other types of roofs, attic space is limited unless a separate level is created under the roof.

Difficult access

Because of their style, Jerkinhead roofs are difficult to reach for repairs. It is also difficult for roofers to enlarge them. Maintenance sometimes requires special elevators and ladders to reach the damaged areas or even clean the gutters.

Difficult to ventilate

Jerkinhead roof systems can be difficult to ventilate. This leads to reduced ventilation and less light in the building.

Increase in spending

Complicated design and maintenance issues lead to higher costs for the owner.

How are jerkin heads built?

Lever roofing systems require rafters or rafter trusses for aesthetics and stability of the entire roof structure. When installing a roof system without the assistance of a professional, it is essential to have the necessary knowledge of lever roof systems to ensure a safe installation.

The building roofing system can include different types of materials depending on the owner’s requirements and design. The main part of the roof installation includes the triangular section, the inclined section, the hipped roof truss system and the roof pitch. Ridge trusses are installed at the farthest corners of the structure, which are then raised to the ridge.

Jerkinhead roof arrangements.

The construction of a lever roof is more expensive than most other types of roofs. For one thing, it is not very common, so if you hire a contractor, you are paying for a unique skill. You should contact a roofer who knows how to install a pitched roof.

But even if you do the work yourself, it will cost you more. That’s because you have to buy more materials to make it last. Building a Jerkinhead requires a lot of structural support in the form of rafters and trusses that other roofing systems don’t have.

You should also think about how you will maintain your roof. Imagine climbing onto your roof and cleaning or repairing it at an angle. You should make sure you have special harnesses and/or ladders and elevators.

It’s not to scare you with the Jerkinhead design, although it certainly can. The question you need to ask is whether the appearance of a Jerkinhead roof is worth the extra construction and maintenance costs, as well as the reduction in attic space that comes with this design.

The cost of a roof in Jerkinhead

Jerkinhead roofing systems are more expensive than traditional roofing systems due to their complex construction. The cost of a Jerkinhead roof can range from $20,000 to $50,000 or more for a typical 1,500 square foot roof system.

Make sure the contractor you hire has experience with cantilever roof structures and is able to provide an accurate quote for the work. It is not enough for a roofer to have a lot of experience with gable roofs.

You should also consider the type of roofing material you want to use, as this can have a significant impact on the overall cost of your roof. Asphalt shingles are generally the cheapest, while cedar shingles are more expensive. In the case of a church, commercial building or barn, a metal roof may be the best solution.

How long should the Jerkinhead roof last?

It is assumed that a pitched roof has a longer life span than a lightweight flat roof. The lifespan of steep roof systems depends on many factors, including weather conditions, the products used and the quality of the construction. A well-built Jerkinhead roof system with the best products and excellent insulation will last longer and require less long-term maintenance.

Variations and alternatives for Jerkinhead

If you have any doubts about the design of bobbleheads, take a look at these canopy drawings. Some are cheaper to install, and some have an even more unique look than the acorn. One of them may be the best option for your budget and/or home design.

Single hipped roof

The single hipped roof is suitable for structures where two sides are longer than the opposite sides. In this type of roof, all sides slope toward the walls.

Roof in crossed hips

Cross Hipped Roof

Combination of two hipped roof structures with each other, creating a transverse hipped roof system. The two sections of the roof system meet at the ends and form a joint or “valley”.

Pyramid with hipped roof

Pyramid Hip Roof

The pyramidal roof system consists of four triangular sides of equal dimensions. The sides meet in a point at the top of the structure.

Dutch gable roof with hipped roof

Dutch Gable Hip Roof

The Dutch hipped roof is a hybrid design inspired by the two styles of hipped and gabled roofs. There is a full or partial gable at one end of the ridge.

Combined roof

Combo Roof

As the name suggests, a combination roof combines several roof types into one. A house may have a hipped roof system, with a gable roof system above the dormers. The varied combination of roofs offers a unique aesthetic appeal.

An experienced roofer has access to the plans for all these types of roofs and should be able to accurately estimate them based on the dimensions of your home or building.

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