What is a Jerkinhead Roof?

A jerkinhead roof looks like a standard gable roof from the sides but has a clipped overhang on each end.

Jerkinhead roofs are typical for Tudor-style houses, but you can also find them in some craftsman, Queen Anne, and stick-style homes. Their unique shape makes them more structurally sound while also acting as a design detail.

If you’re considering a jerkinhead roof for your home, here are some examples, pros, and cons.

What is a Jerkinhead Roof Design?

Jerkinhead RoofView in gallery

A jerkinhead roof combines two styles – a gable and a hipped roof. Gable roofs feature two slopes, resembling a triangle. Hipped roofs feature four sloping sides that meet at a ridge or peak.

A jerkinhead roof looks like a gable roof on the sides, with two slopes that meet at a ridge. In the front and back is a hipped section much shorter than the sides, giving the roof an asymmetrical look.

Pros and Cons of a Jerkinhead Roof

The jerkinhead roof offers a traditional look but comes with pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Increased stability – The hipped ends of a jerkinhead roof provide more strength and resistance against high winds than a standard gable roof.
  • Doesn’t cut into top floor space – One of the downsides of a traditional hip roof is that it eliminates top floor space with its angles. A jerkinhead roof only features hipped sides on the front and back, allowing for a sizable top floor or attic.
  • Less prone to leaks than hip roofs – Since the hipped sections of a jerkinhead roof are clipped, they have much shorter seams and are less likely to leak than a standard hip roof.
  • Aesthetics – Jerkinhead roofs give homes a traditional or historic look.

Cons:

  • Expensive to build – The jerkinhead roof will require more labor and material costs than a standard gable roof.
  • More complex repairs – The design of the jerkinhead roof makes them more challenging to access and repair.

Jerkinhead Roof vs. Hip Roof: Which is Better?

Jerkinhead Roof vs. A Hip RoofView in gallery

A hip roof features four sloping sides that are self-bracing. Because of the self-bracing features, hip roofs are superior at withstanding high winds. The biggest con to hip roofs is that their many seams create space for leaks.

A jerkinhead roof features a gable roof design with two sloping sides – only the ends of the roof have hipped sections which are clipped short. The hip additions help the roof withstand wind, but not as well as a traditional hip roof.

Both roofs have merits, and the choice typically comes down to aesthetics. Jerkinhead roofs are the best choice for a historical, traditional look. The look of standard hip roofs can work for all home styles but are most popular for tropical homes. 

Jerkinhead Roof Examples

Here are some examples if you’re wondering what a jerkinhead roof looks like.

Craftsman Bungalow with Jerkinhead Roof

Craftsman Bungalow with Jerkinhead Roof
Elements Design Build

The jerkinhead roof on the top of this craftsman bungalow draws your eye up. It also provides shade over the upper windows.

Wood Home with a Jerkinhead Roof

Wood Home with a Jerkinhead Roof
Judge + Associates

A jerkinhead or clipped gable roof sits atop this wood home in Denver, Colorado. The roof gives the house a traditional feel and complements its rustic wood siding.

Jerkinhead Roof on English Country Home

Jerkinhead Roof on English Country Home
Kyle Hunt & Partners, Incorporated

Jerkinhead roofs are typical for English-style homes. The architects of this home added several clipped gable roofs for a traditional look.

Jerkinhead Roof on Two-Story Home

Jerkinhead Roof on Two-Story Home
Allan Edwards Builder Inc.

The homeowners chose a shingle jerkinhead roof for this home which helps give it a historic look. The home features an intricate roof design, combining many styles.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What is another name for a jerkinhead roof?

Jerkinhead roofs are also known as clipped gable and snub gable roofs.

Is the jerkinhead roof a kind of gable?

A jerkinhead roof is a gable roof with two hipped sections at the end that are clipped or cut off short.

Can you put a jerkinhead roof on a dormer?

You can put a jerkinhead roof over dormers – doing so will help provide shade over the dormer windows.

What kind of material can you put on a jerkinhead roof?

You can put any material on a jerkinhead roof, but shingles, tiles, and slate are the most common.

Final Thoughts

Jerkinhead roofs provide a traditional aesthetic while increasing durability and wind resistance. They combine the features of a standard gable and hip roof for a unique look with short, clipped sections on two ends.

While a Jerkinhead is a good choice for a Tudor, craftsman, Queen Anne, and stick style home, they are more expensive and complicated to maintain than other roofs. But, if you want to stick with a historical look for your house, they’re one of the best options to consider.