What is a Lean-To Roof?

A lean-to roof is a single sloped roof that attaches to an existing building. Homeowners most often use lean-to roofs for home and outbuilding additions.

The most significant advantage of a lean-to roof is the easy construction. Since these roofs only have one slope, they don’t require a lot of material or labor costs.

If you’re considering adding to your house, garage, or outbuilding, here’s what you should know about lean-to roofs.

What is a Lean-To Roof Design?

What is a Lean-To Roof?View in gallery

A lean-to is a shed roof featuring one sloping side that butts up against an existing structure. Contractors use lean-tos to add on to houses or outbuildings. Lean-tos can be enclosed on all four sides or left open, depending on the use.

Since lean-tos have a steep pitch, they prevent water or snow from piling on the roof but require gutters for adequate drainage.

What is a Double Lean-To Roof?

A double lean-to roof occurs when two lean-to roofs butt up against one another at their lowest peak, forming a “V.” Double lean-to roofs are not as common as single lean-to roofs.

Pros and Cons of a Lean-To Roof

Lean-to roofs are ideal for home and outbuilding additions. Here’s a further look at the pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Easy construction – Since lean-to roofs only feature one sloping side, they make home and outbuilding additions easy.
  • Inexpensive – Lean-to roofs are one of the least expensive to design since they don’t require a lot of material.
  • Prevent snow and water pooling – The slope of a lean-to prevents water or snow from sitting on the roof.
  • Can use any material – You can match the roofing material on your lean-to to what’s already on the structure.

Cons:

  • Not suitable for hurricane zones – A lean-to or shed roof isn’t your best option if you live in a hurricane zone or an area with frequent high winds.
  • Looks – While lean-tos provide a simple way to add additions, they don’t match every house style.

Lean-To Roof: Ideas and Examples

If you’re wondering how a lean-to looks, here are some examples and ideas.

Home Addition with Lean-To Roof

Home Addition with Lean-To Roof
ALCO Exteriors

In this home addition, a lean-to roof with a sharp slope creates an extra room. The siding on the addition matches the house.

You can use lean-to roofs of various pitches to add small additions to homes.

Barn with Lean-to Roof 

Barn with Lean-to Roof 
King Construction Company LLC

A lean-to roof is added to the side of this barn to house equipment and offer shade. It’s not uncommon for barns and sheds to have open walls on lean-to additions.

You can use a lean-to on a barn or garage to store extra equipment, wood piles, and supplies.

Ultra Modern Home With Lean-To Style Glass Room

Ultra Modern Home With Lean-To Style Glass Room
Lucid Architecture

Lean-tos aren’t just for barns and farmhouse additions. These roofs look great on ultramodern homes too.

The glass room on this contemporary house features a lean-to roof and a mid-century modern feel.

Mountain Home with Lean-To Addition

Mountain Home with Lean-To Addition
Studio Architects

A lean-to roof and rock walls make a great addition to this wooden mountain house. If you’re adding a lean-to to your home, you can make it blend in by using the same siding or turn it into an accent by choosing a complementary material.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What’s the best roofing material for a lean-to?

You can use any material for a lean-to roof, including metal, asphalt shingles, and tiles. Consider using the same roofing material as the structure you’re adding to.

What is a lean-to roof called?

A lean-to roof is also called a shed roof or a skillion roof.

Can you put a lean-to roof on the side of the house?

You can put a lean-to roof on the side of the house to create an addition. Lean-tos are ideal for butting up against existing structures.

What is it called when a cabin has a lean-to roof?

A cabin roof with one sloped side is called a shed roof or skillion roof. If a cabin has an addition with a sloped roof, that is called a lean-to roof.

Is a shed roof the same as a lean-to?

A lean-to is a type of shed roof. Lean-to roofs are single-sided roofs contractors use for additions – they butt against existing structures. Shed roofs are single-sided sloped roofs that sit atop homes and outbuildings.

Are lean-to roofs expensive?

Since lean-to roofs only have one side, they’re less expensive than many other styles. A considerable roofing cost is material, so the price will vary depending on what you choose. According to Forbes, asphalt shingles are one of the least expensive roofing materials.

Final Thoughts

Lean-to roofs feature one sloping side that butts up against an existing structure. Since these roofs only have one side, they’re easy and cheap to build. You can use a lean-to roof to add to any building, including houses, garages, and barns.

The most significant disadvantage to lean-tos is they don’t stand up well to high winds and may not match every house. Lean-tos are commonly added to modern and rustic homes but may not suit more traditional styles.