What is a Shed Roof?

Shed roofs have a single sloping side and feature one of the most straightforward designs. 

Shed roofs maximize space on the upper floor and are easier and cheaper to build than many other roof types. And even though the name implies these roofs are only for sheds, you can use them on any structure.

If you’re considering adding a shed roof to your home or outbuilding, here’s what you need to know.

What is a Shed Roof Design?

What is a Shed Roof?

A shed roof features one steeply sloped side. The steep slope promotes water and snow drainage and maximizes attic or top floor space.

Many small outbuildings and garages feature shed roofs, but you can also find them on modern homes.

What is a Lean-to-Shed Roof?

A lean-to is an add-on to an existing structure. Lean-tos have shed roofs that fit snuggly up against a building’s exterior walls.

Lean-tos can have four enclosed sides or be open with just a roof, depending on the purpose.

Shed Roof Pros and Cons

You can add a shed roof to any building or house. But before you do, here’s a look at the pros and cons.


  • Easy to construct – The simple design makes shed roofs easy to build.
  • Affordable – With the basic design, there are fewer material and labor costs.
  • Offers good drainage – The steep slope promotes rain and snow run-off.
  • Good choice for additions – If you’re adding on to your home, a shed roof is one of the best choices.
  • Modern aesthetic – A shed roof can give your home or outbuilding a modern look.


  • Not ideal for high winds – If you live in a hurricane zone or an area that experiences frequent high winds, a shed roof isn’t your best option.
  • Looks – Shed roofs don’t work well with every home style – they best fit modern and rustic homes.

Shed Roof vs. a Gable Roof: Which is Better?

Shed Roof vs. a Gable Roof: Which is Better?

A gable roof features two sloping sides versus a shed roof with one sloping side. Both styles offer simple designs making them easy to build and less expensive than comparable options.

Both roofs offer good snow and rain drainage but require gutter systems. One advantage of a gable roof is that it better withstands high winds.

One of the most significant differences between the two is appearance. Shed roofs look best on modern or rustic homes, while gable roofs work for every style.

Examples of a Shed Roof

If you want to see examples of a shed roof, here’s how it looks on different types of homes and outbuildings.

Shed Roof on a House in the Woods

Shed Roof on a House in the Woods
Johnston Architects

The shed roof complements this modern house set in the woods. The house is two stories and features mixed siding with a large sloped roof.

The roof marries the modern and rustic look, giving this home a contemporary feel.

Modern Rustic House with a Metal Shed Roof

Modern Rustic House with a Metal Shed Roof
John M. Holmes Architect

Shed roofs can work for the main roof and dormers, as this photo shows. This modern rustic house has metal siding and a metal sloped roof.

The basic roof design complements the simplicity of the home.

Mid-Century Modern House with Shed Roof

Mid-Century Modern House with Shed Roof
Sheer Design Group

You can use shed roofs with a mixture of other styles, as shown in this example. The modern bungalow features a flat roof at the entrance and a shed roof over the central part of the home.

The mix of roof styles and materials helps give this home a mid-century style.

Small Studio Shed with a Shed Roof

Small Studio Shed with a Shed Roof
Studio Shed

While shed roofs are popular for modern homes, they’re practical for outbuildings too. The studio shed in this photo features a simple sloped roof.

The shed roof maximizes the height of the building.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What is a shed roof on a house called?

A shed roof on a house is also called a skillion roof. Many contractors use the terms skillion roof and shed roof interchangeably.

What is the pitch of a shed roof?

The pitch of a shed roof can vary based on your preferences. Many shed roofs have a pitch of 30 degrees, especially lean-to-shed roofs. You’ll want your pitch to be 10 degrees at minimum.

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

You can use shingles, metal, or tiles on shed roofs. According to Consumer Reports, asphalt shingles remain the most popular roofing material since they’re the least expensive and easy to install.

Does a shed have to have a shed roof?

Not all sheds have shed roofs. Some have gable or hip roofs. The type of roof best for your shed depends on personal preferences, budget, and location.

A shed roof features one sloping side, also known as a skillion roof. You can use a shed roof for a home or outbuilding, and they are common for lean-to additions. The most significant advantages to using a shed roof are they’re easy to build, inexpensive, and offer good drainage. The biggest drawback is that they don’t stand up to high wind and don’t fit the style of every type of home.

If you’re looking for a roof that’s easy to build, a shed roof is an excellent option to consider. Comparable options include gable and saltbox roofs.