Roof design ideas, inspiration & pictures

What are the different types of roof designs available in South Africa?  

Choosing a roof for your house is one major decision to make. Not only will it affect the entire look and style of the structure, but it also needs to add an appropriate amount of functionality (roofs, after all, are not added to only look pretty).

As part of your roof research, we highly recommend that you take a look at our huge variety of roof designs, as well as check out our collection of roofers and architects in South Africa.

Some popular roof designs in South Africa include:


These designs are easy to build and require less material than pitched roofs, making them cheaper. You also have more freedom as far as the design of the house is concerned, but remember – a flat roof still needs a slight pitch for water drainage (a minimum gradient of 3-5 degrees is recommended).

Single pitch

“Pitch” refers to the gradient of the roof. A roof with a gradient of more than 15 degrees is classified as pitched. High-pitched roofs are usually more expensive to build as more material is required. The benefit, however, is that they are less inclined to leak because it is easier for water to drain away. A pitched roof can have one or more pitches.

Double pitch

A double pitch is actually what most people call a pitched roof. This roof’s gradient runs in two different directions and forms a ridge where they meet. The greater the gradient, the less inclined the roof will be to leak, yet more material is required to build the roof.

Thatched roofs

Thatched roofs are ideal for the South African climate because they make sure buildings are warm in winter and cool in summer. A thatched roof provides a striking (rustic) look and can provide residents with a lot of comfort, provided that it’s installed correctly.  

How can I get rid of pests in my roof?

All roofs, whether or not they are made of grass, are home to insects. The best way to rid yours of bugs is to have your home professionally fumigated about once a year. 

What are the insurance implications of thatched roofs in South Africa?

Premiums on thatched-roof houses are higher than for ordinary roofs. However, some insurance companies can offer a discount if you use a fire-retardant product.

Which roofing materials are more popular in South Africa?


By far the most practical solution, a metal roof is lightweight and can have a life expectancy as long as your house. Although installation is not easy and can only be done by a professional (which will raise the initial cost), there is no need for the old roof to be dismantled and disposed of, as the metal can be upcycled and used again.

Leaving little room for cracks and leaking, costs are saved due to the fact that very little maintenance is required. Don’t forget that metal is a non-combustible material, and its fire resistant properties make a metal roof one of the safest options for a house. Partly made with recycled material, a metal roof is also environmentally-friendly, and another added benefit is that it is able to reflect heat and block its transfer (a huge factor here in South Africa), increasing energy efficiency and saving up to almost 20% on electricity bills.


Definitely worth considering if you want to achieve a super stylish home. The best part about installing a tile roof is that it is very resistant and sustainable. However, remember that clay, concrete or sand-castle tiles are all quite heavy and easily breakable during installation, which makes it quite a difficult process.

Tiles need to be installed by a skilled roofer and the installation usually requires extra structural reinforcement to support the weight. Although tiles are the most expensive option, they also last the longest. Homeowners also need to consider the cost of maintaining the underlayment, which is necessary to avoid leaks and cracks.


Showcasing a natural beauty, slate can complement just about every architectural style. It’s also available in numerous natural colours, making it perfect for the modern design focusing on neutral/earthy hues. Its longevity is ideal for homeowners who don’t intend on selling, as well as those who require short-term real estate investment to increase the value of their home.

However, a slate roof often requires an additional cost of cleaning and the painting of your gutters on a regular basis. The heaviness of the slate material also requires extra support, while the fragility of the roof often means professionals need to take caution when walking on the roof.

How can I make my roof eco-friendly?

An eco-friendly roof can save a lot on electricity bills in the long run, as well as make your home naturally cooler without having any negative impact on the environment. It can also bring more light inside and improve the air quality inside your house.

In South Africa, there are a few choices to consider for eco-friendly roofs. One way is to cover your roof with green vegetation, for which a professional on the matter will undoubtedly be required. Another way is to opt for solar panels or wind panels if you live in an area which is windier rather than sunny, like Cape Town. You can also add a skylight to your roof – a superb way to lure in natural lighting, as well as enjoy some star-gazing from the comfort of your own home.