Roof Shapes for Tiny House RVs

Six Basic Roof Shapes / photo credit

In architecture, the roof shape of a structure will have a big impact on the overall design. Above you can see six basic roof shapes, but for the purposes of this concise article we are only going to discuss the following: 1). Gable Roof, 2). Gambrel Roof, 3). Hipped Roof, and 4). Flat Roof.

Remember there are advantages and disadvantages to every roof shape, but most importantly you should choose the shape that best fits the visual aesthetic of your entire Tiny House RV design.

A Tumbleweed Elm w/ a Gable Roof Shape & Dormers

Gable Roof

When you ask a child to draw a house, what do they usually draw? Answer: A gable roof shape with two windows, a door and perhaps a chimney. The gable roof shape is classic, sophisticated and summons an emotional connection of "home". 

Here is what the interior of a Tiny House RV with a gable roof looks like:

A classic gable roof. *Note, the roof expands to shed dormers in the loft.

This Tiny House RV's great room feels spacious because of the peaked roofline, guiding your eyes skyward. The steep 12:12 roof pitch also allows for easy rain and snow runoff. 

"Runaway Shanty"- Tiny House RV being built on a Tumbleweed Trailer w/ Gambrel Roof Shape

2. Gambrel Roof

The gambrel roof shape is a staple for the traditional American "country home". As you travel through the rural areas of the United States, you will see many examples of the gambrel roof used on farmhouses and barns. You might also see this roof shape used in a few colonial residences around New England. 

Here is what the interior of a Tiny House RV with a gambrel roof looks like:

April's Tiny House RV with a Gambrel Roof Shape

The gambrel roof provides more interior ceiling space than the gable, while also providing a decent slope for snow and rain runoff. That being said, this roof shape is more difficult to construct and will be heavier than a traditional gable.

The Tumbleweed Cypress w/ a Hipped Roof

3). Hipped Roof

The hipped roof, seen here on a Tumbleweed Cypress, is our most popular Tiny House RV design. A visual charmer, hipped roof shapes can be seen all over the country in residential architecture. The design resonates will many home owners, which has lead to its overwhelming popularity. 

Here is what the interior of a Tiny House RV with a hipped roof looks like:

The hipped roof, as seen above in the small loft above the door, slants inward but still provides ample space for storage or a display. 

The Tumbleweed Mica w/ a Flat Roof

4). Flat Roof

The term "flat roof" is a bit of a misnomer. This roof shape is not completely flat, but actuality has a slight slant for rain runoff. Flat roofs are an ancient form of architecture, but the design is still used all over the world today. For example, most green roofs (roofs used for growing vegetation) are flat roofs.

Here is what the interior of a Tiny House RV with a hipped roof looks like:

So which of these roof shapes would you choose for your Tiny House RV? Comment below!


Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress with her partner, Guillaume. They are photographing and writing about their adventure and occasionally they will be hosting Tumbleweed workshops and open houses. Be sure to follow their tiny house and giant journey.

Written by Jenna Spesard — April 06, 2015

Filed under: Cypress   Elm   Flat   Gable   Gambrel   Hipped   Mica   Roof   Roof Shapes   Tiny Home   Tiny House   Tiny House RV  

In The Tumbleweed Family: New House Names

Meg Stephens, Lead House Designer

Dear Tiny House enthusiasts,

As Tumbleweed’s lead designer, I have been expanding our family of House-To-GoTM models. We think of the family names in two ways:  as external models and internal floor plans.

You asked for flexibility with floor plans and home lengths, and the house names should create a logical way to select from 21 different homes.  

Our exterior models are based on nature.

How do these models differ?  The Elm has a nice porch and iconic lancet window to greet you. Our Cypress features an aesthetically-appealing recessed...

Read More

Written by Debby Richman — October 24, 2013

Filed under: Cypress   Elm   Linden   Meg   Mica   Tumbleweed News  

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