What are Skillion Roofs and What are the benefits of using Skillion Roofs?

Skillion Roofs: The Ultimate Guide

Skillion Roofs: The Ultimate Guide

Posted on: 26th February, 2021

Last updated on April 28th, 2022 at 03:47 am


Give any child paper and crayons and ask them to draw a house, 9 times out of 10, you will get a triangle on top of a square and perhaps a few windows and doors peppered in for good measure!

Even though most adults think of the classic “triangle” gable roof when they think of the roof of a house, there’s increasing demand across Australia for skillion roofs, in new builds and renovations alike.

What is a skillion roof?

You might not have heard of the term, but you have definitely seen a skillion roof perhaps without realising. Often referred to as the mono-pitched roof, or the shed roof, the skillion roof is a single flat surface with a significant steep pitch or slope to it in either direction.

The skillion roof is most at home in modern residential designs, where it creates a unique and eye-catching architectural feature and brings a sense of heightened interest to the facade of the house.

If you’re looking for a way to increase your home’s kerbside appeal, the skillion roof is an easy way to impress!

How to build a skillion roof?

As a standalone roof, this structure requires a simple and straightforward installation due to the lack of varying pitches or slopes. We recommend beginning with a flat ceiling frame and raising a single wall to be higher on one side, creating a guide for the slope of your new structure.

Next, your builder will integrate rafters, allowing for a shallow birdsmouth on either end followed by a verge plate and gable studs for further support. Lastly, include your roof’s trimmers to allocate an area for your overhang, completed with a final verge rafter.

How to design a skillion roof?

As you’re planning to build a skillion roof, consider the primary materials you will need to install this new home feature. From metal, asphalt, or wood shingles, identify how these selections will incorporate with the rest of your house design.

Once you’ve installed your structure, we also recommend reviewing possible finishes to further protect your roof such as seam metal sheets – ensuring your home will last for years to come. Other key factors to pay attention to include leveling, gradients, and angles in relation to the wind’s direction to counteract and prevent possible storm damage.

How to insulate a skillion roof?

When you’re ready to insulate your home’s skillion roof, we recommend considering high-performing, engineered blow in glasswool insulation for the ultimate thermal protection.

By insulating your skillion roof you can save costs on energy bills due to the secure coverage of any gaps and voids in your roof’s structure. We recommend employing a skilled professional to install your material of choice for insulation, followed by an appropriate lining to complement this swift and simple construction process.

How much does a skillion roof cost?

As you consider the price of materials, in addition to the ongoing maintenance and repair costs for other roof systems, you’ll discover that skillion roofs are incredibly cost-effective in the long run. Depending on the size of your roof, construction can range from $3,500 to $6,000 in total.

Long-term factors such as weather conditions, lower chance of leakage problems, and the quality of building resources allow skillion roofs to become an affordable and durable choice for many home builders.

Are there different types of skillion roofs?

As with all design elements, skillion roofs have seen some evolution and change over the years. Aside from the classic single steep pitch, there are two other popular skillion roof types.

1. Butterfly roof

Often referred to as a double skillion roof (or butterfly roof), this unique aesthetic is essentially two straight sections of the roof sloping steeply down towards a centre point that usually runs from front to back.

It gets its name from the shape of wings created when viewing the house from the centre point, much like a butterfly taking flight.

2. Oval roof

A curved or oval skillion roof uses a soft curve instead of the steep straight line and echoes a more organic aesthetic. It may allow for a greater indoor area, even adding an extra floor where height is restricted and is also more naturally resistant to wind. However, oval roofs are not commonly used in residential design as it tends to be cost prohibitive.

3. Split skillion

It is becoming popular to integrate traditional gabled roofing and skillion roofing in a single home, referred to as split-skillion roof.

4. Multiple skillion sections

Designing a number of skillion sections at differing heights can also be aesthetically pleasing, with the same impressive look but less of a hit to the budget.

What are the benefits of a skillion roof?

We’re seeing skillion roofs increasing in popularity due to their many advantages over other roofing types.

1. Better drainage

With the roof’s dramatic steep pitch, water runs off much faster and it’s less likely to suffer from drainage problems other roof types might. While you need to ensure your drainage system and gutters are appropriate for this increased water runoff, it’s much less likely that a skillion roof will leak.

Additionally, the unique butterfly skillion roof is a particularly eco-friendly option, with its “wings” and centre point making collection and reuse of rainwater much easier. This is great in Australia’s current drought climate and appeases specific sustainability regulations regarding reusing rainwater for new home builds.

2. More eco-friendly and sustainable

Further to the easy collection of rainwater from your skillion roof, the sloping angle provides a perfect surface for the installation of solar panels, helping you reduce your electricity bills and save even more money in the future!

Additionally, these roofs are ideal for skylights to make the most of the sun’s natural light during the day and reduce electricity usage.

3. More affordable

Skillion roofs are easier, cheaper and faster to build, as they require fewer materials than traditional gable roofs. This brings down the price of your roof, giving you a contemporary modern look at a fraction of the cost.

4. Aesthetic dramatic design

The singular sweeping steep line of the skillion roof is sure to draw attention to your home from the street, while the soaring ceilings inside your home will be a conversation piece for many dinner parties to come.

5. Privacy from close neighbours

You can effectively block out views into your house by angling the steep slope of your roof down towards neighbours who have built close to one side of your block. You can then make use of clerestory windows to bring in ventilation and light into your space while keeping your privacy from prying eyes.

6. Longer lifespan

When constructed correctly with quality materials and by a skilled builder, a skillion roof will offer a longer lifespan than a standard flat roof due to the steep angle and cost much less in lifetime maintenance.

7. Extensions

Often extensions that are added to a property after the original build make use of a skillion roof for extra cover. This is another benefit when considering a skillion roof.

Are there any downsides to a skillion roof?

1. Limited space

If you’re planning a sizeable attic in your home, skillion roofing is not the way to go. Due to the angle and the fact you still need to install insulation and services into the roof cavity, you will be limited for space in the attic.

2. Lower ceilings

If the drama and angle of your roof is quite severe, you may be left with lower ceilings inside your home. Careful planning can put these lower sections in areas where you won’t internally notice a difference, however it is something to note if you’re aiming for high ceilings throughout your home!

3. Wind hazards

Skillion roofs are not suitable for high wind areas.


While not for everyone, the skillion roof is growing in popularity across urban and residential Australia due to its durability, unique aesthetic and value for money when compared to other roofing types.

This unique and eye-catching architectural feature is sure to bring a sense of heightened interest to the facade of your house and impress the neighbours at the same time!

Did you know that Achieve Homes is an award-winning builder and the winner of the HIA Professional Medium Home Builder for 2018, 2019 and 2020?

If you’re interested in a modern or custom home design, book in a Free Home Consultation now with one of our friendly Home Consultants.

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