Butterfly Roof | Butterfly Roof Pros and Cons

Butterfly Roof

What Is a Butterfly Roof?

The butterfly roof system looks like a V-shaped butterfly. In this type of roofing system, two opposite slopes converge in the center of the structure.

In the United States, butterfly roofs are frequently associated with modern twentieth-century mid-century architecture.

In addition, these roofs are referred to as “London” roofs because they were used during the Georgian and Victorian eras, especially in the architecture of houses with British terraces in London.

History of Butterfly Roof

The architectural style is one of the most important factors in determining the age of a building structure, and one of the many features that distinguished the Atomic Age of mid-century architecture from other periods was the use of innovative roof designs throughout this period.

Roof design in the 1950s and 1960s was full of forward-thinking aspects and modern design ideas, such as clean lines and daring inventions, and it was popular throughout this period.

Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the pioneers of this approach, which typified small company architecture and urban development between 1933 and 1965 and was popularised by his son, Frank Lloyd Wright.

Traditionally, traditional English-style houses such as the snug cottage and medieval Tudor-style homes had triangular roofs and vertical brick fireplaces, which were replaced by butterfly roofs and vertical brick fireplaces.

Post-war America, as well as modernism, played a role in the development of the organic style that was the inspiration for mid-century architecture, as well as the butterfly roof. Butterfly roofs are one of the few major aspects from this period that have survived to this day and are still recognized as a key factor in the recognition of mid-century modernism.

Geography of Butterfly Roof

Butterfly roofs were a prevalent component of home building during the 1950s and 1960s, and as a result, butterfly roofs can be found in many towns around the country today. Although these roofs are a relic of the past, they are nevertheless a popular choice for new construction in places such as Hawaii, where the climate is conducive to them.

The valley of a butterfly roof is intended to gather rainfall and direct it to a designated location. In Hawaii’s dry climate, this is a significant resource that can be put to good use during exceptionally severe droughts.

Aside from the fact that it is aesthetically pleasing, Hawaii locals appreciate it for the organic elements that it incorporates into its design. Butterfly roofs can be used in a variety of ways to increase the amount of natural light that enters a home or building.

The butterfly roof is particularly well suited to tropical settings such as Hawaii, where temperatures are mild throughout the year.

Benefits of Butterfly Roof

Rainwater was originally collected in the central valley of the roof between the inward-facing slopes of butterfly roofs, which was originally intended for that purpose. This means the owner may use the water for a variety of purposes, such as watering plants or flushing the toilet.

Traditional roof designs were created in such a way that rainwater would be evacuated from the roof as quickly as possible when it rained in order to prevent moisture, mold, and leaks.

Windy places benefit from the low drag coefficient of butterfly-shaped roofs, which make them a great choice for such areas. Butterfly roofs, in addition to their environmental benefits, have a number of visually appealing aesthetic advantages.

Improvements to the outside design, such as where windows should be placed, are made available as a result of their application. The integration of nature into the interior of a structure is a key post-modern architectural concept, and architects have been able to accomplish this by extending gallery windows along the house’s outside seams.

Butterfly Roof Design

This type of roof has two gables that slope inward toward each other, creating a central valley. On the exterior of the roof, the eaves are unusual in that they point upward instead of downward, which is typical in most houses.

The lines, angles, and spans of a butterfly’s wings when they’re fluttering upwards are all included into the design of a butterfly roof. The length and angle of the butterfly roofs on each gable may not be identical, and they may have a variety of different gradations. A single gable may be all that separates certain butterfly roofs from others.

Butterfly Roof House

  1. In post-war America, butterfly roofs were a common design feature in homes and small businesses.
  2. It was the goal of architectural designers to modernize the classic American home by introducing clean lines and organic materials into the cityscape.
  3. The organic style of the butterfly roof is enhanced by a number of crucial aspects, but each of the designs in this category has its own distinct factors, benefits, and history.
  4. This is not only a relic of the past, though, as similar roofs are still highly common in modern home design in areas like Hawaii.
  5. On the exterior of the roof, the eaves are unusual in that they point upward instead of downward, which is typical in most conventional homes.
  6. An upward-flapping butterfly’s wingspan, lines, angles, and body shape are all intended to inspire the butterfly roof’s design.
  7. The centre valley of the roof between the inward-facing slopes of butterfly roofs was originally designed to collect rainwater.
  8. It has a butterfly-angled gable on top and a flat or downward-angled gable on the shed roof.

How to Build a Butterfly Roof?

How to Build a Butterfly Roof


Butterfly roofing, also known as inverted roofing, is easy to detect due to the fact that the external walls rise higher than they do in the center. Open floor plans with a large living room are still popular in the United States. It’s not that difficult to build butterfly roofs, and this section will help you get started.

1. Truss-related measurements

Analyze your house’s blueprints and the roof’s dimensions. In order to have your butterfly roofing system trusses constructed, you’ll need these measurements.

2. Getting Trusses from the Manufacturer

Consider hiring the services of an established company that manufactures high-quality structural trusses and gable roofs. As well, you’ll need these measurements to build your rafters and trusses: their slope, their width, and their length.

3. Roof Framing

Start connecting your rafters to the leading plates of your walls as per your designs. A level and plumb bob should be used continually when installing rafters to ensure they are level and aligned.

4. Putting Plywood on a Surface

Begin at the bottom of the roof and work your way up. Using a power nailer or a hammer, fasten the plywood to the roofing framework

5. Placing of the Felt Tar Paper

Rolling out the felt paper should be done from the bottom of your roofing system to the top. To keep the paper in place on the plywood, use felt tacks.

6. Roofing using Shingles

Starting from one of the lowest ends of the roof, put shingles. The corners should be shingled after you’ve finished laying shingles all the way up the roof. Work your way up the roof by starting at the corners and working your way out.

Butterfly Roof Pros and Cons

A contemporary and attractive look is provided by butterfly roofing systems, which are categorized as an uncommon and alternative design with a number of advantages and disadvantages in comparison to conventional roofing systems.

Butterfly roofing systems have both advantages and downsides that must be considered.

The aesthetic appeal of the roofing system should be taken into consideration along with the practical ones. To determine if a butterfly roof is right for you, weigh the benefits and drawbacks of installing one:

Butterfly Roof Pros

There are various benefits of the butterfly roofing system which are as follows

  1. Source of Pure Water: To collect rainwater, a butterfly roofing system was developed (generally in a specifically created holding tank). After filtering, the collected water can be used for a variety of purposes, including watering plants, bathing, and even drinking. Consider the fact that this demands specialized infrastructure before it can function properly.
  2. Butterfly Roof Drainage: Using a butterfly roofing system, even if you don’t plan on reusing the collected water, water may quickly drain off the roof, preventing water damage and the growth of mold.
  3. Resistance to Winds of a Powerful Kind: With their aerodynamic structure, butterfly roofs can withstand wind damage from seashore winds and storms, making them ideal for coastal properties. The design of the roofing system also implies less maintenance and repair work, saving costs over time.
  4. Larger Windows: Because the roof’s slope is the opposite of that of conventional roofs, you can install larger windows in your home. As a result, your home will appear larger and better ventilated.
  5. Enhanced Lighting and Solar Energy: Having larger windows also allows you to install additional features, such as solar PV panels.

Butterfly Roof Cons

There are also some disadvantages of the Butterfly roofing system which are as follows

  1. Expense: The most significant drawback of butterfly roofing is the price tag. Because the roofing is more difficult to install and more complex, the cost of equipment and physical labor, as well as the setup time increases.
  2. Maintenance: As a result of the design of the roof, there is a constant need for maintenance, which has been demonstrated to be expensive and difficult, as well as an increase in operating costs. Because of this, the butterfly roofing system is not the best option for individuals on a tight budget, as the cost of construction is the most important consideration.
  3. A Bigger Installation Team Is Necessary: The pattern and aerodynamic structure necessitate more workers during the installation of the roofing system. Do-it-yourself vs. pre-built projects will have different costs, of course. Ask for price quotations from several companies to ensure you get the greatest deal if you hire a professional.
  4. Extra Headroom in the Attic: Be aware that installing a butterfly roofing system may restrict your attic’s usable space, thereby lowering your home’s market value. This implies that you might not be able to increase your capability unless another level is included below the roofing, which can add time and cost.
  5. Rain and Snow aren’t ideal: Butterfly roofs should also be avoided in areas that receive a lot of rain or snow. They are prone to leaks. A collapsed roof is a real possibility if enough debris is deposited on the roofing system to cause damage. Your home could be in danger of becoming flooded, causing a wide range of problems that could pose a serious health risk to your family.
  6. Temperature Control: A poorly designed roofing system can make it difficult to regulate ventilation and temperature, resulting in hotter spots than usual. Water should be kept out of your home by a robust membrane that does not have any joints.

Natural materials and metal can also be used to keep your roof safe and secure, depending on your budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

Butterfly Roof

The butterfly roof system looks like a V-shaped butterfly. In this type of roofing system, two opposite slopes converge in the center of the structure.

How to Build a Butterfly Roof?

Butterfly roof construction step by step process:

1. Truss-related measurements
2. Getting Trusses from the Manufacturer
3. Roof Framing
4. Putting Plywood on a Surface
5. Placing of the Felt Tar Paper
6. Roofing using Shingles

Butterfly Roof Drainage

Using a butterfly roofing system, even if you don’t plan on reusing the collected water, water may quickly drain off the roof, preventing water damage and the growth of mold.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Butterfly Roof?

The main disadvantage of having a butterfly roof is that the roof is difficult and more complicated to install. It adds equipment and manual labor as well as installation costs.

Butterfly Roof Pros and Cons


  1. Source of Pure Water
  2. Drainage
  3. Wind Resistant
  4. Larger Windows
  5. Enhanced Lighting and Solar Energy


  1. Expense
  2. Maintenance
  3. A bigger Installation Team Is Necessary
  4. Extra Headroom in the Attic
  5. Rain and Snow aren’t ideal.
  6. Temperature Control

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