Butterfly roof house design

by | Jul 20, 2023 | Advice & inspiration, Building tips, Roof design

Getting their name from the fact the V shape resembles butterfly wings, a butterfly roof is a design that makes a statement and is most common in modern, luxury homes. When done well, they create a striking exterior for your home while also creating soaring spaces within the home. So let’s spread our wings and see what there is to embrace about a butterfly roof house design, as well as the potential disadvantages of this unique design.

What is a butterfly roof design?

A butterfly roof, often as an inverted gable or inverted roof, is a design that creates a distinct V shape that resembles butterfly wings. Think of it as a reversed version of the typical gabled roof. As it is the opposite of what we tend to think of as a traditional roof design, the butterfly design is more popular with modern homes. Innovative architects in the early to mid-20th century used butterfly roof designs to push the boundaries of architecture and create some of the most unique buildings ever made.

The two flat roof surfaces, or two lifted wings, can be on the same angle or asymmetrical depending on the layout. When it comes to the angle of your roof surfaces, that can vary from house to house, with your designer hopefully creating something that best suits your vision. The key is to find a suitable balance between style and substance. No matter what your house looks like it still needs to be functional, otherwise the initial aesthetic charms will disappear very quickly.

How much does a butterfly roof cost?

The reason butterfly roofs are more often seen in luxury houses is that they’re one of the most expensive designs on the market. This comes to the extra attention needed for the design, the labour intensity of building it and the extra materials required. When done well it can look fantastic and make your home stand out, but if you’re on a tighter budget, consider whether another roof design would be just as good.

Each house is different so it’s impossible to provide a direct quote without specifics. We can tell you what factors will influence your final price.

  • The size of your roof
  • Location of your home
  • The builder you choose
  • Materials you use.

What are the advantages of building a butterfly-roof house?

A bold, distinct look

The key advantage of a butterfly roof is one of those modernized touches that will help your home stand out. Though it’s a look that’s been around since the 1940s, the butterfly design is still a popular means of adding modern touches to a structure. Just remember, the exterior design choices can greatly impact the inside space of your home, so make sure your roof design doesn’t negatively interfere with your home’s functionality.

Some of the most famous architects in history, from Frank Lloyd Wright to 1950s architect William Krisel, designed butterfly roofs as one of the ways to provide original architectural elements to their famous designs.

Wind resistant

Taking the weather conditions into account is crucial to choosing the best roof design for your home. Butterfly roofs have an aerodynamic design that can withstand strong winds and usually perform well during tropical storms.

Good Drainage

The slopes of a butterfly roof house are ideal for draining or collecting rainwater. Your roof can collect rainwater and the drainage system will help remove it from there.

Option for Larger Windows

The layout of a butterfly roof house provides more room for windows including clerestory windows in the higher ceilings, long windows or even floor-to-ceiling glazing. This is fantastic for letting light into your home and making the most of natural light.

What are the disadvantages of building a butterfly-roof house?

Expensive and complicated design

One of the major disadvantages of a butterfly roof house is its striking look comes at a cost. The added design and construction complexity requires more building time and materials

Butterfly roofs are a more complicated design to construct, and things need to be impeccable for the whole thing to come off (not literally!). We strongly recommend hiring a builder who specialises in this specific design or custom builds, as a poorly designed and built roof will cost you in the long run.

Perhaps not as modern as you think

Though often advertised as a modernist look, the butterfly roof actually dates back to the mid-20th century. Therefore, adding a butterfly roof can actually give your home a slightly retro feel. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but something you should be aware of when making aesthetic choices. It’ll become even more relevant when trying to resell your home, as a butterfly roof won’t be to everyone’s taste.

Can create odd room shapes.

Every design choice needs to be carefully thought out, and the butterfly roof can lead to some odd-shaped rooms, especially around the ceiling area.

Butterfly roof vs the Competition

Flat Roof Design

Flat roofs are a fairly broad category that includes a single-panel roof that is flat. This can range from almost completely flat roofs (although even these have a slight slant to accommodate for drainage), to skillion roofs (see below).

Curved Roof

One of the most distinct-looking roof styles on the market, a curved roof includes curves as part of its shape. If the price of butterfly houses is making you think twice, a curved roof is another expensive design. These expenses come during the design stage of the process, with the actual installation of a curved roof often being fairly straightforward.

Skillion Roof

Skillion roofs are a type of flat roof that has a noticeable slant to it. Popular in both houses and secondary structures, skillion roofs are an affordable design that is still distinct.

Gabled Roof

A gabled roof is one of the more traditional designs on the market. Creating the traditional upside-down V shape you see in many older homes, it’s a simple, affordable design that still performs functionally.

Hip Roof

A hip roof design has four sides that rise to meet at a ridge A very popular design throughout Australia, the hip roof maintains its integrity even in harsher weather, making it a great option for cyclone-prone areas.

Want advice on your new roof? Talk with an experienced building broker


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Building a Home

Knockdown Rebuild

Home designs

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Building a Home

Knockdown Rebuild

Home designs

Advice & inspiration