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The Evolution of Erie Roofing Styles

Have you ever stopped to think about roofing, like why some Erie roofing is steeply pitched and other styles of roofs are low sloping or even flat?  You probably never thought about this mundane subject, have you? After all, why would you think about roofing, unless your roof sprung a leak, or you were thinking about buying a home in Erie PA and wondered if the roof was in decent shape? At Liberty Roofing Pros, we’re here to tell you that roofing isn’t such a boring subject at all! We think it’s a fascinating subject, and the various roofing styles around Erie, Pennsylvania each have a special history and purpose. 

The story of Erie roofing actually begins thousands of years ago! For a long, long time, people lived like animals, in a way.  Early man could only find shelter in caves, often having to drive out wild beasts, such as mountain lions or bears. Some families simply tolerated cohabitating with rodents, bats, and birds. Eventually, one single invention allowed them to set up a homestead wherever they so pleased. That invention was THE ROOF!


From Lean-Tos to Gabled Roofs

The first “roofs” invented by Mankind were simple lean-tos. Like one side of an A-frame house, a lean-to creates shelter from nature by using a “roof slope” made of sticks, thatch, animal skins, etc., propped up against a vertical surface, such as a big tree or a cliffside. Now people could travel and migrate to new fertile lands and hunting grounds, never again wondering how to keep warm and dry. They all became roofers! Fast-forward to Erie roofing in the 19th century to the present day… The many styles of roof structures add to the interesting architecture of Northwest Pennsylvania. Here, near the shore of Lake Erie, weather can be punishing and a good roof with efficient water-shedding capability is essential. Strong roofs that can withstand the weight of snow and ice, while moving it off the roof in a timely manner, are also critically important to maintaining the comfort, safety, and energy-efficiency of a home or building.

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Gable Roofs

Back in the early 1800’s, America was swept up with an architectural style known as Greek Revival. This style was to last for decades and many surviving homes today are proof of the fine craftsmanship and roofing skills of the era. Greek Revival used gabled roofs and thick pillars to reflect wealth and pride in achieving success during America’s Industrial Revolution that played such a big part in Pennsylvania history.  

Gothic Style

Whenever you see fancy wood filigree set between the rake edges of a roof you can guess you’re looking at gothic architecture here in Erie, PA.  People back in the 1800s called the style Carpenter Gothic, crediting the beauty and intricacy of these decoratively trimmed roofs to the skilled craftsmen who carved them.

Dutch Colonial & Dutch Revival

The German culture that came to Pennsylvania during the Industrial Revolution was unlike anywhere in the United States.  While Pennsylvania Dutch Country is in the state’s southeast area, Dutch immigrants and their descendants spread out all over PA, including in the far northwest. Dutch Colonial style houses were characterized by somewhat flatter, double-pitched roofs– that changed angles and featured narrow dormer windows. Dutch Revival homes in Erie PA can be identified by their steeply pitched roof, flared eaves, bay windows, and wood shingle siding.

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Queen Anne-style

As the 1900’s approached, Queen Anne-style architecture began popping up around Erie. Queen Anne-style is fairly ornate and has a variety of distinctive roof parts – gables, dormers, and turrets or towers. It’s the kind of architecture that gets a home placed on the Historic Register! 

Tudor Style

Everyone is familiar with Tudor style homes.  Their popularity in Erie PA emerged at the turn of the 20th Century. With their timbered facades the high pitched roofs of Tudor homes commonly have side gables and dormer windows.

Erie PA Roofing

Craftsman Bungalow

Today we can get almost anything delivered to our doorstep, right?  Well, the convenience of delivery extended to home “kits” back in the early 1900s, sort of.  It was a time when Sears seemed to control the material world, like Amazon.com does today! Sears was one of two companies that marketed prefab housing kits (Aladdin was the other company) during America’s Arts & Crafts Movement. The American Craftsman home or Craftsman Bungalow was a quaint, affordable way to acquire all the building products and plans needed to erect a beautiful little home on a plot of land.  Craftsman style houses can be found in abundance throughout Pennsylvania. Roof configurations on Craftsman homes include front-gabled, cross-gabled, side-gabled, and hipped roofs. 

Colonial Style

The Roaring Twenties saw the rise of Colonial style homes with high-peaked roofs and dormer windows. Building materials were becoming better engineered and interstate transportation made most things available everywhere there was demand.

Things Get “Mod”

Two hours due south of Erie, in northeastern Fayette County, PA, sits “Falling Water,” the famous home designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935.  The style was known as Usonian and the roofs of such modern homes and buildings sported flat roofs and large cantilevered overhangs

Ranch Homes

You see them all over Erie, each one distinctive thanks to the hard work of proud homeowners and their green-thumbs. Ranch style homes are lovely and simple structures, so often graced with colorful landscaping and manicured lawns. Ranch style homes have gracefully sloping roofs and overhanging eaves typically topped with asphalt shingle or tile roofs.

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Mansford Roof

One of the most distinctive styles of roof design, and one reflects the unique home styles of the 1970s is the Mansford roof. It’s often found on Neo-Victorian, Neo-Tudor, and Neo-Colonial homes. A Mansford roof is characterized by two slopes on all the four sides where the lower slope becomes steeper than the upper slope.


Popular in the 1980s construction and sarcastically named, McMansions are supersized multi-story houses of the nouveau riche. They are often a fascinating amalgamation of different architectural styles. Picture Palladian windows over an accentuated foyer, multiple faux chimneys, dormers and a variety of other gratuitous details.

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Raising the Roof in the 1990s!

One of the most distinctive styles of roof design, and one reflects the unique home styles of the 1970s is the Mansford roof. It’s often found on Neo-Victorian, Neo-Tudor, and Neo-Colonial homes. A Mansford roof is characterized by two slopes on all the four sides where the lower slope becomes steeper than the upper slope.

Welcome to Roofing in the 2020s

So we come to present-day Erie with all its home and roof styles evolved over the centuries. With new builds architects and homeowners  want to express themselves, and roof materials and colors are part of that self expression. Asphalt shingle, metal roofing, ceramic tile, solar shingles, slate and shake roofing…the choices run the gamut. Liberty Roofing Pros can help you realize the roof you want at a cost you can bear. Welcome to the 2020s, when whatever you wish for and can afford can be yours when you partner with a great, local Erie PA contractor!