A gambrel or gambrel roof is a usually symmetrical two-sided roof with two slopes on each side. (The usual architectural term in eighteenth-century England and North America was "Dutch roof.") The upper slope is positioned at a shallow angle, while the lower slope is steep. This design provides the advantages of a sloped roof while maximizing headroom inside the building's upper level and shortening what would otherwise be a tall roof.
Europeans historically did not distinguish between a gambrel roof and a mansard roof but called both types a mansard. In the United States, various shapes of gambrel roofs are sometimes called Dutch gambrel or Dutch Colonial gambrel with bell-cast eaves.
The cross-section of a gambrel roof is similar to that of a mansard roof, but a gambrel has vertical gable ends instead of being hipped at the four corners of the building. A gambrel roof overhangs the façade, whereas a mansard normally does not.
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