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    Home | Our Blog | Hip Roofs: Pros, Cons and Buying Guide

    Hip Roofs: Pros, Cons and Buying Guide

    Reviewed by Tomas Kalkys. President.
    Qualifications: More than 20 years of experience in residential and commercial exterior remodeling.
    Founding farther of Legacy Service.
    Written by LegacyUSA Team

    posted on Nov 17, 2020

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    Hip Roof

    While they may be stylish, hip roofs aren’t named because they’re the latest in roofing fashion. They’re named for the design in which the roof is constructed, which includes slopes on all four sides that converge at the top to form a ridge.

    But they are also pretty hip! In fact, hip roofing is an incredibly popular architectural roofing style in the United States due to its proven durability and modern design. The slant of the roof allows rain and snow to easily slide off while reducing the potential for wind damage, so they’re the perfect choice for homeowners who live in areas prone to extreme winds and high levels of snowfall.

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    In this article, we’re going to provide you with all you know to know about hipped roofs. We’ll discuss what they are, the advantages and disadvantages, the construction of a hip roof, types of designs, and answers to the most frequently asked questions. This will help you decide whether you’d like to build a hip roof or another type for your house.

    At Legacy Service, we offer installation and replacement services for homeowners throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Contact us today if you’re looking to upgrade your home. To learn more about hip roofs, continue reading.

    What is a Hip Roof?

    A hip roof refers to the way the roof is constructed rather than the material that’s used to build it. The type of roof has slopes on all four sides that combine at the top to form a point. This makes it easy for condensation to slide off during rain, snow, and thunderstorms, and it also helps protect your home against heavy winds.

    If you’re in the process of building a roof for your new home, you’ll usually need to choose between a hip roof and a gable roof. The difference between them is that a hip roof is defined by having four sides while a gable roof is defined by having two sides. While gable roofs have two sides or peaks that slope downwards toward your home, hip roofs have a style where all the sides will slope downward over the walls of your house.

    So, what is the hip on a roof?

    The “hip” is where one section of the roof meets the other. This style is ideal for snowy and windy environments since the slant allows snow to easily slide off, which prevents standing water that might otherwise cause the roof to collapse.

    Where to Use a Hipped Roof?

    Hip roofing designs are popular among homeowners throughout the entire United States, but they’re most ideal for windy and snowy environments. The framing design offers unmatched structural durability. The inward slope of all four sides is the reason why this type of roof is so durable and sturdy, with a slant that allows snow and water to easily slide off.

    Keep in mind: To protect against high winds or strong storms, the recommended pitch for a hipped roof is 4/12-6/12 (18.5°-26.5° angle).

    If you’re interested in installing a hipped roof on your home, get in touch with us today to see what our team can do for you. We provide roofing installation and replacement services for homeowners throughout southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. We’ll send out a technician who can provide you with a free consultation that will help you decide whether you want asphalt shingles, metal roofing, or another type altogether for your new roof.

    In the next sections, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of the hip roof shape. This will help you decide whether you’d like to continue with the process or select another shape for your house, like gable.


    Why should you choose a hip roof for your house? Let’s take a look at the advantages of this architectural style:

    • They provide homes with a sturdy and stable option – Hip roofs tend to be sturdier and more stable than gable roof options. This is due to the fact that an inward slope occurs on all four sides of the structure. This helps provide extra resilience against heavy wind and precipitation.
    • They allow precipitation to slide off and drain easily – The slope of the roof will effectively funnel precipitation away from the rest of the structure. This is perfect for regions that get hit with tons of snow because it helps your roof avoid standing water and extra pressure that occur when there’s significant accumulation.
    • They allow you to add extra space as needed – If you build a dormer or crow’s nest, hip roofs can provide you with extra space for your house. This is an easy addition that you can use as storage space or even as another room, which contractors can supply plumbing and electricity through if needed.
    • They offer a variety of design options – After you decide on a hip roof, you’ll find that there’s a variety of aesthetically-appealing design options. They include mansard, tented, gable, and pavilion. They’re also able to support a broad range of materials, from asphalt shingles to metal roofing and more.


    Why do some homeowners decide to forego a hip roof? The disadvantages of hip roof types include:

    • They cost more to build – Since hip roofs use a more complicated design that will require more tools and materials to build, they’re typically more expensive to install than gable roofs. If you’re more conscious about the cost of construction, you may want to choose gable roofs over hip roofs.
    • They must have a certain pitch if you live in a windy area – If you live in an area that experiences strong storms frequently, then it’s best to have a pitch with a certain angle, which is anywhere between 18.5 and 26.5 degrees. If your design has anything more or less than that, it may cause problems during extremely windy weather.
    • Proper ventilation is difficult to achieve – Since each side has an equal slope, it’s typically harder to install adequate ventilation in a hipped roof. Interrupting the aerodynamic profile on one side may cause an imbalance throughout the rest of the roof. This can lead to moisture building up inside the roof, causing mold or mildew, which may impact the health of the people in your home.

    Construction of a Hip Roof

    Although a hip roof is one of the simplest roof types to build, we wouldn’t recommend doing it yourself unless you have some kind of experience, know exactly what you’re doing, and have a buddy or two to help you out. Constructing a hip roof is typically done by a team of professionals who have years of experience in their industry.

    It’s no surprise that proper construction and maintenance are necessary to help prevent minor issues that may eventually turn into larger problems. As you can see, hip roofs have more seams than gable roofs, which makes it easier for leaks to form if the roof isn’t installed properly. But if it is done the right way, hip roofs are much more durable and can last longer than gable roofs, sometimes lasting up to five decades or more.

    In the next section, we’re going to discuss the building process, from framing a hip roof to adding the shingles at the end. Remember that if you’re in need of a roof replacement or installation, you can always contact our team at Legacy Service for a free estimate.

    How to Build a Hip Roof

    How to Build a Hip Roof

    If you’re considering building a hip roof for your house, you’d probably like to know how it’s done. And if you’re experienced and willing to give it a shot, you may even want to build it yourself. Either way, check out our step-by-step guide for installing hip roofs:

    1. Measure and cut rafters – Measure the width and height of all four sides. Standard hip roofs have a ridge that forms the top of the roof. Hip rafters are two sloping ridges that angle out and down to the corners. These rafters run along the side walls, which are also called common rafters.
    2. Calculate the length of all common rafters – Once you measure the width of the building, divide the number by two since each rafter will only cover half of the roof. Take away the width from the ridge board before calculating the pitch of the roof.
    3. Highlight the birdsmouth on the rafters – The birdsmouth is a gap within the rafter so it can fit on top of the structure’s wall. You’ll need to cut it to find the location using a carpenter’s square.
    4. Use a round-shaped saw to cut common rafters – Use the first rafter as a template by cutting the same patterns on the rest of the common rafters. Place each of the rafters every 50 cm along the building’s walls.
    5. Assemble the king and hip rafters – The king rafter is a long central rafter on the end corners of the roof that extends all the way from the wall to the end of the ridge. They provide additional support to the ridge beam, preventing it from collapsing.
    6. Nail the rest of the common rafters to the ridge beam – Be sure to space each rafter 20 inches apart.
    7. Attach the plywood sheathing – Nail the sheathing to the common rafters. You’ll need to do this before the shingles are placed on the roof. Also, make sure the sheet of wood is completely flat and straight.
    8. Attach the roof shingles – This is the final step of the process. There are plenty of guides out there that discuss how to shingle a hip roof.
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    Hip Roofing Designs

    What does a hip roof look like?

    Since there are a variety of designs, hip roofs can take a number of appearances. Some of the most popular designs include:

    • Simple hip roof – This is the most common style. It has a polygon-shaped slope on two sides and a triangular shaped slope on the other two sides. The four sides come together at the top to create a ridge.
    • Half hip – Half-hipped roofs are also called jerkinhead or clipped gables. They have two short sides that form eaves. They’re characterized by upper points of gable, and they’re beneficial because drainage to and from the gutters is much easier.
    • Cross hip – This is another style, although it’s more complicated than a simple hip roof. It’s laid out over L-shaped structures in a perpendicular manner. The seam forms a cross-hipped roof. Two sections create a valley by forming at the end.
    • Dutch gable hip – These roofs offer extra internal space due to the small gable-like structure that’s found at the roof’s ridge. In some cases, you may even be able to add a dormer. Not only does this add a decorative touch, but it can also transform the attic into a functional living space.
    • Pyramid hip – This style is characterized by four equally-sized triangular-shaped sides that join together at the top to form a pyramid shape.

    Hip Roofing

    Hip Roofing FAQ

    If you’re considering house plans with hip roofs, then you probably have a few questions. In this section, we’ll discuss the ones that people most frequently ask our experts before or during the roof installation process.

    At Legacy Service, we offer a number of services to improve and upgrade your home’s exterior. From roofing installation to siding replacement, our team can take care of it for you! Just let us know what you need.

    Here are the most frequently asked questions for hip roofing:

    What is the advantage of a hip roof?

    Hip roofs have a number of advantages. Since they have four slopes that combine at the top to form a ridge, they tend to be much more stable than other types of roofs, including gable, which only has two slopes. For example: the slopes on hip roofs lessen the effects of high winds since the wind has to go up and over the roof. Also, they allow snow and other types of precipitation to run off much more easily.

    Hip roofs also allow you to customize your home’s appearance. It gives homeowners the opportunity to add premium design elements (like vaulted ceilings) or options for more room or storage space (like dormers or a crow’s nest). They also tend to have consistent fascia on all sides, so you can install gutters fairly easily. Wraparound gutters help shield siding from water damage and protect your property from flooding.

    Is a hip roof more expensive?

    Hip roofs tend to be more expensive than gable roofs. Costs may differ depending on the size of your roof, the material that’s used, and also the slope and pitch, but they typically average anywhere between $20,000 to $50,000. Homeowners can expect to pay about $8 to $12 per square foot for installation on a standard-size single-story house.

    Hip roofs are more expensive to build than gable roofs because they have a more complex design that requires more building materials that includes a system of trusses or rafters. However, you may be able to save some money when it comes to framing a hip roof because it’s simpler since the exterior walls are all the same height. Hip roofs may also last longer due to the fact that they’re more durable, which could also help you save money in the long-run.

    If you’re still considering getting a hip roof, get started by contacting our team at Legacy Service. We provide installation and replacement services for homeowners throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. We’ll send out a technician who will answer any of your questions and provide you with a free estimate.

    What is the difference between a hip roof and a gable roof?

    The definition of a hip roof is a roof that slopes upward from all sides of a building. The hip is the outside angle where the adjacent sloping sides of the roof meet. Hip roofs mainly differ from gable roofs because they typically have four sides rather than two. There’s also a contrast in the overall design and functionality of the roof.

    Since the design of the gable roofs and hip roofs differ, the pros and cons do as well. For example: hip roofs tend to be more stable than gable roofs because of their structure. They’re also better for wind resistance and precipitation runoff. However, they tend to be more expensive than gable roofs. It’s up to you to decide which one you’d prefer for your home.

    Does a hip roof support itself?

    Hip roofs are designed to support themselves. They’re self-bracing, so they require less diagonal bracing than gable roofs. Their four sloping sides provide them with superior stability and sturdiness. These characteristics allow hip roofs to be more resistant to wind damage than other types of roofs, like gable. The slant of the sides also allows snow, ice, and rain to slide off easily, which is ideal for hurricane-prone areas.

    Remember that a hip roof will be more expensive to build than a gable roof, but it may save you money in the long run since it’s designed to be more durable and last longer.

    Does a hip roof need ceiling joists?

    In many cases, hip roofs will need ceiling joists to help support the structure. However, there are cases when you can build one without using them. For example: square hip roofs typically won’t require ceiling joists. It’s always best to hire a roofing professional who will be able to tell for sure, though. They can answer any questions you have and let you know what would work best for your home. At Legacy Service, we provide roofing installation and replacement services to people throughout southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and northern Delaware. Contact us to schedule a free estimate.

    Can a hip roof be vaulted?

    Fortunately, hip roofs provide you with the opportunity for vaulted ceilings in your home. Many people ask for vaulted ceilings in the master bedroom because it opens up the room and makes it feel like a bigger space.

    This architectural design is more complex than a typical hip roof, but many homeowners are happy with the final result. Some roofing companies may not be able to build a vaulted ceiling with your hip roof, so you might want to keep looking until you find one that will.

    Is a hip roof strong?

    Hip roofs are one of the strongest types of roofing structures simply because of the way they’re designed. Their four sloping sides make them more stable and durable than standard gable roofs, because they’re more resistant to high winds and heavy rain/snow.

    Not only are they strong, but if you choose to add a dormer or crow’s nest, these roofs can provide you with more room or storage space. They’re also energy-efficient because the four sides of the roof shelter your home from excessive cold or heat.

    Hip Roofing guide

    Let’s Get Started on Your Roof!

    You’re still here? What are you waiting for? Now is the best time to get started on building your new roof!

    At Legacy Service, we provide a variety of services for residential exteriors. From roofing installation to siding and windows replacement, we can do it all. Once the structure of your home has been built, we can install the material of your choice on your new roof as well as your siding, windows, doors, and gutters of your choice.

    Give us a call today for a free estimate involving roofing, siding, windows, or doors. We’re here to turn your dream home into a reality!

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    Posted on Nov 17, 2020 in Roof

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