Hip Roofs – What is a Hip Roof?

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Hipped Roofs

Hip roofs are some of the most popular in the United States because of their clean, modern, design lines and incredible durability. A hip roof has slopes on all four sides. The sides are all equal length and come together at the top to form a ridge. The “hip” is the area where one section of the roof meets another. Hipped roofs are ideal in windy and snowy areas, as the slant of the roof allows snow to easily slide off and prevents standing water that could cause the roof to collapse.


In high winds, the slope of the hip roof stalls wind as it has to go up and over the roof, lessening its effect. Hip roofs provide homebuilders with the opportunity to incorporate premium design elements like vaulted ceilings into your home. They provide great ventilation throughout the home and give homeowners the flexibility to make simple additions such as a crow’s nest or a dormer. Another benefit of hip roofs s is that they have a consistent fascia on all four sides, so gutters can easily be installed all around your home. With wraparound gutters, siding is thoroughly shielded from water damage and your basement and property are well-protected from flooding.

You can recognize a hip roof for its lack of any vertical sides or “gables.” Hip roofs are almost always at the same pitch or slope, which makes them symmetrical about the centerlines. The degree of the pitch or slope is referred to as the hip “bevel”. Hip roofs come in a variety of styles. If the top of your house looks like a pyramid, it probably has a square hip roof. If it looks kind of like a pyramid with a long ridge on the top, it’s probably a rectangular hip roof. Tented roofs and Mansard roofs are also variants of hip roofs. Hip roofs can be built with almost any type of roofing material, such as shingles, metal, or tiles. They are frequently used in modern architecture, especially for bungalows, ranch homes, and cottage-style homes. Hip roofs are among the most structurally sound of all roof designs.


Diagram detailing what a hip roof is shaped like.

Hipped Roof Costs

Hip roofs are more expensive to build than a comparable gable roof. It’s a more complex design that requires more building materials including a complex system of trusses or rafters. That said, you will experience some savings as framing for a hip-roofed home is much simpler due to the fact that exterior walls are all the exact same height. This also makes walls easier to construct and allows you to forgo additional diagonal support because they are self-bracing. Installing a hip roof on a new home is less expensive than replacing your current roof with a hip roof which requires the demolition and removal of your current roof (which can add up to $10,000 to the cost of your project). For a brand new home, you’ll have to factor in the cost of framing, labor, and the type of roofing material you select (shingles, tiles, etc.).

Hip Roofs – Energy Efficiency

While hip roofs are great in snowy climates for their ability to prevent standing water, they are also well suited to warm climates because they provide shade on all sides of a house and can keep your home cooler in the summer. Hip roofs also have eaves all around, which protect the walls from the sun and adverse weather.

Hipped Roofs – Construction & Maintenance

Proper construction and maintenance is a must to prevent minor issues from turning into major problems. For instance, hip roofs have more seams than gable roofs, making it easier for water leaks to form if the roof is not properly installed.

Other Things to Consider with Hip Roofs

One complaint about hip roofs is that they leave little attic space. It’s important to note though, what you may lose in attic space, you gain in increased ventilation for your home, as well as the vertical space for premium design features like vaulted ceilings, or simple additions like a crow’s nest, which could give your home yet another unique design feature.

You may also be interested in some of these roof type options as well:

* Use our roofing calculator to find your roof replacement costs here.

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