What Is a Hip Roof?

By Dawn Killough 12-20-2021
Tag Icon

If you've ever noticed the different roof shapes and styles in your neighborhood, you may have wondered about their purpose and structure. For example, hip roofs are among the most common types of roofs, second only to gable roofs.

What Is a Hip Roof?

Also called a "hipped" roof, this kind of roofing system slants down on all four sides, where it connects to the walls at the eaves. On a square building, a hip roof will resemble a pyramid. On a rectangular building, the smaller sides are called hip ends. A gable roof, on the other hand, only slants on two sides where it connects to the walls at the eaves—the other two walls extend up from the eaves to the peak or ridge.

How do you know if a hip roof is right for you? You'll have to consider where you live, the shape of your house, and your budget.

Framing Your Roof for Structural Stability

What is a hip roof's main benefit? They're designed to be self-bracing: all four sides of the roof have an inward slope that helps make it durable and structurally stable. Hip roofs suit areas that have a greater chance of high wind, heavy snow, or other severe weather.

Hip roofs are framed with a ridge board at the top where the roof faces meet, while hip rafters follow along the line at each connection point. Rafters help support the faces of the roof—common rafters connect to the ridge board at the top and the eave or fascia at the bottom, while jack rafters are installed in the area where the roof slopes down.

This support doesn't come at the cost of the home's aesthetic. A hip roof will match endless combinations of building styles and shapes, including square, rectangular, and even uniquely shaped buildings. Your floor plan, the shape of the building, and your plans for the attic may determine the intersection of rooflines. However, you can create just the look you want with additions such as gables and dormers.

Assessing a Hip Roof's Potential Drawbacks

Due to their more complicated design features, hip roofs are generally more expensive to design and build than a standard gable roof. They typically require more material than gable roofs and have a more complex design, which increases installation time.

Another potential downside is space: there is less room in the attic when using a hip roof than when opting for a gable roof design. If the attic also acts as a living space, this reduction in size might be important. A gable-style roof can help create more room in the attic.

Ventilation can also be a concern in a hip roof. Gable-style roofs provide better attic ventilation compared with a hip roof. Be sure to include a balanced attic ventilation system to help reduce damaging heat and moisure in the attic.

Exploring Variations of Hip Roofs

Hip roofs come in many shapes and sizes such as:

  • Pavilion or Pyramid Roof: This is a common hip roof on a square building. As its name suggests, it creates a pyramid shape.
  • Mansard Roof: This roof type has two sloping angles on each side of the roof. The lower angle is generally much steeper than the upper angle. A mansard roof has eight roof faces, in contrast to the standard four.
  • Tented roof: Tented roofs have multiple steep sides that slope up to a peak. Church steeples are often tented roofs.
  • Dutch Gable or Gable Roof: This is a hip roof with a small gable section on the upper portion of the roof.
  • Half-Hip, Clipped Gable, or Jerkinhead Roof: These combine components from both hip and gable roofs. The end of a gable roof includes a small hip roof section that slopes toward the ridge.

Now that you know what a hip roof is, you'll be able to identify whether or not your house has one and how it can have an impact on your home.

Dawn Killough is a freelance writer in the construction, finance, and accounting fields. She is the author of an ebook about green building and writes for construction tech and green building websites. She lives in Salem, Oregon with her husband and four cats.
Don't miss another GAF RoofViews post!
Whether you're buying or selling a home, it's worth glancing at the roof warranty. For sellers, informing prospective buyers that the home's roof comes with a transferable warranty can boost the home's value. For buyers, knowing that the home's roof not only looks great but has a warranty might also provide some peace of mind.
Just in case you needed telling, you should definitely take note if you detect a strong attic smell in your home! Firstly, in many cases, the unpleasant smells might begin infiltrating other areas of your residence. Secondly, and potentially much more serious, pervasive bad odors can be warning signs of other deeper issues. Whatever the cause (and there are many possibilities), when you detect a foul odor, it may be time to take a serious look at improving your attic ventilation. Below we'll take a look at some of the common causes of bad attic odors — and how having efficient, well-maintained attic ventilation can help prevent them.
Do-it-yourself home improvements continue to gain popularity, with more homeowners choosing to do the work themselves as the proliferation of how-to videos on YouTube makes it easier than ever. But not every project should be DIY — especially when it comes to your roof. If you are thinking about a DIY roof replacement, here is what you need to know.
If you suspect that you have a leak in your roof, acting swiftly to repair it helps avoid further damage to your home and possessions. But: does homeowners insurance cover roof leaks and potentially remove some of the financial worries you may have? Below are the steps to take to protect your roof and your finances in the event of a leak.
A roof drip edge is a roofing material (a type of roof flashing) that diverts water away from (you guessed it!) your roof's edge or fascia. And, as a bonus, not only does it help keep your home dry, but it also helps guard against pests. So, even if you've heard the term before or think it's self-explanatory, there are good reasons to ask, "What is a roof drip edge and what exactly are the reasons I might need one for my home?"
In 1994, GAF's manufacturing plant in Shafter, California opened with a 19-year-old Ruben as an Operator on the original starting crew. While he only planned on staying for five years, Ruben remained on the Shafter team, holding various roles from Operator to Process End Leader to Shift Supervisor. He then took on more responsibility as Production Shift Lead for about five years. After his time on the line, Ruben then was granted an Electrical Apprenticeship, shifting the trajectory of his roles. He held positions as the Electrician Onsite, Electrical Team Lead, and Electrical Controls Specialist – a role he held for about seven years. He then was promoted to Senior Controls Specialist, until he most recently was selected as the Manager for GAF's new Incubation Center. In this role, he supports the hands-on installation, troubleshooting, and technology evaluation to accelerate innovation across GAF.
This blog contains information created by a variety of sources, including internal and third party writers. The opinions and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of GAF. The content is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute financial, accounting, tax or legal advice. GAF does not guarantee the accuracy, reliability, and completeness of the information. In no event shall GAF be held responsible or liable for errors or omissions in the content or for the results, damages or losses caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on the content.

Interested in sharing or republishing our content? We kindly ask you to adhere to our guidelines.