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What is a Hip Roof?

When it comes to building houses, one of the most essential elements of the structure is your roof design. The roof shape and the roofing material that a builder uses can affect your roof’s ability to withstand wind, rain, hail, and it’s overall longevity. 

The shape is more than just aesthetics. Different styles of roof all have different advantages and drawbacks, and some of them perform better in different climates than others. The most common roof shape in the US is the gable roof. What is a gable roof? A gable roof is a roof with two slopes that meet at the ridge of your roof, with extended triangular walls on either side of the slopes. 

On the other hand, a hip roof will have slopes on all sides of your home. Like other styles of roofing,  may be built with the traditional asphalt shingles, or it can be made with metal roofing or even a living, green roof. What is a green roof? A green roof is a roofing system that has plants and soil or another growing medium for a roof top lawn or garden. 

No matter what materials you use for your hip roof, the design offers plenty of benefits over the more common gable roof, especially in areas that are more prone to severe weather. 

Why choose a hip roof?

Because a hip roof has a slope, it sheds water, snow, and debris from your roof handily. The slope also allows for better ventilation compared to a flat roof, which can help make your home much more energy-efficient. Of course, gable roofing has this same benefit over a flat roof. 

However, a hip roof is much more stable than a gable roof because of the additional framing. A hip roof can support much a heavier load than a gable roof, which can protect your home from heavy snowfall and falling limbs. Hip roofs tend to last a lot longer than a flat roof, and in areas with high winds, they are much more durable than a gable roof. If you take proper care of it, a traditional shingle style hip roof can last up to 50 years, and a metal hip roof can last more than twice that time. 

There are some drawbacks to the hip roof design. Because a hip roof angles up from the outside wall, it offers significantly less attic space and ventilation compared to a gable roof, and you won’t be able to build vaulted ceilings on the top floor of your home. You can allow for some extra living space by adding dormers, but this will also create additional seams and valleys that can collect water and debris, which will increase the chance for leaks over time if they aren’t properly maintained. 

Because of the extra framing and support materials in the roof decking, a hip roof is more expensive and difficult to build than either a flat roof or a gable roof. If you live in an area with heavy snow, a hip roof can be just as effective as a gable roof at shedding snow if you have a high enough roof pitch. What is a roof pitch? Roof pitch is how much the roof slope rises over a horizontal distance. The steeper your roof is, the higher the roof pitch. Roofs come in different pitches and this can determine how easy it is for contractors to complete ongoing roof maintenance. Metal roofing is an option when choosing a hip roof style and is a durable option for homeowners. 

Hip Roof Styles

Hip roofs come in several styles, but a lot of it comes down to the shape of your home and the look you want to achieve.  But no matter what style they are, they all share common structural elements. 

Hip framing starts by determining the length of the common rafter. Once your common rafter is cut, you can determine the length and the height of the ridge board. Each wall of your home is joined by common rafters to the ridge board at the peak. Hip rafters will support corners of the walls and jack rafters attach to the hip rafters and move down to the exterior wall. This structure adds a ton of support to your roof and reduces the stress on the exterior walls. 

The most common design is the simple hip roof, seen on homes with four walls. The roof looks similar to a pyramid, and this design is the cheapest and easiest style of hip roof to maintain, although it can only be used if your home is the right shape. 

A half hip roof will have two sides shortened to create eaves, to create a distinctive style. A cross hip roof has two or more separate hip roofs that join. A cross hip room can be used on homes that are designed in multiple wings rather than a simple rectangular design. 

Beyond the design, a hip roof can also be designed with a different pitch. The higher the pitch, the more attic space and better ventilation your home will have. Of course, a higher pitch also means you will need more roof shingles and support beams, which will make your roof more expensive to repair or replace. It will also be much more difficult to work on the steeper it gets. 

A roof with a pitch of 7/12 makes an ideal home for solar panels. A lower pitch roof may require the installer to use brackets to angle the solar panels for the ideal sun exposure, but the slope of your roof will make this unnecessary, which can save you money on transitioning to clean energy. And because they can last longer than other styles of roof, you likely won’t need to replace your roof before the solar panels need to be replaced. 

Transitioning a gable roof to a hip roof

San Diego may be known for having great weather year-round, but high winds do happen, and they can damage your roof. If you have a gable roof with a high pitch, you may consider converting it into a hip roof. 

This can be done without totally dismantling your existing roof, so long as the roof deck is in good shape. You should always have your roof inspected before making any repairs or replacing any part of an existing roof. If the existing roof looks okay, you can save a lot of money this way. 

Many homeowners may be tempted to do their own roof repair and replacement to save money. Residential roofing can be dangerous, and it’s more complicated than the risk of falling off your roof. A simple mistake can lead to serious structural damage, and there is even the risk of a total collapse. 

On top of that, hip roofs are a lot more complicated to build than a gable roof. They have a much more complex system of rafters that need to be properly spaced and installed for support. They have a lot more seams, so there is a much greater chance for leaks to develop if you make a mistake.

It’s always best to hire a roofing contractor, especially when you’re working on a pitched roof. They have the training and safety gear to work on your roof, and experience to do the work right the first time, and they’ll know how to spot signs of structural damage and leaks in your roof. If you do decide to work on your roof without hiring a professional, just remember there’s a very real chance that your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover any damage you cause if something goes wrong. 

Contact Preman Roofing Solar for All Your Roofing Needs

No matter what style of roof you have, it needs routine maintenance so that it can perform properly. That means routine inspection and cleaning of the roof and gutters. This will keep small problems from leading to leaks, water damage, mold, and structural damage to your home. You will also need to keep an eye on the seams and any flashing to make sure they stay watertight. 

At Preman Roofing Solar, we pride ourselves on prompt, high-quality roof inspections, repairs, and installations. We have taken on San Diego roofing projects for more than two decades, and we only use the best quality roofing materials with proven performance and the warranty to back them up. 

We offer maintenance plans, flexible financing options for solar and roof work, and free estimates for your residential and commercial roofing needs. If you need a new roof or are considering converting into a Hip Roof, call us today to learn more, or send us an email to let us know how we can help.