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The Pros and Cons of a Hip Roof, Explained

hip roof

Some people might choose metal roofing over shingles because, for example, metal roofing can last 40 to 70 years and shingles only last 12 to 30 years. However, what most people don’t realize is that roofing materials aren’t the only important part of picking a roof. There are also different roof ‘shapes’. You may have heard of flat and sloped types of roofs. However, you may not have heard of a hip roof. This is a subgroup of the sloped roof category. 

Should you choose a hip roof for your home? Read on to learn why a hip roof may or may not be the best choice for you. 

What Is a Hip Roof? 

Picture a pyramid, and you’re picturing the most basic type of hip roof shape. Others have longer peaks and may change slopes halfway down. For example, the bottom half of the sides of a mansard roof are steeper than the top half of the sides. 

Essentially, though, all sides of the roof meet at the peak. Neighboring sides meet each other at the edges or hips. Sometimes two ‘long pyramids’ will meet and form what is known as a valley. 

Hip vs Gable Roof 

You can truly see what makes a hip roof like itself when you compare it with the other type of sloped roofs. This is called a gable roof. 

A gable roof is shaped more like a long triangle. Two sides meet at the peak and form a basic tent-like shape. The right and left edges of the sloped sides meet completely vertical sides, known as gables. 

Most of the time, the gables aren’t covered in a roofing material. Rather, they are covered in the same siding and/or are made of the same material as the home’s exterior walls. 

Pros and Cons of a Hip Roof 

You may prefer the look of a hip roof vs. that of a gable roof or vice versa. However, you shouldn’t pick between gable roofs and hip roofs by their aesthetics alone. You could end up suffering the consequences of the climatal, financial, and other disadvantages that hip roofs may have for you. 

Read the following disadvantages and benefits of a hip roof carefully. Then use them to decide if you want a hip roof installed on your home. 

Con: Not Great with Snow 

The slopes of the sides of gable roofs tend to be steeper than those of hip roofs. Therefore, snow slides more easily off a gable roof than off a hip roof. This keeps the gable roof safe from any damage that pooling water can cause. 

Snow on a hip roof can stay on the peaks and sides and pool. However, there are plenty of other ways that you can protect a hip roof from liquids. For example, you can add a waterproof membrane to the top of it. 

On top of that, a hip roof can still do a decent job of pushing snow off on its own. The hip vs gable roof “skill gap” for snow-pushing isn’t all that big. 

Pro: Great Wind Protection 

There’s a good reason why you won’t see a lot of gable roofs in tornado alley. Strong winds can easily get under the eaves of a gable roof and then rip the sides off. 

This isn’t the case for hip roofs. The absence of a completely vertical side makes it more difficult for strong winds to completely rip the hip roof off the house. So they’re great in areas with extremely windy storms like hurricanes and tornadoes. 

Con: Expensive 

It costs more to build a hip roof than it does to build a gable roof. This mostly has to do with the fact that a hip roof is composed of more roofing materials than a gable roof. 

However, remember that hip roofs protect you from types of weather that a gable roof can’t protect you from. If you purchase a gable roof, you’re also purchasing a huge risk. On top of that, as you’ll see below, you may get part of the cost of a hip roof back. 

Pro: Lower Home Insurance 

Most home insurance companies know how hip roofs have a great advantage against extreme storms. They know they’ll likely pay less for damage should a house with a hip roof get attacked by a storm.

Therefore, you can probably get a lower monthly home insurance rate with a hip roof. This can eventually make up for the difference in insurance costs of hip vs gable roof homes. 

Possible Pro or Con: Less Attic Space 

Most experts believe that a gable roof will have more attic space than a hip roof. As mentioned, the slopes of a gable roof tend to be steeper. The slopes of a hip roof tend to be shallower. 

If you have a gable roof, you’ll likely have a large attic space you can use in various ways. You can store objects, make the space into a bedroom, etc. This may not seem possible with the smaller attic space a hip roof can provide. 

Slope Variety

However, remember that the slopes of different roofs can vary. You can get a hip roof with a steep slope and a gable roof with a shallower slope. The hip roof with a steeper roof could have more space directly beneath it than the shallow, steeped gable roof. 

So, in sum, you can have the benefits of a hip roof with a steep slope or the disadvantages of a hip roof with a shallow slope. 

Let Us Install Your Perfect Roof on Your Home 

So in sum, hip roofs are great in windy areas but maybe not too great in snowy ones. They’re also expensive but can become less expensive. You also have to be careful with the slope steepness you choose should you want a large attic space. 

If you need a new hip roof installed, consider letting us help you. We deliver unparalleled workmanship and customer service. Schedule service with us by filling out the form at the top of this page

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“I work with a lot of contractors as a real estate broker. There are a few that stand out. It is very hard to find a company that does great work at a fair price – and – has outstanding communication and customer service. Brett and Innovative Roofing is one of those rare breeds. They have earned a reputation as being one of the best in the business as it has been earned through great work. I received a reply from them on a Saturday and that put them over the top in customer service – such a rarity.”

Doug L. Boca Raton, FL

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“I work with a lot of contractors as a real estate broker. There are a few that stand out. It is very hard to find a company that does great work at a fair price – and – has outstanding communication and customer service. Brett and Innovative Roofing is one of those rare breeds. They have earned a reputation as being one of the best in the business as it has been earned through great work. I received a reply from them on a Saturday and that put them over the top in customer service – such a rarity.”

Doug L. Boca Raton, FL