Hip Roof Guide: Common Types, Advantages, and Examples

A hip roof has a design in which all four sides of the roof slope. It’s self-bracing, making it one of the most structurally sound and wind-resistant roof types.

Hip RoofView in gallery
Naoi Architecture & Design Office

But, there’s more than one kind of hip roof, which can get confusing. Plus, some houses use a combination of hip and gable roofs.

If you’re considering installing a hip roof on your home, here’s what you should know.

Hip Roof Design Overview

All sides of a hip roof slope downward. On square homes, the four sides of a hip roof form a peak on top. On rectangular houses, the sides of a hip roof meet to form a ridge.

The pitch of a hip roof can vary based on the style. 

Some styles mimic a pyramid shape, while others are a mixture of hip roofs with other types like a gable.

5 Most Common Types of Hip Roofs

Hipped roofs can take on many shapes and sizes. Here are the most common types:

  1. Standard Hip Roof – A traditional hip roof is on a rectangular house with four sloped sides that meet at a ridge.
  2. Pyramid Hip Roof – A pyramid hip roof is what you’ll see on square structures. It has four equal sides that meet at a point.
  3. Hip and Valley Roof – A hip and valley roof occurs when a home is a T or L shape rather than a standard rectangle. This roof has a valley where the multiple hipped roofs meet.
  4. Half Hip – The half hip or half jerkinhead roof combines the styles of gable and hipped roofs. The roof starts with the structure of a gable, but the top points are hipped-style.
  5. Dutch Gable – A Dutch Gable roof is a hip roof with a gable at the top. 

Hip Roof vs. Gable Roof

A gable roof is the most simple roof design. It has two even sides that form a peak in the middle. 

Gable roofs are the easiest to build and, therefore, one of the least expensive options. Since these roofs are pitched and have no flat spots, they’re ideal for areas with heavy rain or snow.

Gable RoofView in gallery

Hipped roofs also do well in extreme climates. Their design makes them self-bracing and the best roof choice for high winds and hurricanes. And, since they are aesthetically pleasing, they can boost curb appeal.

As great as they are, there are two potential cons. First, hipped roofs are more expensive than gable roofs. Secondly, since they have more seams, they’re more likely to leak.

But a hipped roof may be your better option if you live in an area that regularly deals with high winds. On the other hand, a gable roof is better if you’re not concerned with high winds and want something easy-to-maintain.

Hip Roof vs. Gambrel Roof

Some people confuse hipped roofs with gambrel roofs, but they are not the same. A gambrel roof is a gable with two symmetrical slopes on both sides. The top slope is usually shallow, with the lower slope being steep.

Hip RoofView in gallery

Gambrel roofs are great at directing water away from a house but are not well-suited for areas with heavy snowfall. They also aren’t nearly as wind-resistant as hipped roofs.

Both gambrel and hip roofs will maximize attic space. But a hipped roof is a better choice if you live in an extreme climate.

Pros and Cons of a Hip Roof

There are many types of hip roofs, and they work with all kinds of home styles. If you’re considering a hip roof for your house, here are the pros and cons:

Pros of a hip roof:

  • Aesthetics – Hip-style roofs have many variations, and almost all will add curb appeal to your home.
  • Self Bracing – Since hip roofs are self-bracing, they have more structural integrity than many other types of roofs.
  • Ideal for High Wind – The structure of hip roofs helps them stand up against high winds. They’re one of the best choices for hurricane-prone areas.
  • Excellent Drainage – The slope of hip roofs prevents rain or snow from accumulating.

Cons of a hip roof:

  • Expensive – The sometimes intricate designs of hip roofs can make them far more costly than a standard gable roof.
  • Prone to Leaks – Hip roofs have more seams than many other roofs, making them more likely to leak.

Hip Roof Examples

If you need some inspiration, here are some of the most popular styles of hip roofs.

Standard Hip Roof on Island Style House

Standard Hip Roof on Island Style HouseView in gallery
Russell Home Builders

A traditional hip roof has four sides that meet a peak or ridge, depending on the shape of the house. 

Standard hip roofs are among the least expensive of this style since their design is very straightforward.

Hip and Valley Roof on Traditional One-Story

Hip and Valley Roof on Traditional One-StoryView in gallery
Doug Simon ARCHITECTURE

Hip and valley roofs have multiple sections of hip roofs that meet and form valleys. They are usually a T or an L shape but can vary.

In this traditional home, it’s easy to see how the multiple roofs connect.

Dutch Gable Roof on Rustic Home

Dutch Gable Roof on Rustic HomeView in gallery
Hoedemaker Pfeiffer

If you’ve thought of doing a hip roof and gable roof combination, here’s one way to go about it. 

A roof like this is called a dutch gable. It starts as a hip roof and then has a gable on top. Sometimes the gable is small, but in this circumstance, the homeowner chose to place a large gable in the center.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What types of homes look best with hip roofs?

Hipped roofs are one of the most versatile styles and work for every type of home. While you’ll generally see hipped roofs on Georgian and French Colonial-style homes, they work for any house. You readily find examples of modern, farmhouse, and rustic homes with hip roofs.

Why do hip roofs leak?

Hip roofs leak because they have more seams than other roof styles, like gable or gambrel. The more seams there are in a roof, the more chances for leaks. Making sure your roof is fastened and flashed correctly is the number one way to prevent leaks. Inspect your roof yearly or after major storms to check for damage.

How long do hip roofs last?

The amount of time a hip roof will last depends on the material you use, your climate, and how well you maintain the roof. Depending on the roofing material, you can expect a well-maintained hip roof to last fifty years or more.

Final Thoughts

A standard hip roof has four sloped sides that meet at a peak or ridge. There are several variations of hipped roofs; some are intricate and combine multiple roof styles.

Hipped roofs are excellent at boosting a home’s curb appeal. But aside from their obvious pleasing aesthetics, they are also self-bracing and one of the best roofs for high-winds and hurricane-prone areas. The biggest drawback to hip-style roofs is that they’re more likely to leak since they have extra seams.