A hip roof is one of the most common roof types, alongside gable roofs, and is less-commonly known as a hipped-roof. Essentially, these two designs are the simplest of all roofs to implement, which explains their popularity, but we’re here to talk about the hip roof – so let’s get into it.
Quickly, before we start, it’s probably best to offer some insight into what a hip roof actually is. To strip it back to basics, all sides of a hip roof slope down toward the walls from a central ridge. In most applications, the pitch of each side is shallow, although a tented roof describes a hip roof with a steep pitch. The pitch on each side is the same, and there are no gables, which makes sense.
The main advantage of a hip roof comes down to the shape of the structure. All aspects of the construction are suited to deal with adverse weather conditions, including rain, snow and wind. Firstly, the self-bracing nature of a hip roof means there is little need for extra support. Moreover, the sloping sides of the roof mean there is no flat surface to catch the wind, which can cause issues for gabled roofs, for example. Gabled roofs are liable to catching the wind, leading to extensive damage. Steeper sides may be advisable in hurricane regions, as shallow sides can act as a plane-wing does and cause upward lift, tearing the roof from a building.
Arguably the largest benefit of a hip roof comes down to the drainage that is created from having all sides sloping toward the ground. There are no places for water to stand on a gable roof, which helps to prevent excess stress on the structure and reduces the prominence of leaks. This prevention of standing is, arguably, accentuated when considering snowfall that can build up and create large stress on a roof if the runoff is not adequate. Luckily, this is certainly the case with hip roofs.
Generally speaking, the main issue that arises in people’s minds when talking of hip roofs is the increased cost in comparison to a gabled roof. Due to the extra materials and more complex structure of this type of roof, there is some increase in cost that has to be taken into consideration, although it is not a great deal more expensive than other roofs.
The increased number of seams, due to the need for more ridges, leads to a pronounced risk of leaks. This can, however, be avoided with proper maintenance but it is something that should be addressed in the conversation for and against a hip roof.
In conclusion, the choice of roof that is right for you truly comes down to personal preference and the predicament you find yourself in; which could be financial, environmental or otherwise. However, it’s important to remember that almost all issues can be prevented with proper maintenance and swiftly rectifying any issues you spot. That’s said, a hip roof is a classic choice for a reason.
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