Hip Roof vs. Gable Roof – Pros & Cons of Each

Hip vs. Gable Roof: Pros & ConsAre you in the process of working with your design professional to visualize your new home? If so, chances are you are considering one of the two most popular roof types in the US, hip & gable. This article will help you decide between a hip and gable roof for your new home, or an existing roof re-framing project. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of each roof type, and find out which one is a more appropriate choice for your needs.

The Gable Roof
Also known as pitched or peaked roof, gable roofs are some of the most popular roofs in the US. They are easily recognized by their triangular shape.

Gable Roof Pros
Gable roofs will easily shed water and snow, provide more space for the attic or vaulted ceilings, and allow more ventilation. Their simple design makes them easier to build and cheaper than more complex designs.

Gable Roof Cons
Gable roofs can be problematic in high wind and hurricane-prone areas. If the frames are not properly constructed with adequate supports, the roof can collapse due to strong winds. High winds can also cause materials to peel away from gable roofs. If there is too much of an overhang, winds can create an uplift underneath and cause the roof to detach from the walls.

Types of Gable Roofs
Common gable-type roofs include the side gable, cross gable, front gable, and the dutch gable.

Side Gable: A side gable is a basic pitched roof. It has two equal panels or sides pitched at an angle. Both sides of the gable meet at the ridge in the middle of a building. The triangle section can be left open for an open gable roof, or it can be enclosed for a boxed gable roof.

Crossed Gable: A crossed gable roof is two gable roof sections put together at the right angle. The two ridges are perpendicular to each other. Lengths, pitches or heights may or may not differ from each other. It’s an excellent roof design for homes with separate wings. You can use the cross gable roof architecture to accent different areas of your home, such as the garage, porch or dormers. It’s often used in Cape Cod and Tudor styles houses.

Front Gable: A front gable roof is placed at the entrance of the house. This design is often seen in Colonial style houses.

Dutch Gable Roof: A Dutch gable is a hybrid of the gable and hip roof. A gable roof is placed at the top of a hip roof for more space and enhanced aesthetic appeal.

The Hip Roof
A hip roof has slopes on all four sides. The sides are all equal length and come together at the top to form the ridge.

Hip Roof Pros
Hip roofs are more stable than gable roofs. The inward slope of all four sides is what makes it more sturdy and durable. Hip roofs are excellent for both high wind and snowy areas. The slant of the roof allows rain and snow to easily slide off with no standing water. Hip roofs can offer extra living space when a shed dormers are added.

Hip Roof Cons
Hip roofs are more expensive to build than a gable roof. It’s a more complex design that requires more building materials. Also, if there are dormers built into the overall design of a hip roof, the additional seams and valleys can make it easier for potential water leaks to occur around dormers, if the roofing system is not properly installed or if the end-walls of a dormer are not properly flashed. Also, in terms of ongoing expenses, diligent maintenance of this roof type is a must to prevent minor issues from turning into major problems.

Types of Hip Roofs
Common hip roof types include the simple hip, cross-hipped roof, and the half-hip.

Simple Hip: The most common type of a hip roof. It has a polygon on two sides and a triangle on two other sides. The sides come together at the top to form a simple ridge.

Cross Hipped: Similar to a cross gable roof. Use separate hip roofs on homes with different wings. The line where the two roofs meet is called a valley. Note that valleys can allow water to pool, so their proper waterproofing is a must.

Half Hipped: A standard hip roof that has two sides shortened to create eaves.

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