Armchair Builder

Hip Roof: What is it?

Home with Hip Roof

Hip Roof

A hip roof isn’t just a cool or happening roof.  It is a particular roof shape.  A hip roof is one that angles down to the exterior wall as shown above.  If your home has a square shaped floor plan the hip roof will look like a pyramid on top.  Since your new home’s roof shape can affect both the design of the interior and your budget, let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages for this particular style of roof.

Vaulted Ceiling

As a builder, I frequently have customers ask for a vaulted ceiling in the upstairs master bedroom.  It really opens up the room and gives the feeling of a bigger living space.  The only problem is, if a hip roof design has been chosen for above the room, a traditional vaulted ceiling won’t work.  Because the hip roof angles up from the outside wall, it cuts into the open area for the vault.  So if you really want a hip roof, you will need to choose another type of volume ceiling like a tray ceiling.

Less Attic Space

If you’re planning on using your attic for storage or for living space, you may not want to go with a hip roof.  For the same reason as noted above, the angle on the hip roof drastically cuts down on the usable space in the attic.  Can you still use the attic with a hip roof?  Sure…but a more traditional roof like the one shown below would provide far more living or storage space.


Gable End

Gable vs. Hip Roof

 Construction with Hip Roof Design

Building a home with a hip roof will have an impact on several key building activities.  Let’s take a look at each of them to see how your estimated quantities and budgets are affected.

  • Trusses – truss design is a little more difficult with a hip roof so more thought and time must go into the design (hint:  your costs will go up)
  • Siding – a hip roof requires less siding than the gable design shown immediately above…this can save you money on labor and materials
  • Gutters – the hip roof requires more lineal feet of gutters than a gable end style…but it’s not a big difference in cost if you are using seamless aluminum gutters
  • Carpentry – the labor to construct the hip roof is a little more difficult so your costs will probably go up for framing/rough carpentry
With all that being said, a hip roof does create a nice look.  You may want to get pricing from your subcontractors before making a final decision.  Have you ever thought about building your own home?  Be sure to stop by the Armchair Builder How to Build Your Own Home resource page.  We have some great free videos and articles as well as some one-of-a-kind digital resources for sale at the Armchair Builder ESTORE.  We also have bid sheets that make it very easy to compare pricing from one contractor to another.

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