Hip Roof and Gable Roofs are two of the most popular roof style homeowners tend to choose. Today, we take a deep look into the advantages and disadvantages of each one, different roof types within these two and which one is the best fit for your home.
Hip Roof vs. Gable Roof
To put it simply, a hip roof, as seen from above, has slopes that go upwards at each side and meet right at the middle (peak) or ridge. As seen from the ground level, the ridge is the horizontal line that runs along the side or length of the roof. A ridge’s structure or walls are all the same height. Typically, the installation is made at the tallest point of the structure and is where the air from the attic space comes out of. Hip roofs do not have vertical ends and no gables.
Now for a little history lesson. Did you know that the oldest hip structure is located in the United States? More specifically in Claymont, Delaware. The structure is the Block House, which was built in 1654 and remains intact to this day. Its no wonder these types are so popular, they had their roots in British architecture. These types of roofs became increasingly popular in the 1600s-1700s and expanded across the US.
There are different designs within hip roofs. From half-hip to pyramid hip, each design brings its on aesthetic and benefits. We are highlighting the most common seen type of hip roofs below.
Hip Roof Types:
- Standard Hip – The most common hip roof, seen on rectangular structural homes. The four slopes that start at the corners slope upwards and meet in the middle, right at the ridge.
- Hip and Valley – Hip and valley roofs are T or L shaped structures, instead of the regular rectangular or square homes. The roofs on these structures have valleys where the hip roofs meet. Valleys are made when two sides of the roof meet and form a slope.
- Pyramid Hip – Pyramid roofs are found on rectangular structure. With four slope sides that also meet at the highest part of the house, which is the ridge.
- Mansard Roof – Also known as a French roof, is a combination of gambrel and hip roof. Mansards are able to give extra attic space and provide a great and timeless look to your home.
Pros and Cons of Installing a Hip Roof
Just like anything, hip roofs have their positives and drawbacks. Here, we take a closer look of hip roofs are right for your property or if you are better with another choice.
The primary thing to determine if hips are the best option is to take your attic space into account.
Advantages of a Hip Roof
The inward slopes that make a hip roof make them extremely durable and naturally sturdy. Therefore, hip roofs are self-bracing due to their shape. Hips are essential in areas of the country that are prone to high winds and heavy storms, since they are reliable and durable. Hurricane prone areas should have hip roofs on their homes, period. Many contractors suggest a 6/12 pitch for areas with high winds for better protection and to avoid water pooling.
Since these hip roofs have slopped areas, its hard for snow or water to accumulate and stay put in one place since it runs down the structured slopes. This also helps with drainage as the water and snow is able to flow properly into the gutters, which dispel them away from the property.
If you decide on a more intricate design instead of a simpler hip design, the it will most likely cost more as you have to take the extra materials and labor into account. This is why some hips are more expensive than their gable roof counterparts. Not to mention, the complex design of hip roofs do require more materials than gables.
Hip roofs do require more seams due to their design. Many contractors have come to the conclusion that there is a slightly higher chance of finding a leak on a hip roof than other design. Of course, when installing a new roof its always good to have a reliable roofer with lots of expertise. This should void any possible leaks in the future and less time to worry to you or your family.
Compared to gables, hip roofs have less space due to their diagonal bracing. This takes a lot of room and leaves little attic space inside the home. Contractors nowadays suggest to install dormers on the hip roofs during installation to provide more space and natural light to the room. This will offset the limiting amount of space gables provide.
Gable Roofs: What Are they and when to Install Them
Gable roofs get their name from their one flat end on the roof, this part is called the gable. A gable roof’s component includes two sloping sides that form a ridge by meeting right in the middle section. This creates a triangular shape in the front and back end of the home or building. Gables tend to have greater slopes and steeper pitches.
Similar to the hip roof, gables come in different shapes and sizes. We break down the most popular designs below.
Gable Roof Types:
- Open Gable – Open Gables have two sloped sides that meet at the pointed top, have one gable and one triangular side.
- Side Gable – The most common type of gable. This is an A-frame that sits on top of the rectangular home structure. Called a side gable due to the gables that sit at each side(end) instead of being located at the front or back of the building. Side gables are out of all the gable roofs, the easiest to build. Using manufactured trusses is best since these are built to the same dimensions of the length and size of the roof.
- Boxed Gable – The design of the boxed gable is similar to the above design, the difference is that the roof-line extends the walls and amplify the triangular design the gable makes, instead of the gable being placed up from the outside of the side walls.
- Front Gable – Installations of front gables are arranged in the front part of the home, this is done to provide shade and cover to the entrance of the house. More colonial-style homes use this type of design as it brings a special kind of aesthetic to the house.
- Cross Gable Roof – Cross gable roofs usually have two or more gable lines that intersect, forming valleys at the top of the roof. Houses with this type of structure have a more complex layout.
- Dutch Gable Roof – Combines two favorites, gable and hip styles. Dutch gable roofs have four sloping sides and a gable on the top. Dutch gables are one of the most unique types of roof structures on this list.
Pros and Cons of Installing a Gable Roof
Advantages of a Gable Roof
Gable roofs bring a classic, more home-y style to your house. Plus, you have many options to choose from.
Just like hip roofs, gable roofs can have steep slopes and are great to shed water, snow and even debris away from your roof.
The installation of gable roofs are faster and are less difficult than more intricate designs. Due to their speed and easiness, roofing contractors are able to install these quicker and more efficiently, at a fraction of the cost.
Disadvantages of a Gable Roof
Prone to More Damage
These are more prone to receive damage during high winds or snow. In extreme cases, high winds can even detach a roof altogether, since high winds can lift under the gables.
Can Require More Repairs Down the Road
As stated above, gable roofs are prone to more damage due to their design. Therefore, some leaks or even detachments can occur. Whether big or small, keep in mind more repairs could be necessary down the road after installation. Especially if your area is known to have difficult weather.
Gable and Valley Roofs
Now for a great combination for homeowners looking to use both types of roofs on their home. Gable and valley roof types are perfect for homeowners who are wanting to make the most of their space. Instead of using their attic space for storage, they utilize their upper floor area as a living space. A gable and valley roof resembles the traditional gable roof with additional installations from the sides. By adding two more gables here, this creates more valleys on the roof.
Benefits of Gable and Valley Roofs include additional space in the home and a more pleasant aesthetic from the outside.
Some drawbacks can include more expensive installations, as additional labor and materials are needed. Another thing to keep in mind is that valleys are susceptible to leaks as water can pool there. More valleys means a house could be more prone to leaks.
Gable vs Hip Roof Maintenance
Regular maintenance for any home is necessary in order to keep your home functioning properly. This applies to either your gable or hip roofs as well. Always make sure your roof is clean of sticks, leaves or debris. Its essential that roof maintenance occurs at least twice a year, before winter and at the start of spring. Knowing the weather conditions in your area is also a great way to be cautious and ready for anything. If you are aware that your area is prone to lots of snow, then its important to tune up your roof before a snowstorm.
The Bottom Line – Hip vs Gable Roof Types
Roofing contractors do suggest to use a pitch of 6/12 or even a more steep pitch in order for the snow and rain to slide right off gable roofs. Buildings made of 6 walls have around three gables, buildings with 4 walls have two gables. To understand a roof pitch, think of it this way, as rise over run. One inch of the rise is meant for every 12 inches that a roof extends horizontally. Therefore, for 6/12 you would need 6 inches of rise(height).
Both hipped and gable roof types tend to do well in rainy and snowy areas. The strength of the shingles are able to support the extra weight of these weather conditions and shed the rain or snow with no issues. However, as we stated above, if your home is in an area prone to high winds and storms, then a hip roof is your best choice in the matter. Gable roofs can have higher pitch areas and can loose shingles more easily.
Both designs have their advantages and disadvantages. They are both very popular in the U.S. due to their costs, roofing contractors are able to build these design easily and the have great drainage systems. Both slates and shingles work during installation. If you would like to know more then contact your roofing company and see which roof style works best for you. While there are a lot of reasons to choose either the hip or gable roofs, its best to take into account a professional’s input and your budget.
To get more information about your next roofing project, get in touch with us today for a free quote and inspection!