Definition of a Hip Roof
Made to last with
clean lines and a sturdy design, hip roofs remain hugely popular the
world over. While they’re commonly used on cottages and bungalows,
they’re a versatile choice for any house style. Before you decide
on the roof
that best suits your needs, here’s all you need to know about
crowning your home with a hip roof:
Parts of a hip roof
A hip roof or hipped roof has four
sloped sides that join at the top to form a ridge. Unlike a gabled
roof which slopes inward on two sides, hip roof have equal length
sides, usually with a fairly gentle slope and no gables or other
Though more difficult to construct than
a gabled roof (and a little more pricey), hip roofs offer excellent
durability in a variety of shapes to suit your specific design needs.
The hip roof framework is made up of a
complex system of rafters and trusses, with triangular faces called
hip ends and a ridge along the centre. Its design is made up of four
Common rafters run down
from the top of the roof to the top of the exterior house walls. As
they connect directly to the ridge board, they set the centre and
height of the roof.
The ridge board acts like a
frame for the uppermost part of the roof and is used to nail the
common and hip rafters in place.
Hip rafters run along the
‘hip’ where the roof faces meet. Nailed at a 45 degree angle to
the ridge board, they’re also used to nail the top of the jack
rafters to the hip.
Jack rafters are sloping
beams that become shorter in length and support the roof’s weight.
Different Types of materials & costs
Much like a gable roof ,
hipped roofs can be covered with almost any type of roofing material
to suit your design vision.
Depending on your
budget and style, it’s worth taking a closer look at the pros and
cons of some of the most popular materials on offer:
A roofing favourite thanks to its
natural look, durability and attractive design, an average wood roof
can last 30-60 years if it’s well maintained (that’s five to 10
times longer than shingles). Easy to repair or replace, eco-friendly
wood shingle offers good insulation value, and is biodegradable which
means a lighter load on landfills.
That said, wood shingles can be
expensive to purchase and install. Typical roofing costs vary
depending on the wood used, with the most popular being Cedar which
costs around £45 per square metre (including installation). Wood
does tend to rot, split and develop mould and mildew when exposed to
the elements, so maintenance is essential and should be factored in
as an ongoing cost. An annual power wash will keep the roof clean,
and professional roofers are able to treat wood with quality
preservatives and cleaning solutions. To improve its fire rating,
wood also needs to be pressure treated and checked regularly for
Offering a simple and more
cost-effective solution, a well-installed asphalt or bitumen sealed
shingle roof delivers a good level of protection and a relatively
short lifespan of 12 – 17 years. Also known as composition
shingles, asphalt shingles are an excellent option for homeowners who
need a stylish look at a fraction of the cost. Styles come in 3-Tab,
architectural and premium shingles with different textural options to
suit any style of home. Shingles are also fire resistant and
installation costs are much lower, with many homeowners opting to
While lower in price, asphalt shingles
are sensitive to extreme temperatures which cause cracking and colour
fading, especially in hot climates. Cheaper grades of asphalt
shingles like 3-tab are more prone to wind uplift, and all composite
shingles are petroleum based so they’re environmentally unfriendly.
Bitumen sealed roof shingles cost around £12 to £15 per square
metre and regular maintenance and repairs are needed especially
before rain and snow to remove mildew and moss. It’s also important
to remember that installation at below freezing temperatures can
result in damage.
for centuries, tiled roofs last for many decades – a lot longer
than many other roofing materials. As well as being highly
attractive and durable, tiles won’t rot and are resistant to fire
and insect damage and need little maintenance. Available in many
colours and styles, concrete and clay tiles stand up to heavy rains
and other weather extremes and help with insulation and energy
savings in your home thanks to air circulation under the tiles.
to install, tiles are very heavy and can be fairly fragile, where
walking on the roof can easily break tiles. Installation and repairs
can be tricky and replacement tiles can be expensive, but they’re
still fairly easy to replace one or a few at a time. Costs can vary
depending on the choice of tile, but as a guide you can expect:
per square metre for concrete tiles
per square metre for clay tiles
to £70 per square metre for slate tiles
or Welsh slate can cost as much as £150 per square metre
The cost of roof construction
depends largely on the size of your tiles and angle of the roof: the
greater the angle, the greater the surface area which pushes up the
cost. As a rough guide, for every 5° increase in the slope of the
roof, your cost per square metre will rise by around 4%.
Remember when calculating your
costs to include scaffolding, gutters, roof vents and chimneys.
All roofing quotes need to include
the costs of other materials such as
underfelt or membrane, battens and ridging tiles.
As with any
roofing installation, accurate measurements are essential. Unlike a flat roof or lean-to, hip roofs have sloping sides so construction needs to be
done with high precision and safety, which is why it’s worth
considering using a professional roofing contractor.
Using a hip roof calculator, you’ll need to measure the width and
length of the building to calculate the dimensions and lengths of the
ridge board and rafters.
Once you’ve measured the length of
your common rafters, hip rafters and ridge board, remember to allow
room at the end of the common rafters and hip rafters to fit to the
ridge board. Then follow these steps to frame and install your hip
Calculate the run of the common
rafters (the distance from the outside of the wall to the inside of
the ridge board) so you can place ceiling joists next to the common
and hip jack rafters.
Once you’ve laid the common
rafters in position, place the ceiling joists alongside the rafter
positions. Depending on the pitch of your roof, you might want to
leave the ceiling joist end out until the hip rafters are in place.
The first step in framing a hip
roof is to lift the ridge board to the correct height. You’ll
probably need at least three carpenters to set the ridge in place
and have at least six common rafters cut and ready to put into their
final position. With two carpenters in the centre of the building
near the ends of the ridge board, the third person then hands the
top of the common rafters to them in the middle.
Start by nailing one rafter to the
top of the wall that’s next to the ceiling joist, while the
carpenter in the middle holds the top in its approximate location.
Then go to the opposite sides of the building and repeat the
process. The carpenter in the middle can now just let the plumb cuts
rest together to support the weight. Repeat this process with the
third man on the other end of the ridge board.
The carpenter who was working on
the outside walls can now hand the ridge board to the middle
carpenters and help them to slip the ridge in between the common
rafters and nail it in place.
Now place the king common rafters
in place at the ends of the ridge board. This locks the ridge in
its final position so you won’t need temporary braces.
Move on to setting the hip
rafters, which should need only two carpenters unless they’re
extremely long and heavy. Remember to first nail the bottom in
place, then the top.
At this point, give the roof
cutter a head start on the hip jacks while setting the rest of the
common rafters. Once the rafters are fixed, it’s time to install
the jack rafters between the hip rafters and common rafters.
Before setting the jack rafters,
make sure the hip rafter is straight, with a string line nailed on
top and a temporary brace nailed near the centre to hold it
straight. Jack rafters should be nailed on opposite sides of the
hip rafter to keep it straight, moving from one end to another which
is a lengthy process but ensures better precision.
Finally, install the fascia and
then nail the sheathing to the frame to cover the roof faces before
applying your chosen roofing material.
Gable vs Hip roofs:
CONS Gable Roof
Attractive, cheaper and easier to build
Not ideal for high wind and hurricane areas
More space for attic or loft storage
Fewer leaks and excellent water drainage, thanks to a steeper
Needs good framing support to avoid collapse
Good for wet and snowy weather conditions
If there’s too much overhang, winds can lift the roof away
CONS Hipped Roof
Excellent for high wind and snowy areas
thanks to its slanted roof, stable design and no flat ends to
catch the wind
More expensive to install and difficult
Compact solid appearance to increase overall value of your home
and to suit most house styles
Less room inside the roof space and maintenance access is more
Hip roofs are self-bracing and need less diagonal bracing
Can be prone to leaks if dormers are
added and they’re not properly installed with waterproofing
No tall gable walls which saves on sheathing, siding or brick.
Hip roofs are difficult to ventilate and there is no gable with a
window for natural light.