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An architect's guide to the hip roof

In modern times, if you happen to see bungalows and cottages, you will notice that the majority of them will be fitted with a 'Hipped roof' or a 'Hip roof'. This is because this style of roofing tends to evoke both comfort and practicality. Here follows a brief guide to this pretty architectural construction.


A hipped roof is one that slopes gently down on all sides to the walls. It differs from a gable roof in the sense that there are no vertical sides to it. They will differ depending on the shape of the house: a square house will require a hipped roof shaped like a pyramid, while an oblong house will have a roof comprising two triangular sides and two trapezoidal sides. Hipped roofs can be constructed on a wide variety of plan shapes.


Hipped roofs will nearly always tend to have a consistent level of 'fascia' which allows for a gutter to be fitted all the way around. They are generally much harder to construct than garbled roofs due to the fact that they necessitate a trussing system that is comparatively complex. However, although, the roof itself is more difficult to build, having this kind of roof means that the walls themselves will be much easier to construct. In addition, because they are self-bracing, hip roof construction requires no additional diagonal support.

Advantages and disadvantages

Advantages Perhaps, the greatest advantage of hipped roofs is that in warm climate, they require little effort in keeping the structure cool. This is because they have eaves all around, which both protects the walls from the sun as well as from any adverse weather conditions. In fact, in some places if you can prove your house has a hipped roof, your home insurance will be greatly reduced. Disadvantages Besides the difficulties involved in construction, the disadvantage that hipped roofs have, as compared with gabled roofs is that the access for maintenance purposes is more difficult and that there is often less roof space inside.

Types and variations

Mansard roof construction A mansard roof is a variant that has two different roof angles, one much steeper than the other. A tented roof A tented roof is a steep, multi-angled, square hip roof. These are commonly seen in Russian Church architectural designs A gablet roof or Dutch gable Finally, there is the gablet or Dutch gable roof. This type features a hip with a small gable above it. Here, no girder trusses are required, thus greatly simplifying the construction.

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