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Popular Roof Types: Hip vs. Gable Roof

Hip vs. gable roof

The purpose of your roof is to protect the structure of your home as well as all of its contents, including you and your family. While most residential homes are sloped so that water, sleet, and melting snow can run off into the gutter system, there are a variety of options when it comes to roof design that can impact how efficiently your roof protects your home against weather. 

Two common roof types we see on homes in both New England and the D.C. metro area are hip roofs and gable roofs. To help homeowners decide which roof style is right for them, let’s break down the differences between gable and hip roofs.

Hip roof on a house

Hip Roof vs. Gable Roof Explained

What is a Hip Roof?

A hip roof doesn’t have any vertical ends. This means that it is sloped on all sides and the slopes all meet at the peak of the roof of a square structure, and if the structure is a rectangle, the ends slope inward to form a ridge with the adjacent sides.

You can determine the difference between gable and hip roof by checking if all the roof sides slope down to the home’s walls, and the walls sit under the eaves on all sides of the roof. 

Hip Roof Pros and Cons

Pros

While gable roofs are more common in America, hip roofs are actually more stable, which is one of their biggest wins in the hip roof vs gable roof comparison.

Their inward slope on all four styles and self-bracing design make them sturdy, durable roofing options. This makes them excellent choices for areas with a lot of snow and high winds, like New England. 

Cons

While they are sturdier and more durable, hip roofs also tend to be more expensive than gable roofs, another of the most noteworthy differences in hip vs gable roof comparison. Hip roofs tend to be complex in design, requiring more materials and skill to install.

If a hip roof is improperly installed, they can be susceptible to water leaks around the roof’s dormers or additional seams. With sloping on all sides of the roof, they also provide less attic space.

Fortunately, Long Roofing offers a variety of payment options to make roofing upgrades more affordable. 

Hip Roof Variations

Here are some hip roof variations to consider:

  • Half-hip roof: typically an add-on to gable roofs, a half-hip roof (sometimes called a clipped-gable roof) occurs when the end of the gable includes a small hip roof section sloping off the ridge. 
  • Pavilion roof: a hip roof built upon a square structure, where all sides join to form one peak in the center (sometimes called a pyramid roof.)
  • Mansard roof: a hip roof with slopes at varying angles, typically flatter at the top with a drop off at the midpoint of the slope. 

What is a Gable Roof?

A gable roof consists of triangle-shaped slopes extending from the bottom of the roof’s eaves to the peak of the ridge. As opposed to hip roofs, where all slopes meet under the roof’s eaves, gable roofs only have two slopes and the remaining space is enclosed with the home’s wall.

Gable roofs are also known as pitched or peaked roofs and are some of the most common roof types for residential homes in America.

Gable roof on a house

Gable Roof Pros and Cons

Pros

Gable roofs do a great job of shedding water, snow, and other debris. They provide plenty of space for attics and vaulted ceilings, allowing more air ventilation in your home, which is important to consider when comparing gable vs hip roofs. Their simple design and easy construction make them far more affordable than other complex roofing designs.

Cons

Gable roofs can’t really compare to hip roofs when it comes to dealing with high-wind and snow areas. They can be problematic for areas that are prone to hurricanes and other storms. If they are improperly framed and constructed with poor support, gable roofs are known to collapse against strong winds.

Additionally, if there is too much of an overhang, high winds can create an uplift against the gables (or the home’s walls) and cause the roof to detach.

If you’re using a gable roof in a high-wind area, be sure it is installed using proper braces and check the roof after a high-wind storm.

Gable Roof Variations

Here are some gable roof variations to consider:

  • Front gable roof: this is a common design for Colonial-style homes where the front of the house is actually the gable, with the front door typically under the gable.
  • Cross-gable roof: this roof consists of two or more lines of gable roof intersecting at an angle, usually seen in homes with different wings or an attached garage.
  • Dutch gable roof: this is a mix of a gable roof and a hip roof, where the gable is placed on top of the hip roof, allowing more space in a loft.
Roof on a house

What’s Your Preferred Roofing Style?

With our SELECT ShingleMaster™ roof replacement accreditation, a distinction given to only one percent of roofers in the United States, the roofing experts at Long Roofing can tackle whatever roofing style fits your home. Visit Long online or call us at 844-602-LONG to request an estimate and get a free in-home consultation.

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