Gable Roof vs Hip Roof: A Comprehensive Comparison

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Gable Roof vs Hip Roof: A Comprehensive Comparison

A big part of any home construction project is figuring out which kind of roof to install.

A strong and well-designed roof will not only add to your home’s overall aesthetics—more importantly, it will also effectively protect you and your family from harm.

Two popular options that fit the bill are hip roofs and gable roofs. If you’re wondering which roof design is better for you, then read on to find out.

Gable Roof

A gable roof, also known as a pitched or peaked roof, is one of the simplest designs there is.

Easily spotted for its distinct style, it features two sides that slope downward, forming a triangular shape. On the other two sides, the walls of the house extend upwards to meet the peak of the roof’s ridge.

Because the sides of the roof are sloped, water, snow, and other types of precipitation easily slide off its surface. This prevents leaks and accumulated debris on the roof, which makes maintaining it a lot easier.

Another great thing about it is its large vertical space. This not only provides more area for structural add-ons such as attics and vaulted ceilings but also contributes to better ventilation.

However, gable roofs can be problematic in more high wind and hurricane-prone areas, as its design makes it a little less stable. Strong gusts of wind may cause the roof to collapse, especially if it isn’t held by very stable supports.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Great ventilation
  • Available attic space
  • Easy to build

Cons

  • Prone to damage in high wind areas
  • Its design may look too plain and simple

Types of Gable Roofs

Gable roofs come in a variety of designs for your home. The ones listed here are some of the more common ones, but you may find different kinds as well.

Front/Side Gable Roof

The front or side gable roof is the most basic design: It features two sloped sides that meet at a single peak on top.

If the gable (or the triangular face) is on the same wall as the main entrance of your home, it’s known as a front gable. If they are on different walls, then the design is called a side gable.

Boxed Gable Roof

If the triangle section in a front or side gable roof is enclosed with a panel instead of left open, it becomes a boxed gable roof.

Crossed Gable Roof

A crossed gable roof consists of two simple gable roofs that intersect at a perpendicular angle. Architects utilize this design to add interior space to your home and to create a more dynamic look for the interior and exterior.

This type of roof is also usually used for houses with separate wings.

Dutch Gable Roof

A Dutch gable roof is a hybrid of a typical gable and hip roof.

The hip roof is placed below the gable one, providing extra loft or attic space. This also adds to the uniqueness and overall style of your home.

Hip Roof

On the other hand, hip roofs are more complex. They’re more difficult to install and maintain, but they come with a lot of benefits too.

A hip roof has a symmetrical-looking design, which not only improves its curb appeal but also contributes to the home’s overall stability.

Hip roofs feature slopes on all four sides, so they easily shed water and snow like gable roofs. However, this inward slope created by its four sides also makes for a self-bracing roof that requires less support to maintain its structure. This design protects the roof from high winds and storms.

The level design of a hip roof also allows consistent fascia on all sides, which means gutters can easily be installed to prevent future leaks and water damage.

However, the complicated designs of some hip roofs may present additional problems such as potential water leaks and poor ventilation.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Option to add on crow’s nests and dormersto increase home space
  • Its self-supporting roofing system adds stability against high winds
  • Aesthetically appealing

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Its complex design may come with more functional challenges

Types of Hip Roofs

Hip roofs can also come in more styles than the ones stated below. However, these are the types most commonly used for the home.

Simple Hip Roof

A simple hip roof is one with two polygonal sides (usually trapezoids) and two triangular sides. This is the most common type for its basic but aesthetically appealing layout.

Half Hipped Roof

A half hipped roof is similar to a simple hip roof, but its triangular sides are shortened to create eaves. Eaves direct water flow away from the walls of the house, preventing moisture build-up and leaks.

This is also known as a jerkinhead roof or a clipped gable roof.

Cross Hipped Roof

Cross hipped roofs are simple hip roofs that intersect to form an “L” or “T” shape. The place where they meet creates something called a seam or a valley.

This type of roof is used to separate different wings in a house.

Mansard Roof

This is a type of hip roof that has two different sloping angles on each side.

Sometimes called a French roof, this type of design is preferred for the extra space and aesthetical value it provides.

Hip Roof vs. Gable Roof

Now that you know the characteristics, pros, and cons of these roofs, which type is ultimately better?

Cost

Hip roofs are generally more expensive than gable roofs. This is because the former’s complex structure requires more materials, seams, planning, and labor.

If you’re on a budget, opt for gable roofs.

Design

Gable roofs have a very basic style that may not increase the curb appeal of your home. On the other hand, hip roofs have a distinct and attractive design. You can also add dormers for extra living space and visual impact.

Both roofs can be built with any type of roofing material including slate, metal, shingles, and tiles.

If you want more freedom for interior and exterior architectural designs, consider hip roofs.

Durability

A gable roof’s structure is weaker than a hip roof’s in hurricane-prone areas because it doesn’t block the strong winds as well. For this type of roof, it’s crucial to construct adequate supports for a strong foundation.

While hip roofs are known to be more stable and durable, it’s important for these to be properly installed and maintained.

Otherwise, water or snow could collect in the valleys, causing leaks and water damage. Having gutters in place will prevent these problems from arising.

If you expect to frequently experience harsh weather conditions, pick hip roofs.

Functionality

Gable roofs have a lot of extra space you can use as an attic or storage area. Ventilation is also a lot easier.

However, you have the option to add dormers on hip roofs, which increases the living space too. Gutters can easily be installed as well for better drainage and water control without much need for maintenance.

If you want to get the most function out of your roofing, choose hip roofs.

Hip Roof vs Gable Roof: The Verdict

Both options have their pros and cons, so it’s best to choose the one that suits your needs and preferences the most!

Use a gable roof if your priorities include low costs, easy construction/installation, and big attic space. It’s also a good option if you prefer a simple and more basic design for your house.

Use a hip roof if you live in an area with lots of snowfall and strong winds. Consider this one if you have a complex architectural plan with specific design elements in mind too.

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