What Is a Hip Roof?

By Amanda Lutz Updated March 15, 2024

Hip roofs are one of the most common roof styles in American home design. A hip roof is any roof where all the sides of the roof slope downward from the highest point or ridgeline. A hip roof simplifies the construction process because all the structural walls under the roof are the same height, and hip roofs are easy to assemble and offer long-term durability. Learn more about hip roofs, including different styles and the benefits and drawbacks, in our guide below. 


What Are Hip Roofs?

Hip roofs can be simple or complex. The core characteristics of this roof are that all four sides slope downward and the walls of the building are the same height as each other. Many hip roof styles can complement your design aesthetic or work for your climate.

Two key pieces of terminology are important when discussing hip roofs: the ridge, which is the topmost edge of the roof (though some designs have a point), and the hips, where two downward-sloping faces of the roof meet.


Hip Roof vs. Gable Roof

The most common alternative to a hip roof is the gable roof. Gable roofs have an A-shaped design, with two sides sloping down from the ridge. 

Because gable roofs have only two sides, some walls will be taller than others, climbing upward at a triangular point until they meet the ridgeline. An easy trick to determine if a structure has a hip roof or a gable roof is to count how many “main” sides the roof has—if there’s a front and back, it’s a gable; if there’s a roof on all four sides, it’s a hip roof.

Hip roofs offer these key benefits over a gable roof:

Gable roofs also offer unique advantages, including the following:


Benefits of Hip Roofs

Architects and homeowners may choose hip roofs for their curb appeal and functionality. Hip roofs offer an elegant design, wind resistance, and other benefits.


Drawbacks of Hip Roofs

There are some drawbacks to hip roofs to consider before making a decision for a construction project or home purchase. Common drawbacks include the following:


Types of Hip Roofs

When you buy a home with a hip roof, it’s likely to be in great condition for years to come, no matter the hip roof style. Consider these five popular types of hip roofs.

Cross-Hipped

A cross-hipped roof tells you just as much about the shape of the building as the style of the roof. If you have an L-shaped or U-shaped building with a cross-hipped roof, multiple hip roofs come together where each leg of the home connects. These roofs have a standard hip design but feature more faces to accommodate all the vertical faces (or walls) of the home.

Dutch Gable

A Dutch gable roof has elements of both a gable and a hip roof. It’s a gable style around the roof peak, but the outer edges of the roof transition into hips. This is a popular choice for homes with a smaller second story or homes with a gable roof and a covered wraparound porch.

Half-Hipped

Half-hipped roofs are the opposite of Dutch gable roofs. Rather than being gabled on top and hipped toward the bottom, half-hipped roofs are hipped at the top and then transition into a gable roof. 

These homes look similar to the standard A-frame profile from the side, but a hipped roof hangs over the top half of that “A” shape. As a result, the walls aren’t all the same height around the home, and some of the walls don’t continue up to a point. Instead, the tallest walls end in a trapezoidal shape.

Hip and Valley

Hip-and-valley roofs are similar to cross-hipped roofs. The layout of the home influences this type of roof. If the building is mostly rectangular but has extensions or rooms coming off it, those extensions will be covered by either hipped or gabled portions. 

Rather than the roof sloping downward in a simple arrangement of planes, there are more “valleys” and complexities in the shape of the roof with the addition of small hips or small gable sections. The roof and gutters must be designed to account for water flow, and maintaining this type of roof can be a challenge because of the different surfaces and angles.

If your current home has a hip roof and you’re considering an extension or addition, the architect may modify your hip roof into a hip-and-valley style.

Simple Hip

A simple hip roof is one with only four sides and a single peak, without the added faces or complexities of a cross-hipped or hip-and-valley style. Most hip roofs have a top ridge rather than extending up to a single point.

If you’re building new structures on your property, such as a detached garage or a shed, the best hip roof style is likely a simple hip. Its simplicity makes construction fast and cost-effective.


Our Recommendation

Both hip roofs and gable roofs are popular roofing styles that can protect your home and give your property a beautiful aesthetic. Hipped roofs offer benefits such as wind resistance, ease of construction, and durability. There are many hipped roof styles you can choose to fit the needs of your home and style, and many buildings include elements of both hip and gable roof types. 

We recommend working with roofers and architectural experts if you’re building a new structure on your property. If you’re searching for a new home, consider the weather in your area so you choose a roof that protects against wind or snow as needed.


Hip Roof FAQ

What are the disadvantages of a hip roof?

The disadvantages of a hip roof include more expensive construction, less attic space, and more vulnerability to snow damage. Because hip roofs have more surface area, they can also be more expensive to reshingle.

What is the purpose of a hip roof?

The purpose of a hip roof is to be a durable, self-bracing alternative to gable roofs. The design means the planes of the roof lean against each other, resulting in longer-lasting support.

What’s the difference between a hip and a gable roof?

The difference between a hip and a gable roof is the structural design. Gable roofs have an A-shape design with two roof faces, and the building’s walls must be of different heights. A hip roof has four primary faces that meet at the top ridgeline, and the building walls under the roof are the same height.

Is a hip roof expensive?

A hip roof can be expensive. According to Angi data, a hip roof can cost between $24,000 and $36,000. They generally cost more than gable roofs, which cost an estimated $7,000–$20,000. The full cost differs based on the complexity, pitch, roofing materials, and size.

What are some common types of hip roofs?

Some common types of hip roofs include cross-hipped roofs, hip-and-valley roofs, and simple hip roofs. Each of these types is suited to different home layouts. Cross-hipped roofs are best for L-shaped and U-shaped homes, while hip-and-valley roofs accommodate homes with protrusions and additions. Simple hip roofs work best on square or rectangular homes.