Hip Roof vs Gable Roof: Which One Should You Choose?

Are you building a new home or replacing your old roof and wondering whether to go with a hip roof or gable roof? I’ve been there myself and know how confusing it can be to decide between the two most popular residential roof types.

In this article, I’ll break down the key differences between hip roofs and gable roofs, share my personal experience with both, and help you determine which one is the best fit for your home. Let’s dive in!

What is a Hip Roof?

A hip roof has slopes on all four sides that come together at the top to form a ridge. The sides are all equal in length and pitch, creating a symmetrical shape.

I’ve always loved the clean, streamlined look of hip roofs. My childhood home had one, and I remember thinking it made our house look so tidy and put-together from the outside.

Advantages of Hip Roofs

  • More stable and durable, especially in high wind areas
  • Provide excellent drainage due to the sloping sides
  • Offer more living space under the roof since there are no vertical roof ends
  • Create shady overhangs on all sides of the house
  • Have a classic, understated aesthetic that works well with many architectural styles

Disadvantages of Hip Roofs

  • More expensive to build than gable roofs because of the complex design
  • Require more building materials than a gable roof
  • The seams along the hips can be prone to leaking if not properly installed
  • Provide less attic space and ventilation compared to gable roofs

What is a Gable Roof?

A gable roof is characterized by its triangular shape. It has two sloping sides that meet at the top to form a ridge, while the other two sides are flat vertical ends called gables.

My current home has a gable roof, and I love how much natural light and ventilation it allows into the attic. It’s also a very popular style in my neighborhood.

Advantages of Gable Roofs

  • Simpler design is easier and cheaper to build than a hip roof
  • Allows for more attic space and better ventilation
  • Provides more opportunities for windows on the gable ends
  • The simple design makes it easy to add additions later on
  • Works well with a variety of architectural styles, from traditional to modern

Disadvantages of Gable Roofs

  • Not as stable as hip roofs and more vulnerable to wind damage
  • The gable ends are prone to water leaks if not properly flashed
  • Provides less protection from sun and rain on the gable ends
  • The vertical ends can make the house look boxy and less streamlined

Hip Roof vs Gable Roof: Key Differences

Now that we’ve covered the basics of hip and gable roofs, let’s compare them side by side:

FeatureHip RoofGable Roof
ShapeSloped on all 4 sides2 sloped sides, 2 flat ends
StabilityMore stable, better for high windsLess stable, vulnerable to wind
DrainageExcellent drainage on all sidesGood drainage, but gable ends can collect water
Attic SpaceLess attic space and ventilationMore attic space and better ventilation
CostMore expensive to buildCheaper and simpler to build
AestheticsClean, streamlined lookMore traditional look, can appear boxy
FlexibilityDifficult to add onto laterEasier to add extensions and modifications

Which Roof Style is Right for You?

Choosing between a hip roof and gable roof ultimately comes down to your personal preferences, budget, and the specific needs of your home. Here are some factors to consider:

Climate and Weather

If you live in an area prone to high winds, heavy snowfall, or frequent storms, a hip roof may be the better choice for its added stability and drainage capabilities. Gable roofs are more susceptible to wind damage, especially if the frames are not properly constructed.

When I replaced my roof after a particularly bad storm season, I opted for a hip roof for added peace of mind. It’s held up beautifully through several years of intense weather.

Architectural Style

Hip roofs tend to work better with certain architectural styles like Ranch, Bungalow, and Prairie homes. The streamlined appearance complements the low-profile, horizontal lines of these designs.

Gable roofs, on the other hand, are very versatile and can work with a wide range of styles from Colonial and Cape Cod to Craftsman and Tudor. The triangular gable ends can add visual interest and character to the facade.

Consider the overall style of your home and neighborhood when deciding which roof shape will look best.

Budget and Maintenance

If budget is a top concern, gable roofs are typically cheaper to construct because of the simpler design. Hip roofs are more complex and require more building materials, which adds to the cost.

However, hip roofs may save you money in the long run because of their durability and resistance to wind damage. Gable roofs may require more frequent repairs, especially if the gable ends are not properly maintained.

I’ve found that my hip roof requires slightly less upkeep than my previous gable roof. The simpler shape means fewer crevices for leaves and debris to get stuck in.


Can you have a mix of hip and gable roofs?

Yes, it’s possible to have a combination of hip and gable roofs on the same house. This is often done to create a more unique, custom look or to accommodate different sections of the house.

For example, you could have a hip roof over the main part of the house and gable roofs over the garage or porch. Or you could have a gable roof with small hip sections at the ends for added protection.

Mixing roof styles can be tricky to get right, so it’s best to consult with an experienced architect or roofing contractor.

Which roof style is better for solar panels?

Solar panels can be installed on both hip and gable roofs, but gable roofs offer some advantages. The flat gable ends provide a large, uninterrupted space for mounting panels, which can maximize energy production.

Hip roofs have a more complex shape with smaller facets, which can limit the number and placement of panels. However, hip roofs often have overhangs that can provide some shading for the panels, which can actually improve their efficiency.

If you’re considering solar panels, talk to a professional installer about which roof style would work best for your specific situation.

Are there any variations of hip and gable roofs?

Yes, there are several variations of both hip and gable roofs that can add visual interest or accommodate different design needs. Here are a few examples:

  • Cross gable roof: Has two or more gable roofs that intersect at an angle, creating a more dynamic, multi-dimensional look
  • Dutch gable roof: A hybrid of a hip and gable roof, with a small gable at the top of a hip roof for added height and style
  • Jerkinhead roof (clipped gable): A gable roof with the peaks “clipped” or flattened to create small hip sections at the ends
  • Gambrel roof (barn roof): Similar to a gable roof, but with two slopes on each side – a shallower slope on top and a steeper slope below

These variations offer even more options for customizing the look of your home while still enjoying the benefits of a hip or gable roof.

How long do hip and gable roofs typically last?

The lifespan of a hip or gable roof depends on several factors, including the quality of materials, installation, and maintenance. In general, a properly constructed roof with asphalt shingles can last 20-30 years.

Metal roofs and tile roofs can last even longer, from 40-70 years or more. Standing seam metal roofs are a popular choice for hip roofs because of their durability and sleek appearance.

No matter what type of roof you have, regular inspections and prompt repairs can help extend its lifespan. Be sure to keep gutters clean, trim overhanging branches, and replace any missing or damaged shingles right away.


When it comes down to it, both hip roofs and gable roofs have their advantages and disadvantages. Hip roofs offer better stability and drainage, while gable roofs provide more attic space and are cheaper to build.

As someone who has lived under both types of roofs, I can honestly say that they both have their merits. My hip roof has given me peace of mind during severe storms and I love the shady overhangs in the summer. But I also appreciate the character and charm that my previous gable roof added to my home’s facade.

Ultimately, the right choice for you will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. Consider the climate and weather patterns in your area, the architectural style of your home, and your long-term maintenance goals.

If you’re still unsure, don’t hesitate to consult with a professional roofing contractor or architect. They can assess your home’s unique situation and provide personalized recommendations.

No matter which roof style you choose, investing in quality materials and expert installation will ensure that your roof provides reliable protection and lasting value for years to come.

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