Hip Roof vs Gable Roof

June 11th, 2024
Low angle photo of a gable roof with the blue sky in the background

“Gable roofs are easily identified by their triangular shape, while hip roofs have all sides sloping down to the walls, making these two types of roofs distinctly unique in their appearance and functionality.”

Choosing the right roof style is more than just a quick pick based on aesthetics; it’s a calculated decision that factors in the type of structure, the geographical location, and even personal preference.


In this post, we are going to deep dive into the world of gable and hip roofs, unpacking their unique strengths, potential drawbacks, and various practical considerations. We’ll explore applications for each roof type, providing insights to help guide your decision-making process.

Gable roof with blue sky and clouds behind it

The Gable Roof: Going Beyond the Triangular Shape

Perhaps the most recognizable type of roof, the gable roof is distinguished by its classic triangular shape formed by two pitched or sloped sides meeting at the top ridge. These roofs, also known as pitched or peaked roofs, are prevalent throughout the United States and favored for their aesthetic appeal and practical construction.  


Gable Roof Variations


Subcategories of the gable roof expand on the classic roof design, offering variations to suit different architectural styles and functional needs.


  • Box gable roof: gives the traditional design a twist with a boxed-in triangle at the top.
  • Open gable roof: as its name suggests, leaves the upper end of the triangle open. If you are looking for versatility this is a great option.
  • Dutch gable roof: combines elements of both the hipped roof and gable styles in a hybrid design.
  • Cross gable roof: features two or more gable roof lines intersecting at an angle, often seen in homes with different wings.



Key Advantages


Despite their iconic triangular shape and extensive variations, gable roofs aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. A key advantage to this roof type is its steep slope, ideal for heavy snow or rain, as it allows for quick runoff. Its design also requires fewer building materials, making it a relatively cost-effective choice. However, this comes with prominent caveats.


While its triangular shape has a resemblance to the gambrel roof, a key differentiator is the gabled roof’s pitched sides that improve resilience under weight loads. The attic space offered under a gable roof can serve as additional storage space, adding to its appeal.



Potential Disadvantages


Gable roofs may not hold up well under high wind or hurricane-like conditions due to their distinct triangular shape that presents a larger surface area for winds to impact. Moreover, the construction of gable roofs can be quite complex, leading to potential issues if not executed properly, such as needing additional bracing to prevent collapsing.


Expert advice from a professional roofing contractor can ensure your gable roof is built to withstand the test of time, weather, and structural rigors.  


areal view of a dark hipped roof

The Details of a Hip Roof

If the gable roof is a classic in American architecture, the hip roof comes in as a sophisticated alternative. Highlighted by their four sides that all slope downwards toward the walls, hip roofs exhibit an elegant symmetry that contributes to their aesthetic appeal.


Hip Roof Variations


Much like the gable roof, hip roofs come in many variations that cater to different architectural tastes and functional demands.  

  • Simple hip roof: as the name suggests, is the most uncomplicated and straightforward structure.
  • Half-hip roof: also known as a jerkinhead roof, combines the best of both gable and hip designs.
  • Cross-hipped roof style: features a more complex system of intersecting hip roofs.
  • Pyramidal hip roof: takes the inherent symmetry of hip roofs to the next level with equal-length sides that converge at a singular point.


Key Advantages


Hip roofs bring to the table a blend of versatility, aesthetic appeal, and durability. The inward slope of all four sides makes them sturdier and more wind-resistant than gable roofs. Their design allows for eaves all around the house, providing shade from the sun while preventing gutters from filling with snow in cooler climates.


Their design easily integrates with porch or garage doors. They typically offer smaller attic spaces compared to gable roofs but can still provide a good amount of comfortable and practical interior space.  


Potential Disadvantages


Hip roofs are more difficult and time-consuming to construct due to their complexity. This roof type typically requires more roofing materials which can be more expensive than a gable roof.


As with any construction project, the key to a well-built hip roof lies in its execution. Qualified roofing contractors from trusted companies like Leverage Roofing can guide you through the process, ensuring your hip roof not only looks stunning but also stands strong against the elements.  


Blue infographic for Leverage Roofing outlining differences between gable and hip roofs

Gable Roof vs. Hip Roof: Which One Fits Your Structure Best?

Having dissected the features of gabled roofs and hip roofs independently, it’s now time to put them side by side, creating a direct comparison that could prove instrumental when making your roofing choice.  


Aesthetic Appeal


Gable Roof: 

  • Features a classic, ubiquitous appeal with its iconic triangular shape

Hip Roof: 

  • Flaunts a sophisticated, symmetrical form that adds a touch of elegance




Gable Roof:

  • Straightforward build leading to lower costs
  • Creates functional attic space due to its steep pitch
  • Promotes easy water runoff but might not resist strong winds well

Hip Roof:

  • Complex construction, using more materials and hence, more expensive
  • Stable and high wind resistance due to the inward slope of all roof sides
  • Smaller attic space compared to gable roofs


Roof Pitch


Gable Roof:

  • Generally steeper, allowing easy snow or rain runoff
  • Not as wind-resistant

Hip Roof:

  • Pitch offers added wind resistance
  • The high pitch might be regulated by local building codes




Gable Roof:

  • Ideal for structures where cost efficiency is important, and wind resistance is not a major concern

Hip Roof:

  • Fit for high-end buildings where aesthetic appeal takes precedence, or in windy areas where a sturdy roof is crucial


Each building project is unique, and personalized advice from a professional roofing contractor will match your preferences with the best industry practices. Now that we’ve closely examined gable and hip roofs, it’s time to understand how working with an experienced company like Leverage Roofing gives you a dynamic edge when constructing your entire roof.  


professional roofer in his working environment with tools of the trade

The Leverage Roofing Advantage: Ensuring a Perfect Roof

Having armed yourself with robust knowledge about gable and hip roofs, the next logical step is partnering with a roofing company that can help to navigate your ideas into reality – and that’s where Leverage Roofing comes into play.


Leverage Roofing is not just another local roofing company; our standards stem from a deep-seated commitment to providing our clients with the best roofing solutions. Whether you are looking at asphalt shingle roofing, metal roofing, or exploring options for commercial roofing, you’ll find a dedicated team ready to listen, guide, and deliver. Some of the factors that set us apart include:


  • Roofing Expertise: Whether it’s a gable roof with a steep pitch or a complex hip roof, our skilled team meshes expertise with dedication to give your project the wings it needs.
  • Direct Commercial or Home Insurance Support: Often, dealing with insurance companies can be a daunting task. That’s why we’re here to guide you through the process, working directly with your insurance company for claim-related damage.
  • Workmanship & Excellence: Detailing is crucial in roofing, and no detail is too small for us. For us, it’s not about just getting the job done; it’s about getting it done right.
  • Additional services: Besides commercial and residential roofing, we offer services encompassing seamless gutters, siding, and pressure washing.
  • Dedicated Aftercare: We believe our relationship with you extends beyond the project completion. We stay available to answer any queries and help with future maintenance or repairs.


Given the complexity of roof shape and the impact it has on the structural integrity and aesthetic appeal of your space, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. Leverage Roofing stands ready to work with you in turning your roofing visions into a reality. Your dream structure deserves the best, and we’re here to deliver just that.  


If you are considering a new roof or want more information on our services, reach out to our team.