How to Frame a Hip Roof

How to Frame a Hip Roof

Roof Framing Made Easy


The most popular roof is the hip roof design. Hip roofs add architectural lines to the design of any house. It also offers more structural protection from the wind. And if it has an extended overhang it offers protection from sun glare.

Hip roofs have more structural integrity than a gable roof because the roof load is distributed to all four corners of the walls of the structure. In addition, it is much easier to paint and maintain a house without tall gable ends.

Learning how to frame a hip roof is more complex than a gable roof. In addition to a ridge board and common rafters as a gable roof has a hip roof has hip rafters and jack rafters. Not all hip roofs have a ridge board. If the building is a perfect square with all four walls the same length there is no ridge and the roof will be shaped like a pyramid.

When cutting the common, hip, and jack rafters, their lengths can be determined by using a calculator or a rafter table. The length of the ridge is determined by subtracting the width of the

building from its length. For example, if the building is 60 x 30 feet, the ridge will be 20 feet in length. If the ridge board is a standard 2x (1 and 1/2 inch thick), 1 and 1/2 inches must be added to the ridge length. This is necessary because all the common rafters are shortened half the thickness of the ridge board or ¾ of an inch. This allows the top of the common rafters to line up with the top of the ridge at each end.

How to Build a Hip Roof:

Always start framing a hip roof with the

common rafters first. This will locate the ridge in its proper position. This part of the roof is framed just like a gable roof.

Begin by nailing the common rafters on one side of the ridge at each end then raise the ridge and nail two rafters on the other side of the ridge opposite the first two rafters.

Stand the ridge up so the birdsmouth cuts pull in tight to the walls on each side of the building. Nail the rafters to the wall in their corresponding position in relation to the ridge. They will lock the ridge in its exact location.

Install the rest of the common rafters and nail them to the wall and ridge board.

How to Frame a Hip Roof

Now the fun begins with installing the hip and jack rafters.

The jacks and hip rafters are nailed on the outside corners of the buildings walls and at the intersection made by the end and first common rafters where they meet at the ridge.

With the hip rafters in place the jack rafters can be installed. Before nailing on the first jack rafter, a string should be run from the plumb cut on the hip rafter to just above the birdsmouth. This is a vital step in hip roof construction. The string is attached by driving a nail in the center of the hip where it is attached to the end of the ridge board and hip rafter. Tie the string to a nail then pull it tight and secure it to the other nail at the end of the hip rafter. The string will ensure the hip rafter stays straight without bowing in or out during the jack rafter installation. As the jacks are nailed in place the string should be kept at the center of the hip rater.

To help keep the hip rafter straight the jack rafters should be installed in pairs, first one side of the hip, then on the opposite side. Continue this process all the way down the hip rafter until all the jacks are installed on both sides of the hip. Remove the string and repeat this procedure on the remaining three hips

Now all that is left is installing the collar ties and fascia boards before the roof sheathing is installed and shingled. That is how to frame a hip roof.

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