We recently discussed open and closed valleys in our blog series where we described what they are and how they pertain to your sloped roof. In this Professional Roofers blog piece, we have decided to cover the hips and ridges of your roof. If you remember from our valleys piece, a roof valley is the concave joint or angle created when two sloping roof planes meet.
Think of the centre point in the letter “M” and you’ll have an idea of what this is. Well, hips are the yin to the valley’s yang – they are the convex angle or joint when two sloping roofs meet. Ridges are similar to roof hips in that they are convex joints or angles; however, they refer only to the uppermost peak formed along a roof where two opposing sloped roofs meet. If you’re having trouble visualizing a roof ridge, think of two flat cards that are leaning against each other – the long horizontal joint where they meet at the top is the ridge. Any other convex angle joints created by two roof slopes that do not run horizontal to the ground along the uppermost part of a home are the “hips”.
Some roofs only have ridges, while some roofs only have hips on them, and other roofs have a combination of ridges, hips, and/or valleys. Whether or not your roof has these elements is truly down to the overall size of your home and the design preferences of your architect. The houses where all sides slope downwards are called “hip roofs”. If you would like to visualize what a basic hip roof might look like, imagine a cube that has been sliced through diagonally so that there is only one pointy edge at the top where all sides meet. If you were to take that halved cube and place it on top of a tiny house as its roof, that would create the same style as a traditional square hipped roof, looking quite similar to a pyramid.
A hipped roof has no straight, vertical sides to the roof – all sides have some degree of slope, although these slopes usually aren’t too steep. This style of roof does tend to have fascia at a constant level as well, making water collection easy, as eavestroughs can run all the way around a roof.
On shingled roofs, there are also shingles made specifically for hips and ridges in order to ensure optimal weather protection in these exposed regions. If you would like an idea of what these specialty cap shingles look like, check out our g+ page for some examples. These specialty cap shingles are stronger than normal shingles, laminated, and oftentimes double-layered or folded for extra strength.
Since heat flows upward, and the ridge is the highest point of any sloped-roof home, many homes also have specially made vents placed along their ridges in order to remove excess heat from attic spaces. We’ll talk more about these vents in our next blog post about home ventilation and the common vents used in residential homes. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed learning all about the ridge and hips of your home, and feel a little more knowledgeable for the next time you have to speak with a roofer or contactor. Until next time, Toronto!