Working out a roof hip might sound like a complex mathematical puzzle, but fear not! As a civil engineer, you can master this skill and use it to create well-designed and structurally sound roofs. In this blog, we’ll break down the process of working out a roof hip in simple terms, providing examples along the way.


A roof hip is a fundamental element in roofing design. It’s where two roof sections meet at an external angle, creating a ridge-like structure. Hips are common in houses with gabled roofs, as they occur where the roof slopes meet at the corners. Whether you’re planning a new roof or making renovations, understanding how to work out a roof hip is crucial.

Step 1: Measure the Roof

The first step is to measure the roof sections that meet at the hip. Imagine you’re working on a rectangular house with a gabled roof. Measure the length and width of the building, including overhangs.

Step 2: Calculate the Pitch

The pitch of a roof is the slope or steepness of the roof. To calculate it, you’ll need the rise (vertical height) and the run (horizontal length). The rise is usually determined by the height of the ridge, and the run is half the width of the building.

Pitch = Rise / Run

For example, if the rise is 4 feet, and the run is 10 feet:

Pitch = 4 / 10 = 0.4 (or 4:10)

Step 3: Determine the Hip Length

The hip length is the distance along the hip line where the two roof sections meet. To calculate it, you can use the Pythagorean theorem, which states that in a right-angled triangle, the square of the length of the hypotenuse (the side opposite the right angle) is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides.

Hip Length = √(Rise² + Run²)

Using the previous example:

Hip Length = √(4² + 10²) = √(16 + 100) = √116 = 10.77 feet (approximately)

Step 4: Cutting and Framing

Once you’ve calculated the hip length, you can cut the rafters accordingly. The rafters that meet at the hip should be cut at the appropriate angle to fit together seamlessly. This angle is determined by the pitch you calculated earlier.


Working out a roof hip involves measuring, calculating the pitch, determining the hip length, and making precise cuts. It’s a crucial skill for civil engineers and roofers alike, ensuring that roofs are not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing. With practice and attention to detail, you can master the art of roof hip calculations and create well-crafted roofs.


As a civil engineer and roofer, I love to share the experience that I have gained through the last couple of years. In the roofing industry, practical experience is a very crucial fact that can help you a lot. Hence, I want to help you with my blog.

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