In the recent FH there is an article about framing a hip roof. I hope the readers realize that most of these articles are about technique and don’t address structural issues. Being an architect in the Gulf Coast area with high wind speeds, we are always keenly aware of framing issues. I noticed the author likes to have the hip at the same depth as the rafter. Most codes requires the hip to be at least one size deeper, however framers I talk to don’t realize that a hip is really a sloped beam with tapered tributary area of dead and live loads. In sizing a hip correctly a framer has two choices, size the hip as a beam from the wall plate to the ridge, or add a beam in the ceiling joists with a sub column up to the hip to reduce the span. For example in our area the max. hip span using a # 2 pine, 2 x 12 hip on a 7/12 pitch is 13.4 ft, or 9′ 6″ from each corner. So the room can’t be wider then 19′ using a 2 x12 hip with a 7/12 roof pitch. Pitch does effect the hip size. If the hip was in a horizontal plane, it would be considered a diagonal beam, tilt the beam and it becomes a hip, still supporting vertical loads.
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