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The sloping roofs have been the way to solve the roofs in traditional architecture. The main objective of the roof of a house is to protect it, in its upper part, from the impact of the weather, providing a structure that shelters and conditions the interior spaces of the house. The appearance of flat roofs, which began to be used massively in the last century, was a real revolution for the roofs of the houses.

Although in collective housing buildings and other architectural typologies these flat roofs have progressively displaced the incline, the roofs of two, three and four waters continue to have a strong presence in single-family homes. Either by its ease of execution, with more traditional means, by the bucolic nature of these roofs or by a search for that image of a rural house that evokes the past, this type of roofs continues to have a strong role today. In certain cases, betting on a sloping roof is something more than an aesthetic decision since, by its own geometric configuration, these covers assure us a good behaviour in the face of rain or snow. It is for considering the climatic conditions of the environment in which it is going to be built, where we should start to project the house we want to build, relying on a good technician. The hygrothermal characteristics (temperature and humidity conditions) or the sunlight in the area where we are going to build must be analysed. Although the type of roof to be built can be determined by this analysis, a hip roof will always be a valid solution; we tell you why.

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1- What is a hip roof?

A roof with four waters is one that has four skirts, that is, with four sloping surfaces that descend from the central area of the roof to the four facades of a house. Geometrically, this is the most primary way to cover a square floor with a hip roof. However, afterwards many nuances can be incorporated into the design, starting with whether the skirts meet at the top of the roof in a single point or share a straight edge and, therefore, do not have the same inclination.

2- Advantages of a hip roof

The sloping roofs to four waters have a series of advantages with respect to other types of roofs and, not in vain, it is one of the most popular roof types, with a great tradition in traditional architecture. These covers allow to eliminate the water (of rain and also the snow that can accumulate) by simple gravity, reason why it is very recommendable in climates with high pluviometry or mountainous zones. In addition, having a skirt on all sides, works just as well regardless of what the dominant view is, unlike the sloping pitched roofs, where this issue should be taken into account (as well as the orientation of the house to prevent excessive sunlight).

3- Disadvantages of a hip roof

As disadvantages of these covers with respect to those inclined with two or three waters, it should be noted that their cost is usually higher, since the execution tends to be more complex.

If we compare them with the flat roofs, which are currently used in dry climates, it should be noted that the latter allow a greater use of the surface of the house. The flat roofs can be used as terraces and create an extra space to be used in good weather. Therefore, as the waterproofing systems have been improving, the use of flat roofs has also increased in rainy climates.

4- The roof structure to four waters

As it happens with the walls that compose the facades of the current housing, the normal thing is that also the cover that protects a house is not formed by a single material but that they are formed by house. These elements that make up each deck skirt do not usually serve as the supporting structure of the building but are supported by a system of beams that distribute the load of the roof to the vertical structure of the house. We can find self-supporting roofs in small buildings or low-rise buildings, but the rest usually use a steel structure, concrete or wood for the roof, as it happens for the rest of the enclosures.

5- Types of hip roof

A roof to four waters can use different materials for its surface finish; also, the geometry of these, the inclination of their skirts or the size of their eaves, gives rise to different types of roofs to four waters. Although we use the roof term to refer to any roof, they do not always have to use the ceramic tile, a material, however, traditionally very used.

6- Varied materials

Another material widely used in popular architecture is stone, especially slate, which gives such a characteristic appearance to houses built in this way. If we look for a more modern image, that escapes classic rural architecture, you can also use different metals as roofing material for the sloping roof skirts. From more classic options, such as zinc or aluminium, to more innovative ones, such as titanium. And the same can be applied to the interior space, being able to create really spectacular ceilings.

7- Construction of the roof

Building a sloping roof is not available to anyone because the roof of a house is so complex that it requires a specialized hand. In the first place, it requires an architect to carry out the project, to calculate the structure of the roof, the inclination of the skirts or the size of the eaves and prescribe the proper composition of the same. Second, the workforce must be professional, so that the execution ensures a perfect seal that prevents future leaks or humidity.

8- How to make it yourself

It is possible that what we are looking for is a simple four-sided covering, for example, for a small garden pavilion. In those cases we can resort to a simple structure (aluminium or laminated wood, etc.) that ensures protection from the outside environment, can bet on less hermetic solutions or, even, a glass enclosure like the one we see here.

If you want to renovate your roof or are planning to build a house, contact us!