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cittyguy 05-23-2009 03:39 PM

Hip roofs and hurricanes
I am looking for a fixer-upper in Charleston, South Carolina (think hurricanes and storms). The house I have my eye on has a hip roof. This roof is definitely less aesthetically pleasing than the gable-end roofs around it. I still like the house, though, and understand that the hip roof is supposed to be better at withstanding high winds than gable-ended roofs presumably because the hip roof offers less for the wind to "grab" than a gable-end roof. Is that right?

I have also read that the ridge vents used in new roofing jobs are often ripped off during strong hurricane winds thereby allowing wind-driven rain a point of entry into the house and that off-ridge vents are less likely to be ripped off a house. Do you have any thoughts on this? Currently the house has NO venting that I can see (built in 1940 - people were tougher in those days, I guess!). Further, the house lacks soffits so venting the attic offers challenges. My home inspector suggested I install two off-ridge vents in the roof, one with a power fan pushing air out of the attic and one pulling air in. Any thoughts on this advice?


ratherbefishin' 05-23-2009 05:44 PM

Ok, two things I've never seen here at ground zero, eastern eyewall, Katrina: 1) a roof, either gable or hip, lifted off the house 2) a ridge vent ripped off the roof, even those cheap metal chicken coop looking things. Tornado, yes, hurricane, no. It's all about proper installation.

As far as the house having no vents, you just might have a jump on the current trend in Florida toward completely sealed attics with cathedral insulation and light colored roof tiles. It's supposed to be more energy efficient than any vented system if done properly.

Look around the neighborhood and see what kind of vents are common there. If you go with soffit and ridge, use a baffled ridge to block water intrusion. I don't agree with power vents unless there's no way to effectively install a passive system. If "cap and trade" passes, you might end up regretting that energy usage:wink:.

Just FWIW, my roof, post Katrina, is 30yr laminate shingles, properly installed for high wind area, with full soffit vents at eaves and ShingleVent II ridge vent. When Gustav blew by us last year we got almost 24 hours of strong tropical storm force wind and problems!:thumbup1:

Gary in WA 05-23-2009 06:37 PM

Two vents like that will move only the air between them. Read this start page 607:,M1

No soffit, one solution: Be safe, G

cittyguy 05-23-2009 07:38 PM

Hip roofs and hurricanes
Thank you for your advice.

Insulating the area immediately under the roof and laying down reflective shingles seems promising. It's interesting that this old house currently has ZERO insulation in the attic. I'm thankful the weather was nice when I was crawling around in the rafters during the inspection! On a bright note, the attic was very dry and all of the rafters looked fantastic. For a house built in 1940 in the humid climate of Charleston, that's saying something about the merits of keeping a closed attic.

This house lacks a place to put soffit vents. The particular vent system suggested seems interesting. I am not quite sure how the ridge venting would work on a hip roof but I have seen a picture of a house with same suggesting it must be possible.

Cheers and any further comments on the subject would be appreciated.

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