As a framer, I enjoy cutting and stacking a hip roof more than any other roof design. It's very satisfying to precut all the different pieces—commons, hips, and jacks—and have them fit perfectly when they are all put together. In this article I will outline the basic principles for framing a regular (equal-pitch) hip roof, including how to lay out the hip and precut the jacks. The methods I use are derived from production techniques. I like to save time by figuring out and cutting as much as possible on the ground before climbing up on the plates to stack the roof. This means the order of calculating and cutting may not be the same order as stacking, but it saves time overall. I also keep an eye on how all the pieces will go together as I cut. The jack layout, for example, will affect the sheathing layout, and I try to think that through at the outset so I'm not left with a lot of extra sheathing cuts.
There are a couple of ways to lay out a hip roof at the ridge: with single cheek cuts or double cheek cuts. I prefer to run king commons off the end of the ridge and cut double cheek cuts on the hips, as shown in the photo at left. Especially when we set 4-by or 6-by LVL hips using a forklift, it is easier to drop the hip into a nice pocket...
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