Framing failures in wood-frame hip roofs under extreme wind loads

S.A. Stevenson, Gregory Kopp, A.M. El Ansary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
124 Downloads (Pure)


Wood-frame residential roof failures are among the most common and expensive types of wind damage. Hip roofs are commonly understood to be more resilient during extreme wind in relation to gable roofs. However, inspection of damage survey data from recent tornadoes has revealed a previously unstudied failure mode in which hip roofs suffer partial failure of the framing structure. In the current study, evidence of partial framing failures and statistics of their occurrence are explored and discussed, while the common roof design and construction practice are reviewed. Two-dimensional finite element models are developed to estimate the element-level load effects on hip roof trusses and stick-frame components. The likelihood of failure in each member is defined based on relative demand-to-capacity ratios. Trussed and stick-frame structures are compared to assess the relative performance of the two types of construction. The present analyses verify the common understanding that toenailed roof-to-wall connections are likely to be the most vulnerable elements in the structure of a wood-frame hip roof. However, the results also indicate that certain framing members and connections display significant vulnerability under the same wind uplift, and the possibility of framing failure is not to be discounted. Furthermore, in the case where the roof-to-wall connection uses hurricane straps, certain framing members and joints become the likely points of failure initiation. The analysis results and damage survey observations are used to expand the understanding of wood-frame residential roof failures, as they relate to the Enhanced Fujita Scale and provide assessment of potential gaps in residential design codes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number00006
JournalFrontiers in Built Environment
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2018


  • wood-frame structures
  • tornado damage
  • Enhanced Fujita Scale
  • hip roofs
  • finite element modeling
  • degrees of damage
  • residential structures


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