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HIP Home > Tips > Architectural Tips >


Built to last

Four-Square is a term that means solid and trustworthy and four-square houses were built to be just that. They are, as the name implies, square. The compact, square footprint was designed to make the best use of a small lot. Hipped roofs — peaked in all four directions — are a typical feature of your four-square home. Most of them also featured a porch that ran the full length of at least one side of the house. The houses are either single-storied with a spacious attic or built with four-square rooms stacked on top of three rooms and an entrance hall.

Taking care of your windows

The maintenance issues facing you as the owner of a Four-Square house are the same as those facing the owners of any home of a similar age. The one exception might be dormer windows. As the building settles, a normal process of aging or the result of seismic activity, the joints between dormers and the roof may open enough to allow small, and often unnoticeable leaks. The noticeable leaks are best because you fix them quickly. The tiny cracks that don't get caulked or tarred right away are the ones that cause mildew and rot in your attic beams.


The biggest challenge you may confront with your Four-Square building is remodeling. If your lot is large enough for an addition or if you decide to expand the kitchen or some other downstairs room, you'll have to find an architect with experience in your type of home. Additions that don't conform to the sturdy lines and hipped roof of the original detract from both the look and the value of the home.
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