A Guide to Roof Pitches

The pitch of a roof might not mean much to a layman nor hold much importance but the fact is that it is important for everyone as people’s lives can get affected by it. Before moving onto the importance of roof pitches and what they do, understanding what exactly a roof pitch is, is important.

What is a Roof Pitch?

The easiest way to put it would be that it is how much a roof is slanted or not. The pitch is the angle of the roof from a horizontal plane.

It is a visible feature of any roof and measures the steepness of a roof. If you go to measure the slope of your roof, you are basically measuring the pitch of the roof.

Measurement of Roof Pitches

In the U.S., the expression of measurement of any roof pitch is in ratio. The first number of the ratio is the angle/degree i.e. how steep it is. The second number corresponds with the first one as this is the run of the roof. The run of the roof is the horizontal span of it against which the angle is measured. As a general roof, the horizontal area is kept at 12” in the U.S.

If you wish to know the pitch of your roof then you can learn how to calculate it by following online tutorials on it. We have a much faster and effective way for you to calculate the roof pitch, simply use our roof pitch calculator which will give you all the details.

Why Do Roof Pitches Exist?

Roofs are made to have a slope to fight off whatever the weather throws at the houses. Steep roofs are built to have the water or snow runoff. Water or snow accumulating at the top of the roof is dangerous for the roof, house, and its inhabitants which is why the roofs are made to have a slope however steep it may be.

Importance of Roof Pitches

It is imperative to have precise region-specific roof pitches that correspond to the climate. Have you heard about the news of roofs collapsing? Not all of them are due to improper roof pitches but many times when roof pitches are not kept according to the weather conditions throughout the year; wrong types of roof pitches can cause the roofs to cave in. Wrongly measured roof pitches can lead to mold, weak roofs, and much worse.

The regions that see heavy snowfall ought to be careful when settling on the roof pitches. Houses that are located in the region where there is heavy snowfall or rainfall have very steep roofs. The authorities and even insurance carriers make general guidelines about the roof pitches of residential houses and commercial buildings.

Groups of Roof Pitches

For the sake of organization, roof pitches can be organized into groups depending on their steepness.

  1. Flat Roof Pitch
    The first thing to clear here is that no roof pitch is completely flat but these are the roofs that have the least height in terms of a slope. Usually, these are the roofs that have only 1 or 2 inches of pitch.
  2. Low-Slope Roof Pitch
    The pitch ranges from 2 to 4 inches and it makes it certainly easy to walk on but it still is not the best fit for houses that suffer severe rainfall or snowfall. The right materials and methods are needed to build the slight pitch of this roof.
  3. Medium-Slope Roof Pitch
    With this pitch, you will easily be able to access your roof whilst it will manage to run off moderate amounts of water and snow. The pitch of the roof can range from 4 inches to 9 inches depending on the builder and what is right for the house.
  4. Steep Slope Roof Pitch
    Any pitch that goes above 9 inches can be grouped under this. These roofs are supported by fasteners and ought to be built only by the experts only as they need very precise measurements and quality materials. They are not easy to walk on hence the maintenance is a bit tricky.

Types of Pitch Roofs

Pitched roofs are ones that have slope or steep to them. Any pitch that is above 12 degrees qualifies the roof to be counted as a pitched roof. Whether you are building your own house or just want information on pitched roofs, you should know that there are types of pitched roofs.

  1. Gable Roof
    You can spot these on every other corner of a street in the U.S. and gabled roofs have their subtypes. Such roofs can easily be spotted because their pitch features a triangular shape. The pitch of the roof is perfect for shedding off water and snow, no matter the amount. They can become problematic in regions that experience hurricanes or strong winds if they are not built properly.
  2. Hip Roof
    You can differentiate a hip roof from the above one as it has a slope on all four sides which is why it is considered to be more stable. Other than being stable, it is perfect to fight against winds, snow, and rain.
  3. Dutch Roof
    Also known as the gambrel roof, it features a symmetrical two-sided roof. The upper slope is built at a shallow angle whilst the lower is kept steep. These should only be built in regions that do not see extreme snowfall or rainfall as they are aesthetic but will not do good under pressure.

Last Word
The measurement and calculation of roof pitches is no small or easy task and should be done with the utmost care. If you can calculate the roof pitch right before starting construction, you will be saving on labor money, material cost, and the most important thing, it will be safe.

We would strongly advise you to consult a professional about this matter and show them your measurements and collaborate with them on the project for your safety and betterment.