The Benefits of Different Roof Pitches
Roof pitches add visual interest to your home. Lower roof pitches are common among Mid-Century modern, modern, and urban designs. However, steep roof pitches are often found on the sharp peaks of a Victorian home. Looks aside, each roof pitch type has its own benefits and drawbacks. Discover exactly what roof pitch is and why it matters to better understand the importance of this critical roofing element.
Roof Pitch Defined
Roof pitch, also commonly referred to as slope, is based on the number of inches the roof rises vertically across 12 inches of horizontal space. There are two ways to measure a roof’s pitch: from the top of the roof or bottom of the rafter.
To measure from the top of the roof, grab a level and mark it at 12 inches. Keep it balanced while measuring the distance from the level to the surface of the roof. To measure from the bottom of the rafters, place the end of a level against the underside of a roof rafter in the attic. Holding it level, measure vertically from the 12-inch point to the underside of the rafter.
Importance of Roof Pitch
The slope is one of the most important elements of a roof. Pitch has a major influence on how water and debris roll off the roof’s surface. It also affects wind shear and the degree of difficulty roofing contractors have in performing repairs and replacement. For more on each point, consider the following:
- Water/debris collection: The steeper the slope, the more gravity helps water, leaves, and debris slide down the roof. Flatter roofs can retain moisture and debris.
- Wind damage: Steeply sloped roofing typically experiences increased wind shear. This can put the shingles at higher risk of damage during storms. Lower roof pitches can offer more protection from wind damage.
- Repair costs: Steepy sloped roofs can be more difficult to repair or replace. This is because of additional required support structures, materials, and labor because they present a higher safety risk.
- Material selection: The slope of the roof also affects the type of roofing materials that can be used. Roofs with low pitches aren’t well suited for certain tiles and shingles while roofs with the steepest pitches can’t handle heavy materials.
Common Roof Pitch Types
Roof slopes are expressed in the number of inches the roof rises per 12 inches it runs. For example, if a roof rises six inches for every 12 inches, it would have a 6-in-12 pitch or a 6/12 pitch. Common roof slopes can be broken down into the following four categories:
- Steep slopes, with a pitch of 9-in-12 or higher, typically require additional fasteners and added labor costs. Some common materials include wood, slate, and asphalt.
- Medium slopes have a pitch of 4-in-12 to 9-in-12, with 6-in-12 being the most common roof pitch. These roofs offer a combination of adequate runoff and easy access. Common roofing materials include membrane-style roofing, asphalt shingles, tile, wood, slate, and metal.
- Low slopes range from 1-in-12 to 4-in-12 and require added maintenance to prevent leaking.
- Flat roofs, although they still have a slight angle, typically have a pitch between 0.5-in-12 to 1-in-12. Common roofing materials include tar and gravel, membrane-style roofing, or standing seam metal.
Experienced professionals can provide exact measurements and expert recommendations for the best roofing materials for your home’s roof slope. Whether you’re considering a roof replacement, or you need repairs, working with a reputable roofing contractor like Carroll Bradford ensures you’ll get the most return on your investment and life out of your roof. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a consultation.