Understanding Roof Pitch (And What It Means for Your Roof)
If you want to talk about function meeting form, and perfectly showcasing the best of both, you should be talking about your roof. First and foremost, it keeps your home dry and safe from storm or water damage. It also helps create strength in the structure of the house.
Your roof can make your home stand apart from the rest of the houses in the neighborhood, depending on not only material and shape but height and pitch.
What does the pitch of your roof mean for your home?
What is Roof Pitch?
A roof pitch is, put simply, a measurement of how steep your roof is. Most homes have a point or crest at the top of their roof, or several, depending on the complexity of their home's design.
Typically, contractors measure roof pitch from valley to ridge. Sometimes, different parts of the roof have different roof pitches.
Why Does Roof Pitch Matter?
Different roof pitches aren't chosen strictly for aesthetic purposes. They serve distinct goals, and contractors utilize different angles for various reasons.
It Affects the Materials You Need
Modern roofing materials are relatively universal, and technology means that most materials can survive many climates. This variety also means that several materials can work well on varied roof pitches. But that doesn't mean that we don't have our favorites.
For steep roofs, we always recommend concrete or clay tiles. Steep roofs are often more expensive than low ones due to extra materials and specialty building techniques. Clay tile roofs can last a lifetime. They're also notoriously weatherproof, meaning repairs and replacements are seldom needed.
Asphalt shingles are improving in quality, though they are still the cheapest option. With proper underlayment, shingles can be an excellent material for steep roof pitches.
Very shallow roof pitches can benefit from more membrane-like materials, such as built-up roofs and PVC membranes. These are simple to lay and are lightweight.
It Fights the Effects of Weather and Climate
An actual flat roof is extraordinarily rare because pooling water can result in catastrophic damage to your home. Steeper roofs mean water is less likely to pool.
It's not just rainwater you need to worry about. In Northern Arizona, you're no stranger to snow and hail. Sure, the snow is usually dry and relatively light, but we've seen our fair share of blizzards.
Even fluffy snow can get heavy. Steep roof pitches are more structurally sound and can hold more weight. They also help snow slide off the roof as it melts.
How to Measure Roof Pitch
It's usually something that your roofing contractor will do, but the angle of your pitch is still good to know. The more in tune you are with your home, the better.
Pitch is a reasonably simple ratio calculated by height over length. In roofing terms, we determine this through the equation:
Pitch = Rise/Run
Rise refers to how tall the roof is from valley to ridge, and run refers to how far across it is from valley to ridge.
We only need to find the pitch's angle, not the whole roof's area. So instead of measuring across the entire house, the pitch is measured in inches. We can break it down into how many inches the roof rises for every 12 inches it runs across.
For example, every 12 inches of run, the roof rises 6 inches. We'd call that roof 6 in 12 or a 6/12 roof pitch.
Low vs. Steep
Again, different roof pitches are better for different climates and partially determine which materials you'll use.
Low Roof Pitches
Generally, anything from 0/12 to 5/12 is considered a low roof pitch. Even buildings we perceive as having a completely flat roof are at least 1/12, so any water can get directed to the gutters or drainage system.
Steep Roof Pitches
Roofs 6/12 and over are considered steep. Again, these are often more expensive and serve a specific aesthetic. However, these roofs can be more desirable depending on the climate and your budget.
Legacy Roofing Has You Covered
Whatever your home looks like, or whatever you want it to look like, Legacy Roofing can make it happen. We'll guide you through what works best for your dreams and budget. Whether you desire Spanish-style tiles or a modern, metal facade, we'll help you find the pitch of your roof and decide the best next steps.
Reach out today for a roofing estimate from Legacy.