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What is a Roof Pitch?

Your roof pitch, in the simplest terms, is the vertical rise of your rafters.  Pitch is usually expressed as a ratio of the rise and run, where the run is defined as 12. For example, a roof pitch factor of 4/12 will increase 4 feet in height every 12 feet of horizontal distance. A flat roof will have a pitch below 2/12, while a steeper pitch would be 10/12.

So what does your roof’s pitch mean for your house? And is there a normal roof pitch? Read on to find out. 

What is the standard pitch of a roof?

Because roof designs vary wildly, from the flat roof to the steep slopes in gothic style architecture, there is no “standard” pitch. However, the most common slopes have a pitch between 4/12 and 9/12. Roof pitch can have an impact on standard roof maintenance services in the future. 

Different roof pitches offer different pros and cons. A flat roof allows you to walk around on the roof surface safely, and they are generally cheaper to install. They can make a great foundation for an intensive green roof. What is a green roof? A green roof is a roof that utilizes substrate and plants for visual appeal and energy efficiency. However, flat roofs often have drainage issues and aren’t recommended for areas with heavy rain or snowfall. They also require a lot more maintenance than a high pitch roof. 

A low slope roof with a pitch of 4/12 will have a gentle slope that will allow rainwater to run off quickly without causing damage to a shingle roof. This shape of roof is great for areas that have high wind. The lower profile protects your roof from being pulled off during inclement weather. However, like flat roofs, they aren’t the best choice for areas with heavy snowfall. 

A steeper roof with a pitch greater than 8/12 is much better at shedding snow, and provides much more attic space and superior ventilation. However, they are much more vulnerable to high winds, and you may need to install additional support to protect your home from storm damage. They are also much more dangerous to walk on, and you should always contact a professional roofer rather than do anything that requires walking your roof. Understanding your roof pitch can help you make better roofing decisions when considering roofing materials such as metal roofing for your home.

Hip Roof vs Gable Roof

The most common styles of sloped roofs are Hip Roofs and Gable Roofs. They can vary from having a low slope to a very steep slope. So which one is better for your home? First, let’s learn how to tell them apart.

What is a gable roof? A gable roof is the most common style of roofing, recognizable by the two slopes meeting over the triangular gable under the peak. This simple design is especially effective at shedding snow and rainwater, and they provide a lot of attic space for your home. However, they are much more vulnerable to high winds. 

What is a hip roof? A hip roof will have a slope going down each side of your home, and it has a much stronger frame, which can be very helpful in areas with heavy snow and high winds, and it can provide additional protection from falling limbs. However, these roofs are more expensive, and they provide less attic space and ventilation than gable roofs. 

What pitch is my roof?

In order to get a precise measurement of the pitch of your home’s roof, you’ll need to bring a carpenter’s level to your attic. Place the level on the underside of one of the rafters in the attic. Measure the vertical distance from the 12-inch mark on the level to the underside of the rafter you chose. Once you have measured the vertical distance, divide it by 12, and you’ll have your slope. An online roof pitch calculator can simplify the equation for you.

Once you know the pitch of your roof, you’ll be able to calculate your total roof area of multiplying the pitch by the area the roof covers. 

This is essential for knowing how much roofing material you need to order for roof replacement. A professional roofer has the tools and experience to quickly determine the pitch of your roof, and they can install your new roof safely without making any mistakes that can lead to costly damage to your home. 

Commercial and Residential Roofing Done Right

At Preman’s Roofing Solar, we are committed to high-quality service, no matter the size of the job. Whether you need a simple roof inspection,  roof maintenance, or a total tear-off, we will offer you white-glove roofing service, and our prices and appointment times are always guaranteed. From commercial roofing to residential roofing, we have you covered. 

For more questions about your roof pitch, or for a free estimate on our San Diego roofing services, contact us today.