Understanding The Pitch Of Your Roof

If you ask the vast majority of homeowners' questions pertaining to what they know about their home, most can give you a wide assortment of information. They may be able to tell you the square footage of their home, the year it was constructed, as well as the approximate value of the dwelling. What they probably will not be able to tell you is anything about the roof beyond what material it is constructed from. If you are getting ready to build a new home, or are simply adding a new roof to your existing home, you will need to know the pitch of your roof. This will determine what type of roofing materials you will be able to use and more.

What Is The Pitch Of Your Roof?

The pitch of your roof is simply a measurement of how steep your roof is. This number is usually recorded as the vertical rise divided by the horizontal span. In countries that do not use a metric system, the horizontal span usually defaults to one foot, or 12 inches. You will see this number recorded as 3:12, 5:12, 7:12, etc. If a metric system is being used, this number will usually be denoted as the actual angle of the roof.

Why Is The Pitch Important?

Your roofing pitch has significance for a number of reasons. The pitch will not only indicate how your roof will look on your home, and the materials to be used on your roof, but it will also indicate how quickly rain will drain off your structure. Due to this, and depending on the pitch of your roof, you may require special roofing materials to either help to facilitate the run-off, or to ensure standing water does not impinge the integrity of your roof.

If the pitch of your roof is not adequate for certain types of roofing materials, it reduces the amount of time those roofing materials will hold up. Applying roofing materials to a roof that does not have an adequate pitch for those materials can actually void the warranty on your roof.

What Do The Pitch Or Slope Terms Mean?

The pitch of your roof is often described using one of the following terms

Flat or Low Slope - although these are most commonly found on commercial projects, more homes are using a flat roofing system, especially in conjunction with green or solar roofing projects. Flat roofs are not actually flat, but normally have a pitch of 2:12 and below, while a low slope roof normally measures in at 2-3:12. Most shingle, tile, and even metal roofing materials are not designed to be used on a roof with such a low pitch.

Conventional - these are the roofs seen on your average home. They range from 4:12 to approximately 9:12. A wide array of roofing materials can be used on this type of pitch, but you will want to avoid anything type of material which will roll off, such as pebbles or stones.

High or Steep Pitched - are roofs which measure above a 9:12 in pitch. Although many of your conventional roofing materials may be able to be used, installations at these angles may require additional support, or fasteners. 

How Do You Measure The Pitch Of Your Roof?

Determining the measurements of your existing roof pitch can be slightly tricky, especially if your roof has a lot of peaks and valleys. If your roof already has several layers of shingles, or has clay, or other types of irregular tiles, any measurements you take may be inaccurate.

Taking these measurements are best left to a roofing contractor, or someone who will be comfortable climbing up a ladder, and onto your roof. By allowing a professional roofer to take these measurements, you will know they will be accurate. When they come out to measure your pitch, ask the roofing contractor for their recommendations on the roofing materials which will work best for your specific situation.

Check out sites like http://www.a1everlast.com for more information or help finding a contractor.