What’s Roof Pitch and Why Does It Matter?

Did you know that some of the most common construction-related problems are as a result of roofing issues?

Roofing problems not only result in numerous delays but it also increases the cost of your construction project.

If you’re currently looking to do roof repairs or construct a new building or home there are a few things you should know to ensure your project is problem-free.

One way to ensure this is to decide on the right roof pitch.  

But what exactly is roof pitch? And how important is it?

Here is some information that will ensure you make the right roofing choice for you.

Understanding Roof Pitch

Roof pitch is a common term used in roofing. It is also sometimes referred to as the slope of the roof. It basically determines how steep or flat a roof is. 

There are various types of roof slope including gable, lean-to, M-shaped, gambrel, and butterfly.

How to Calculate Roof Pitch?

‘How to measure roof pitch?’ You may be asking.

It is usually expressed in terms of ’12 inches’. It is determined by the number of inches the slope rises vertically for every 12 inches it extends horizontally.

Example: a roof that rises four inches for every 12-inch horizontal span has a 4-in-12 pitch or 4/12 or a 4-pitch.

A standard roof pitch falls between the range of 4/12 and 9/12. Low slope roofs have a slight angle and are lower than 4/12. Pitches less than 2/12 are considered flat roofs, despite being slightly angled. Steep slope roofs are highly-angled and have pitches above 9/12.

Deciding on the Slope

The roof slope is usually determined by the type of building. Commercial buildings usually have low slope roofs while higher slopes can be found on residential structures.

There is no hard and fast rule. It really depends on your needs, your budget and your preference.

Weighing the advantages and disadvantages of both options may be the best way to decide.

Advantages of High Slope Roofs

Here are some advantages of using high slope roofs:

  • Its peak/triangular shape allows water from rain or snow to drain/run-off quickly. This ensures water doesn’t pool on the roof’s surface which reduces roof leakage.
  • There is additional space to create a loft or large attic for storage. The extra space can be used for air-conditioning units, heating, and ventilation.
  • They stand up to roof punctures better than flat roofs. Debris punctures are usually less problematic for residential structures.
  • It requires less maintenance.

Disadvantages of High Slope Roofs

  • The cost of installation is high because more materials are required.
  • Construction takes longer and is more disruptive, especially if construction is taking place while the building is occupied.
  • Additional tools are required for inspections, repairs and maintenance, so there’s an increase in costs for these services.

Advantages of Low Slope Roofs

  • Repairs, cleaning and inspections are easier to facilitate as it’s easier to manoeuvre on a flatter roof.
  • Installation is faster and less disruptive, which means the structure can be worked on while occupied.
  • Fewer materials required, simpler design. Both of which are reflected in the price and shorter installation time.
  • Can be used for an outdoor area like a green roof or recreation area.

Disadvantages of Low Slope Roofs

  • They may have problems with water pooling in certain areas.
  • This means more preventative maintenance is required to prolong the life of the roof and prevent damage.
  • It usually needs to be replaced frequently.
  • Flatter roofs are less energy efficient as they lose more heat which increases energy bills.

The Ideal Roof 

How do you choose the ideal pitched roof? Familiarize yourself with the advantages and disadvantages of both and consult a professional.

They will not only ensure you choose the best roof pitch for your home or business, but they will ensure that it adheres to the minimum and maximum pitch codes required.

We can help. Contact us for your roofing needs.

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