What is Roof Pitch and Why is it Important?

The roof of a house is composed out of several important sections and the roof pitch is one of them. Without a roof, a house or any other kind of construction can’t be considered safe, let alone comfortable and cozy. So, the roof, due to the fact that it is an essential part, was made to serve a purpose and be practical, protecting the structure underneath from the weather, temperature changes, humidity, and winds.

Thus, a roof was not made to look good, but more to provide an adequate level of protection. Getting down to the roof pitch, it is one of the most important parts of a roof, which has numerous implications on how to correctly build a roof.

What is a roof pitch?

What is a roof pitch
What is a roof pitch

The roof pitch is, in simpler terms, the slope of a roof. It actually presents the angle of a roof, dictating how steep a roof is. Of course, the angle begins from a flat or horizontal run. So, yes, there are also flat roofs, where the solution is applicable. How to determine the slope of a roof and why is the roof pitch so important? Well, in areas where there is snowfall during the winter, the slope of a roof is extremely important for all the people inside a house or building.

In this case, if the slope of the roof is not steep enough, the weight of the snow that will gradually accumulate on the roof will represent a significant risk. Under the heavy snow, the roof can break and cause not just damage and injuries, but can also lead to loss of human lives. Still, it is worth knowing that there are standards to respect when it comes to constructing the roof of a house, for example, depending on the geographical area where the roof will be built. So, as a homeowner, you cannot decide the steepness of the roof on your own. But, you can always use a roof pitch calculator to guide you through.

Why does it help for a roof to have a roof pitch?

The snow building scenario was just one example of why a roof pitch is important in the structure of a house. Besides this, the roof pitch will also prevent water from rain to pool on the surface of the house and create a series of issues, like mold or cracks. So, while we are all used to seeing a house with a rather steep roof from when we are kids, the truth is that a roof is built this way out of several good reasons. Considering the slope of a roof, there are several types of roof pitches, each of these types pointing toward a particular type of roofing materials that are most appropriate for the building of the roof.  So, if you are thinking about building a house from ground zero, finding out as much as possible about the best roof pitch in your case is the best way to make sure that your house with being a secure and comfortable one around the year.

The importance of getting the roof pitch right

The importance of getting the roof pitch right
The importance of getting the roof pitch right

While it is true that the aspect of the roof will also influence the looks of a home, there are other things you need to consider when choosing the right roof pitch for your roof. So, in this case, you may wonder which roof pitch is best, a high roof pitch or a flat one. The truth is that it will be a difficult decision, as there will be many aspects influenced by the pitch of a roof. But, generally, roofs with higher pitches are seen as more attractive than flatter roofs. Besides this, higher pitched roofs tend to be much more durable in time, as they are more effective when it comes to allowing water and snow to slide down from the roof, preventing moisture accumulation and water damage.

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Of course, if you will travel in parts of the world where the climate is warm and there’s very little rain throughout the year, with no snow in the winter, you will see that the roofs of the homes there are almost flat. For example, the countries in the Mediterranean area are known for the low pitches of their traditional buildings, as they don’t need to manage too much rainfall. On the contrary, houses built in a mountainous area usually have rather high roof pitches, as the slope of the roof needs to allow snow to slide down before getting too heavy on the roof. So, yes, the climate is a very important factor when it comes to choosing the right roof pitch for your home.

Advantages and disadvantages of both steep and shallow roof pitches

Advantages and disadvantages of both steep and shallow roof pitches
Advantages and disadvantages of both steep and shallow roof pitches

To bring more light into the case and help you make the best decision when it comes to the best roof pitch for your home, let us look into the advantages and disadvantages of both steep and shallow roof pitches. This way, you will be able to make a more informed decision.

A roof with a steep pitch requires low maintenance, so you will have little trouble with this part for as long as you will own a property. This is due to the fact that, together with the water, tree leaves and other debris will slide down the roof’s slope and, in the worst case scenario, will accumulate in the gutter. Thus, the surface of the roof will remain clear and dry at all times. The disadvantages of opting for a steep roof pitch is that it will cost more to build one. When it comes to a high roof pitch, the roof will require a higher quantity of construction materials and will evolve more engineering elements. Of course, they will all have a purpose to play and will help the roof be more secure and well-connected to the mainframe.

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A shallow roof pitch will provide extra space, something that will never be available in the case of a steep roof pitch. Whether you have in plan building an additional room or even a garden on the rooftop, this type of roof pitch will allow you to do so with ease. Another advantage of choosing this kind of roofs is that it will require less financial resources to build one. But, in comparison with the steep roof pitch, a shallow roof pitch will require more maintenance, which will end up consuming the resources you save when building it. Also, depending on the area where you live, the shallow roof pitch may not be a viable option, so, if you include it in your house’s project, it may not get approved. This is due to the fact that a shallow roof pitch is not suitable for areas with plenty of rainfall throughout the year and snowfall in the winter.

How to calculate a roof pitch

How to calculate a roof pitch
How to calculate a roof pitch

You can always use a roof pitch calculator, but it is useful to know a few terms about the correct manner of calculating a roof pitch. The basics of a roof pitch, or roof slope as it is often named, is that for every 12” of length on the horizontal plan of the roof, there will be a certain vertical rise, as well in inches. This particular rise will determine the type of the roof’s slope, meaning that it will higher or lower. Thus, the formula for a roof pitch will be x/12, the “x” representing the inches of vertical rise per every 12 inches of length on the horizontal plan of the roof. Having this aspect in mind, there are flat roofs, with a roof pitch of 2/12; roofs with low slopes, with pitches between 2/12 and 4/12; conventional roof slopes with pitches between 4/12 and 9/12; and steep roof slopes, with pitches of 9/12 or even higher.

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When it comes to costs, it is worth knowing that opting for a steep roof pitch can considerably increase the construction costs of the roof. Just how expensive can a steep roof pitch get? Well, if you are interested in constructing a high roof slope of 12/12, for example, then you should take the price of the conventional roof slope, which is 4/12 and add another 50% in order to get an estimated price for your 12/12 roof slope. But, if a steeper roof pitch will be a much better option for your property, considering the area where you live and climatic conditions, then it will be an investment worth making.

Bottom line

It can be quite a challenge to find the right roof pitch for your home, but, even so, you don’t have to treat the matter lightly. The roof is an extremely important part of every home and the roof pitch will make sure that humidity, water, and general weather conditions will not cause any discomforts or produce damages. With the information presented previously and the help offered by a roof pitch calculator, available online, you will get a clearer view over the best roof pitch that will be both aesthetic and practical for your property.

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