Does the pitch of your roof make a difference?




Not everyone is fascinated by architecture, but have you ever stopped to wonder what determines the steepness of a roof?

If you haven’t, builders and architects have. The roof pitch helps them determine the exact ratio and angle of a roof. Does the pitch of your roof matter? Does it affect the cost of future roof replacement at all? The answer might surprise you.


Now we’re going to break down how roof pitch impacts the pricing.

But to start, we’ll quickly overview what roof pitch even is. After that, we’ll get right into how roof pitch affects the cost of your future roof replacement.


What Is Roof Pitch?

Roof pitch (also called roof slope) is simply the steepness (angle) of your roof. A roof’s pitch is calculated by the number of inches it rises vertically for every 12 inches extends horizontally.

If you see roof pitch in writing or hear it from a roofing contractor, it’ll be in the form of a ratio. For example, a roof that is 4 inches up for every 12 inches out is called a 4/12 pitch.

Depending on the complexity of your roof, there could be multiple pitches. This could be in the form of a low slope area or a different roof facet with a little more/less steepness.

Be aware, I don’t recommend getting on your roof to measure its pitch. You’ll learn this when your roofing contractor comes out for an inspection.


Why Is Roof Pitch Important?

Roof pitches are a crucial part of a roof since it will determine the type of materials used on the roof.

Aside from the style of the roof and the aesthetics, the roof pitch also decides the long-term durability. They have to determine how long it will take for debris and water to get off the roof.


Types Of Roof Pitches

There are two types of roof pitches: high-pitched and low-pitched.

Low-pitched roofs were most popular in the 1960s. These roofs appear to be flat, however, they tend to have a 1/12 pitch. Low-pitch roofs still have a bit of a slope to drain the water.

Commercial buildings, for example, have flat roofs but more residential structures are including flat roofs. More architects are implementing low-slope designs since green roofs are becoming more and more popular.

Most homes fall within the moderate ratio of moderate (4/12) and steep (8/12). Although there might be some exceptions such as almost flat or very steep.

High-pitched roofs are often associated with Victorian-era houses. These homes have really steep roofs (18/12).


Roofing Materials

In order to build a roof, the materials are important. Roof pitch must adhere to the recommended materials since not all of them work with each slope. Builders know better than to use wood and slate shingles on roofs which are steeper than 12/12.

Take a look at these materials and their slopes:

  • Asphalt shingles: 4/12 to 20/12

  • Rubber membrane: .25/12 to 3/12

  • Built-Up (BUR): .25/12 to 3/12

  • Standing-seam metal: .25/12 to 19/12

  • Wood and slate shingles: 5/12 to 12/12


So, back to how the pitch of your roof could affect the cost of your roof replacement..


Now that you’ve had a quick refresher about what roof pitch is and why it's important. You’re ready to learn how it affects the cost of your roof replacement. Roof pitch affects the labor and time it takes to complete the job, which has a big impact on the price of a new roof.


The steeper the roof pitch, the more time it takes to replace a roof. For example, a steep roof pitch doesn’t allow the installers to move around or access the materials as easily as they would on a walkable pitch.

It also comes down to safety and taking the proper precautions during installation. The steeper the roof, the more safety measures (harnesses and tying off) installers have to take when working.

This makes the labor and time cost even higher for your roof replacement. No matter what, the steeper the roof, the more it adds to the cost of a replacement.


You may be tempted to step outside and glance at your roof, to try to eyeball the slope and figure out the pitch of your roof. But, the way to broach this subject is to have a proper estimate done. Companies such as ours offer a free estimate on all roofing jobs, and we can tell you the exact pitch of your roof. We can also give you full measurements on your roof dimensions, so that we can calculate the estimated cost of work.


We are happy to answer any and all questions you may have about roof repair and maintenance. As a homeowner, you cannot be expected to understand everything about every aspect of your home – and this is where we come in. We can assist you, guide you through the process, and coach you on how to maintain your roof with the least amount of expense possible.



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