There are so many roofing options on the market that it’s easy to assume one could choose any roofing material, and it would look great. But the truth is, there is one factor that plays an important part in every roofing system, including choice of material. Here’s a closer look at an essential aspect of roofing: roof pitch.
What Is Roof Pitch?
Roof pitch is the roof slope’s angle represented as a fraction, sometimes as a ratio. A common roof pitch used for residential roofing is 4/12 or 4:12. The number 4 represents 4 inches of vertical “rise” while the number 12 represents the horizontal “run”. Therefore, a roof with a 4/12 pitch is read as 4 inches of rise for every foot of run. Pitched roofs can be as steep as 12/12, which puts it at a 45-degree angle.
You can find out what your roof’s pitch is by climbing into the attic and finding a beam that’s perpendicular to the roof edge. Mark a 12-inch section anywhere near the roof edge for easy reach. Measure the vertical distance between one point to the rafter directly above it, and then do the same for the other point. The difference between the two distances is your roof’s rise per foot.
Roof Pitch and Choosing the Right Roof Material
Technically speaking, all roofing systems are pitched. In fact, even so-called “flat” roofs are slightly pitched, with the rise ranging from half an inch to two inches to allow rainwater to drain into the gutters. The steeper the pitch, the more efficient the roof is at shedding rainwater. However, the bigger the property, the more impractical a single pitched roof is and the costlier it would be to repair and maintain. It would also require extremely large gutter troughs that would be too costly to build.
Roof pitch also dictates the roofing material that can be installed on a roof. On a new building, the choice is easier as one can design the framing structure to suit the material. On the other hand, when a homeowner intends to switch to another type of roofing, the pitch is the first consideration. Shingle roofing like asphalt shingle and slate are suitable for steeply pitched roofs since gravity prevents rainwater from moving back up and under the roof. It can’t be swapped with single-ply roofing used on flat roofs as neither would be as effective.
Pritchett Bros is your leading provider of roofing and replacement windows. Give us a call at (812) 567-1266, or fill out our contact form. We serve customers in Bloomington, IN, and surrounding areas.