What is Roof Pitch and Why is it Important?

The importance of roof pitch:

Measuring the pitch of your roof is vital because it helps you determine the type of roofing system suitable for your home. It also determines what kind of materials need to be used for your roof.

The choice of shingle and roof you install should be one that is well considered.

The term ‘pitched roof’ refers to the standard triangle-shaped roof found on most residential houses. However, that doesn’t summarize most of it; a pitched roof has a slope and is propped up by a supporting framework that happens to make a pyramid or triangle shape.

Read more about the framework of your house in our article ‘The Difference between Trusses and Rafters – Examining the Ribcage of Your Roof’

Every profession has its own ‘jargon’ (job-specific vocabulary). Learning the basics about roof pitch can help you understand more about your roof. For example, a low-sloped roof must be treated differently before installing shingles.

Call Forest City Roofing for any roofing-related installation or repair at the number below. Our teams are fully certified installers for most major shingle manufacturers.

The difference between single and double-pitched roof styles

Pitched roofs come in two different forms, single and double types. Single-pitched roofs appear more like a ramp than a typical triangular-shaped double-pitched roof. Single-pitched roofs can commonly be spotted on some garages and perhaps some modern-looking homes due to their unique style.

Both pitch styles follow a specific measurement system that determines the angle (slope) of the roof itself, which gives pitched roofs their popular function of clean run-off. It is also the measurement that determines structural compatibility, for instance, if an insulated attic is possible. 


How pitched roofs are measured

Pitched roofs are measured by two variables known as the rise (the height of the top of the roof to the base) and the run (which is the roof’s horizontal distance). Dividing the two will reveal the degree of the slope, or in other words, the pitch.


Standard roof pitches vary depending on each housing project: 

An average sloped roof: a 6/12 pitch: Medium pitched roofs (6/12) are the most popular pitched slope because they shed snow, handle winds well, and are relatively safe for walking access in case of repairs.


An extreme sloped roof: 9/12 or higher is unsafe to walk on: High pitched roofs are an extreme version of the latter and do not allow any safe roof access and they must be repaired or installed by professionals with proper equipment.

Visit our article about roof replacement costs for further information regarding the building process; ‘The Cost of Roof Replacement’. Steeply pitched roofs cost more to replace.


A no-sloped roof: 4/12 or lower is not considered a pitched roof: Thus, it is possible to have a double-pitched roof that is so low that it becomes classified as a flat roof. Read our article ‘Advantages Versus Disadvantages of Flat Roofing’

Extremely low-pitch roofs or those with a slope of 2/12 or lower cannot handle shingles due to weight concerns.

In some circumstances, underlayment requirements must be increased to enhance the water-shedding property of a shallow slope roof system. Wind lifts these shingles leaving the roof susceptible to water entry and the danger of ice dams that this sitting water creates.

These weight issues would disqualify heavy ceramic and slate shingle roofing options. Parts of the world with volatile climates, severe winds, and heavy snowfall will find that low sloped roofs have a higher chance of caving in.


The roof slope determines how insulation should be applied in the attic:

The amount of attic space available is decided by the roof’s pitch. The higher the pitch, the more space is available. However, this extra space allows excess heat to gather, and extra insulation must be added. In other words, knowing the roof’s pitch will determine the materials needed to improve your home’s energy efficiency.


No matter the slope of your roof, we have experience installing shingles on all of them. We are here to help you with any roofing concerns. Call us at the number below, visit our showroom, or request a no-pressure, well-explained quote. Contact us online if you prefer.

November 3, 2020

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