Roof pitch is the measurement describing your roof’s angle and steepness. It is an important measurement in determining your roof’s suitability to specific weather conditions. It is also an important parameter in the selection of the right roofing shingles or materials, gutters, and various other roofing systems. So, how is the roof pitch important and what are the key things that you must know about it.
At Big Bear Roofing, we are your trusted roofing experts in North & South Carolina. We are a GAF certified contractor and provide end-to-end services including roof installation, replacement, repair, maintenance, and inspection services throughout the region. Find out why roof pitch is important and other key aspects of this parameter.
Importance of Roof Pitch
Consider the following scenario. Imagine all other factors such as climate, ventilation, and shingles being the same, which roof is going to last longer – the one with a steep pitch or the one with very little pitch? This question can be answered better when you consider a steep hillside versus a low-slope hillside. A steeper hillside tends to erode faster than a low slope. This means that generally roof shingles on a high-pitch roof tend to wear out more quickly.
High pitch is still an important factor from another perspective. For example, a steep roof is less likely to allow leaves and debris to collect. This prevents the build-up of moisture against the shingles, thus preventing the growth of algae and moss. On the other hand, the same roof located in an unshaded area is likely to take the full impact of sunlight, which can cause faster deterioration.
Impact of Roof Pitch
Roof pitch has an impact on many different factors. These factors determine the ideal roofing material and designs for your roof:
i. Roof Efficiency
A steeper roof means it is easier for it to shed snow and rain. They require lesser maintenance, as most of the debris gets pushed down the edge. If you have such a roof, we will recommend you to have properly sized gutters to prevent overflow. Solid gutter covers can work better compared to filter-type systems.
ii. Roofing Materials
All types of roofs are pitched. Even commercial flat roofs have a very small pitch to ensure effective drainage. It affects your choice of material. Commonly used residential roofing materials including slate and asphalt shingles depend on gravity to prevent water from intruding through the overlaps. These materials work more efficiently and better with steeper roofs.
Since steep roofs have larger roof areas for the same floor size, they will need more roofing materials to build. So, when you choose a roof with a higher pitch, the project will cost more as compared to installing a gently-sloped roof.
Things to Know about Roof Pitch
There are many things you should know about roof pitch. This includes:
Roof Pitch and Roof Slope are Not the Same Things
Roof slope and roof pitch are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Pitch makes use of measurements based on the entire roof span. It is calculated as the ratio between the roof’s rise to the roof’s span. Span refers to the distance between the top plate of one wall to that of the opposite wall. It can also refer to the distance between one side of your home to the other.
On the other hand, slope refers to the ratio between the rise of the roof and the run of the roof. Run refers to the distance between the edge and center of the roof.
Minimum Roof Pitch Required for Areas with High Snowfall
Areas that get high annual snowfall have building codes with minimal roof pitch details. Homes and commercial buildings are typically built with steep roof pitches to prevent snow, ice, and sleet from building up. A flat roof will have snow and ice continuing to build up. When there is excess build-up, it can cause permanent damage to the structure. In some cases, the roof can collapse.
When replacing your roof, we will check your local building codes and regulations. Besides the minimum roof pitch, we will also consider the weather conditions you experience all year round. Even when certain sharp roof pitch angles may sometimes cause the build-up of snow and ice by creating a sheltered space, the angles should not create any issues if the pitch is in accordance with the local building codes.
Low Pitch Roofs are Simpler & Safer to Install and Maintain
Low pitch roofs are easier and safer to work on. This is making them increasingly popular. A high pitch roof requires roofers to walk carefully, crawl, or balance themselves on the roof. They will have to use harnesses for optimal safety. All this makes it more difficult to work on a roof with a steep pitch. On the other hand, a roof with a low pitch, say 3/12 pitch, will allow roofers to walk comfortably without any worries.
Roofing Materials for Different Roof Pitches
Most roof pitches can work with any kind of roofing material. Still, there are situations where you will need certain types of materials for a specific pitch. A few examples of such situations include:
- When you have a low slope or flat area on the roof, it may not be steep enough for the manufacturer’s requirements or the local codes. A low-slope or flat roof comes with two ideal material options – metal or membrane roof system.
- Mansard roofs have a very high pitch. It is recommended not to install asphalt shingles on these roofs. Asphalt shingles are heavy and will start sliding off. While these roofs are not as common, we suggest cedar shake shingles and synthetic shingles for them.
At Big Bear Roofing, our and experienced roofers can quickly inspect and solve roof repair, installation, and replacement challenges. We are a BBB Accredited and certified roofing contractor in the region and stand out for our workmanship, roofing job safety, and customer satisfaction. All our projects are backed by a lifetime warranty. whether you need roof repair, replacement, installation, or maintenance service, feel free to call us at 843.819.7650 or write to us from our Contact Page.