Understanding Roof Pitch and Its Overall Importance

Handling roof installations and repairs isn’t for the faint of heart. But even if you’re going to let a licensed roofer take care of your needs, that doesn’t mean that you get to ignore the process entirely. There are still some terms and procedures that you should understand. This is because if you don’t know anything about the roof, you could be getting the wrong estimate…and not know it at all. When it comes to most homeowners, they want to absolutely know that the repairs they’re requesting are the ones that they actually need. Contractors want to bill honestly, because they want you to tell all of your friends about the incredible service that you received.

Roof Pitch

So what do you really need to understand? Roof pitch. No, we’re not saying that your roof has a song or anything like that. We’re talking about the measurement of your roof’s overall slope. It’s the number of inches for the vertical rise over the horizontal “run”. So if you have a 4/12 roof, it means that the roof rises 4″ for every 12 inches it runs. The run is usually always going to be about a foot long. If you can get to the top of your roof, then you can just take the measurements. But if you can’t get to the top of the roof, you can take the measurements you need from the end of the rafters. Either way, you should get similar results.

But you’re still missing the why, and we’re getting to it. You see, roof pitch matters because it’s something that the roofer will ask you about before they contract the job with you. If you don’t have the right measurement, they will take the measurement. But be warned: if your roof is steeper than you say it is, the estimate isn’t valid. They will need to adjust for the additional safety concerns they need to take on to make sure the job gets done safely and quickly. A steeper roof tends to be more expensive to take care of.

Given this understanding, you might wonder why people would even bother to get a steeper roof if it would be so expensive to maintain. Most people don’t really think about this when they go roof shopping. They’re thinking about how elegant the steep sloped roof will look, and that means that they don’t think about the maintenance needs even 10 years later. By then, the house could be under a completely different set of owners anyway.

Your roof forms a major part of your home’s structure. Knowing the pitch will help you contract repair jobs better. Some areas have specific rules on how steep your roof can be. If you’re going to go up on your own roof for any reason, you need to practice extreme caution. Never go up without a partner if you can help it. Falling off your roof can cause serious injury. Be safe!