What Does the Term the ‘Pitch of a Roof’ Mean?

The pitch of a roof refers to the steepness of the slope from the top of the peak or ridgeline down to the overhang. Often, roof pitch is simply a matter of design and many houses in one neighborhood will have the same pitch as they were built at the same time. For homeowners, a steep roof pitch can lead to more expensive repairs.

Additional Terms

If you need to get a roof repaired or reshingled, it’s a good idea to understand all the terms. For example, the span of a roof refers to the distance from overhang to overhang and encompasses the full depth of the house. The run of a roof refers to one half of the roof, from overhang at the outer edge to the roof peak. The rise is a measure of the full distance in height from the lowest edge of the roof to the peak.

What the Numbers Mean for Pitched Roofs

A 3/12 pitch means that the roof rises 3 inches over 12 inches of run. This means that if a structure has a ten foot run from overhang to peak, it will rise 30 inches over this distance. This is a fairly flat roof and would be easy to walk. Steeper pitched roof construction would take more skill and experience to work and walk on.

Calculating Your Roof Pitch

The simplest way to measure your roof pitch is to measure first the run and then the rise. From the ground, measure the distance from the outer edge of the roof or overhang to the peak. This can be done on the ground. You may then need a ladder to measure the rise, or the change in height from the lowest edge of the roof to the peak. If your roof rises 12 inches for every 24 inches of run, your pitch is 6 in 12.

Information for Homeowners

If you’ve got a steeply pitched roof and are in need of repair or replacement, you will need to hire a professional to assess the condition of the roof and give you a quote. Roofing professionals have the gear and the know-how to safely work on any roof, but a steeply pitched roof will increase the risk to anyone working on it. The process of handling materials on such a surface, as well as working with tools at such an angle, is not an easy process and can be dangerous for a novice or beginner.

It’s important to note that a great deal of the expense of a roof repair is the labor. Tear-offs and putting down new shingles can be quite costly. The steeper the pitch, the more your new roof will likely cost as your contractor will need a more highly skilled crew.

If your roof needs help, get your free roof inspection today!