What is the Smallest Pitch a Roof Can be?

To determine the smallest pitch of a roof, you have to understand what pitch means. Roofers use the term as their go-to word, which is interchangeable with the angle, slope or incline of a roof. Whatever the interpretation, the pitch is considered the steepness of a roof.

How Pitch is Determined for a Roof

Pitch is depicted in inches, 12 inches to be exact. The actual formula for pitch is determined by how many inches the slope of a roof rises for every 12 inches that it runs horizontally. Say a roof rises in height by five inches for every 12 inches of the horizontal run. That measurement would be considered a 5-in-12 pitch or a 5 pitch.

Smallest Pitched Roof

In the world of steepness or pitch, the smallest pitch of a roof is a quarter-inch or a 1/4 inch in rise to the horizontal run of 12 inches. This limited amount of pitch is only made to work with either special synthetic roofing or what is called built-up roofing (BUR). Built-up roofing is considered the most conventional of roofing materials that is used on low slope or small pitch roofs. It consists of alternating layers of supporting fabric and asphalt (bitumen) and is finished off with a layer of stone or gravel.

Roof Pitch Importance

Determining an exact pitch is important for several reasons. For one thing, exactness is needed to estimate the amount of roofing materials required for a roofing job, and secondly it’s needed to decide what materials are best suited for a particular roofing job.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Low Pitch Roofs

One advantage of a low pitch roof is the ease of installation. Moving around on a flat roof is obviously easier, quicker and user-friendly. Installation can go smoothly as walking and working on a flat roof is a whole lot safer than working on a high pitch, or non-walkable roof. Repairs and ongoing maintenance are also easier and safer with a low pitch roof. Though there is ease of movement and convenience in making necessary repairs and upkeep, there is a disadvantage in the fact that low pitch roofs have a tendency to leak and require recurring once-overs.

Another disadvantage of low-pitch roofs is exposure to severe weather conditions. Water or snow accumulation can wreak havoc with stress factors on a low pitch roof and its underlying structure. Though a flat roof is an advantage in that it is less costly to install in comparison to a pitched roof, it still requires frequent maintenance. Flat roofs are better utilized in areas of limited rainfall and seem to be a more contemporary design that designers and homeowners favor. A word of caution goes with the weather angle and a low-slope roof. You don’t want water, snow or debris to accumulate on it.

There are limitations with any roof that has a small pitch. You have to weigh the advantages and disadvantages and determine whether it can work in the region where you live or do business. If the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, a low or small pitch roof could be an economically feasible answer to your roofing needs.

If you have roofing problems or just need some questions answered, let us know! We are here to help you.