Starting a roofing project can be overwhelming. Knowing as much as you can about different elements of the project can help you feel more confident while the project is going on. Starting the conversation knowing a bit about a roof pitch will impress your Dallas roofing company during your first meeting. Read below to learn more.
How Roof Pitch Determines Your Choice Of Roofing Materials
When choosing roofing materials, it may seem that you have an infinite choice of any material on the market: asphalt, composite, metal, wood shake, rubber, MSR rooled roofing. The world of roofing materials is your oyster, right?
Not so. Many factors determine which roofing materials you can use. One make-or-break factor is roof pitch.
For example, you may think you want classic composite shingles on your roof, but if your pitch is below a certain ratio, you may be forced to install a different type of roofing–perhaps torch-down or standing seam metal roofing.
Roof Pitch Defined and Explained
Pitch is the term for the angle, slope, or slant, of your roof.
Roof pitch designations are two numbers divided by a slash, such as 2/12 or 7/12. A colon can replace the slash, as in 2:12 or 7:12. The meaning is the same–ratio.
Numerator: The numerator, or first number, refers to the vertical (height).
Denominator: The denominator, or second number, denotes the horizontal (length). To make things a bit easier, for roofing purposes the denominator will always be 12. Even though basic mathematics tells us that 12/12 can be reduced to 1/1, this is not done with roof pitch. The denominator remains 12.
How To Calculate Pitch
- 5/12: For every 12 horizontal feet, the roof drops 5 feet. Another way to look at it is that for every 12 feet you go horizontally, the roof rises 5 feet. Either way, this is the same thing.
- 8/12: For every 12 horizontal feet, the roof drops 8 feet. Or you may prefer to look at it this way: for every 8 vertical feet, the roof has 12 horizontal feet.
Average roof pitches will be in the range of 4/12 up to 8/12. Examples of extreme slopes range from 1/4 / 12 (almost flat) to 12/12 (sloping down at a perfect 45 degree angle).
4/12 to 12/12 Pitch: Asphalt and Composite
These shingles can start as low as 4/12 pitch, going all the way up to a 12/12 pitch. Think of them as taking the middle road in terms of roof pitch–not too flat, not too pitched.
5/12 to 12/12 Pitch: Wood Shake and Slate
Wood shake and slate shingles are more susceptible to leakage than composite or asphalt, because the shingles do not lock together as tightly or lay as flat those other types of shingles.
Shake and slate shingles are good for pitches from 5/12 on up to 12/12.
Finally, note that these are common types of roofing materials and pitches; we have not covered all types. Also, these designations are not mutually exclusive. For instance, a torch-down roof, while commonly used for extremely low-pitched roofs, can also be used for steeper pitches, if so desired.
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