How Is Roof Pitch Determined?

September 2022 by Heartland Roofing Siding and Windows


If you want to install a roof, you must determine the roof’s pitch, or steepness, before the roofing contractor commences work. Below are some factors to guide you in pitch selection.

Local Weather

The local weather determines the weather elements the roof will experience on a regular basis. Precipitation, in the form of snow, hail, and rain, are the major elements to worry about. Some pitches handle snow and rain better than others.

For example, a pitched roof makes sense if your area regularly experiences heavy precipitation. Hailstones, rainwater, or snow can easily slide off the roof. Apart from precipitation, the wind patterns in your locality also matter. With frequent heavy winds, you should opt for a relatively steep roof to reduce wind suction forces.

Roofing Materials

The type of roofing materials also determines the roof pitch. For example, flat or low-slopped roofs can have:

  • Built-up roofing such as tar and gravel
  • Rubber membrane
  • Standing seam metal

Roofs with steep slopes can have:

  • Asphalt shingles
  • Wood shingles
  • Slate tiles

The relationship between the pitch and material depends on various factors, such as water penetration. For example, asphalt shingles on a flat roof would allow water penetration, so the material is best for pitched roofs. Your roofing contractor will advise you on the best pitch for your chosen material.

Maintenance Considerations

All roofs require regular maintenance. However, the pitch determines the frequency, cost, and nature of these maintenance practices. For example:

  • Pitched roofs rarely develop drainage problems
  • Debris, such as tree leaves and windblown debris, easily accumulate on flat or low-slopped roofs
  • Flat-or low-slopped roofs are easier to walk on during maintenance and repair

Talk to your roofing contractor about roof maintenance practices. That way, you will be able to prolong your roof’s lifespan irrespective of its pitch.

Attic Considerations

A pitched roof increases your house’s square footage if you include the attic. Most people use their attics as extra storage spaces. You can even finish the attic and use it as an extra bedroom, library, or playroom.

Even if you don’t use your attic, it can help you by regulating your home’s temperature. During the summer, the attic insulation minimizes heat penetration from outside. During the winter, the attic insulation prevents heat to escape from inside. You only get an attic in a roof with a suitable pitch. Thus, you must install a pitched roof if you need an attic.

Budget Issues

Flat or low-slopped roofs are cheaper to install than pitched roofs. For a pitched roof, you need your roofing materials to cover more surface area than they would in a flat roof. More materials mean increased costs. Secondly, the design and risk of a pitched roof raise the labor charges. Thus, your roofing budget can also affect your roof’s slope.

Rooftop Installations

Consider a flat roof if you plan to install things on your roof. Some of the things you can install on the roof include:

  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) units
  • Solar systems
  • Gardens
  • Rooftop patio

Some of these things, such as solar systems, also work on pitched roofs. However, they are easier to install on flat roofs.

Aesthetic Considerations

Lastly, your roof pitch also determines your home’s curb appeal. For many people, pitched roof designs look better than slow-roof designs. Besides, once you raise the pitch, you can experiment with more designs than you would with a flat roof. In the end, however, aesthetics is subjective, and you should choose what is best for you.

An experienced roofing contractor will give you more in-depth information on roof pitches and help you select the best pitch for your case. Heartland Roofing Siding and Solar have decades of experience in the roofing industry. Contact us today 800-681-4169 about your roofing needs so that we can advise you and install the best roof for you.