You are working with your architect on designing your new home and he or she starts talking to you about roof pitches. Do you want a 4:12 roof or an 8:12 roof? How about a 9:12 roof instead of a 10:12? What is a roof pitch? I’m so confused!
Well, the pitch of your roof is the angle at which the surfaces slope. The roof pitch is written in a ratio of inches. It is the number of inches of rise for every 12 inches of horizontal distance. For example, a roof with a 4:12 pitch rises 4 inches for every 12 inches of horizontal roof run. To visualize this, picture the roof pitch as a right triangle. The angled side is the roof, the vertical leg is the rise and the horizontal leg is the flat roof run.
Are there certain pitch standards to abide by when designing your roof? Not really. Many builders consider a low-pitched roof to be anywhere from a 2:12 to a 4:12 slope. Then, a 4:12 to a 9:12 is typically a medium pitch range and anything from a 9:12 and above is considered a steep-pitched roof. The most common residential roof slopes range from a 4:12 to a 9:12.
Typically, the steeper your roof pitch, the more expensive it is to have installed. Builders usually need special equipment to build steep-pitched roofs and there is also additional risks for workers. However, a steeper roof removes water, ice and snow more quickly than its shallow counterparts and usually means a longer lasting life for your roof.
So, what is the correct slope to use on your new home? In my opinion, utilizing a couple different slopes (one lower-pitched and one higher-pitched) adds interest to the overall composition. However, you have to be careful not to use too many different slopes in one design. If you do, the look of the house becomes jumbled and it becomes more difficult to build (and expensive.)
It’s really up to you and your architect and what looks good for your particular design. The options are endless!