Why you should know your roof pitch or roof slope

Roof pitch or Roof slope

Getting a roof estimate
One of the first things you will be asked: “What is your roof pitch ?” The same can be true for new gutters, gutter cleaning or any roof related work.

Roof pitch
is always a consideration when getting a roof estimate. Why ? The steeper the roof the more difficult to install roofing, Many roofers will not do steeper pitched roofs.

So what is considered a steep roof ?
This depends on who you are talking to. Some roofers consider any pitch over 6/12 to be steep. Others consider any pitch over 8/12 to be steep. Other only consider 10/12 and over to be steep.

Why is it more difficult roofing on steeper pitches ?
Depends on the type of roofing. On pitches 6/12 and steeper everything will slide if not secured. Pitches over 9/12 cannot be walked without boards attached to the roof deck to provide footing. The type of roofing you are using will determine the maximum pitch that can be walked. For instance a dry shake roof can be walked on a 9/12 pitch, but not a metal roof. Because you can walk on a 9/12 without slipping does not mean you should. In fact any pitch over 5/12 is dangerous.

Generally 4/12 and 5/12 roof pitches are the easiest to roof.

Building codes and roof pitch
Many roofing materials require different methods of application on steeper pitches. For instance concrete tile installed over wood batons only need nailing on the perimeter tiles on pitches under 6/12. 6/12 to under 12/12 require nailing every tile in every other row. 12/12 pitches require nailing every tile in every row. Pitches below 4/12 require counter batons and the tile is considered decoration only. Check the building requirements in your area.

Other notes on roof pitch
The labor for doing any kind any kind of work on steep pitched roofs goes up as the pitch increases. Such as:

  • Painting
  • Window washers (two stories and up)
  • Chimney sweep
  • Gutter cleaning
  • Roof repairs
  • Tree trimming (from roof)

Benefits of steep pitched roofs
Roofing materials last longer, the steeper the better.

Precautions and methods on steep roofs
The most dangerous working area on a roof is the bottom (eave) of the roof. If you slip there is little chance of recovery. It is wise practice to use toeboards* around all the bottoms (eaves) on a pitch over 5/12 pitch. Toeboards* placed at the eaves provide a final barrier from you or anything else from sliding off the roof.


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