Measuring roof pitch

How to Determine Roof Pitch

4 minutes

Many terms can sound foreign to those just dipping their toes in home improvement. Many questions can come up when working with a contractor or questions when you’re replacing a roof. “Roof pitch” is one such phrase that can leave homeowners, DIY enthusiasts, or even those considering their first foray into construction scratching their heads. The pitch, or steepness of a roof, is not just an architectural design choice; it is a crucial element that plays into everything from aesthetics to practical functions such as efficient water drainage and snow load bearing.  

What is a Roof Pitch?  

The pitch of a roof is a measure of its steepness or incline. It is typically defined as the ratio of the vertical rise of the roof (height) to the horizontal span (width or run). Roof pitch is usually expressed in terms of “rise over run.” For instance, a roof with a 4:12 pitch means that for every 12 horizontal feet (run), the roof rises vertically by 4 feet. 

This measurement is crucial because it influences various aspects of a structure, from design aesthetics and architectural considerations to practical concerns such as drainage and the roof’s ability to bear loads like snow or rain. 

What is a Roof Slope?  

Roof slope and roof pitch are terms that are frequently used interchangeably, but there is a nuance that sets them apart. The slope describes the steepness of a roof, represented as a ratio of its vertical rise to its horizontal run. For instance, if a roof ascends 4 inches vertically for every 12 inches it runs horizontally, the slope is expressed as 4:12. This ratio is consistent in specifying inches of rise for every foot (12 inches) of run. 

What is the Rise & Run of a Roof?  

The terms rise and run are essential when describing the slope or pitch of a roof. The rise denotes the vertical elevation or height of the roof over a set horizontal distance. Essentially, it tells you how much the roof goes up. On the other hand, the run is the horizontal distance across which this vertical elevation is measured, and in roofing, this distance is often standardized to 12 feet. For instance, when you encounter a roof pitch expressed as 4:12, it means that for every 12 feet of horizontal distance (the run), the roof ascends vertically by 4 feet (the rise). Together, these two measurements provide a clear picture of the roof’s steepness or incline. 

How to Find the Pitch of a Roof? 

  • Safety First:

    • Ensure the attic or basement area is well lit to avoid missteps or mishandling of tools. 
    • Wear protective gear if the attic or basement is dusty or has insulation exposed. 
  • Materials Needed

    • Carpenter’s level.
    • Tape measure.
    • Pen and paper for noting measurements.
  • Measuring from the Attic

    • Access your attic or the topmost part of your house. 
    • Locate a place where you can see the underside of the roof rafters. 
    • Hold the carpenter’s level so it is horizontal and mark a 12-inch section on the rafter using the level. 
    • Measure vertically from the end of the 12-inch section on the level to the underside of the rafter. This measurement gives you the “rise.” 
  • Determine the Pitch

    • The “run” is always considered 12 inches.
    • The “rise” is the measurement you just took. 
    • Your roof pitch is then expressed as the ratio of the rise over the run. For example, if you measure a rise of 6 inches over a 12-inch run, the pitch is 6:12. 

This method will give you a reasonably accurate measurement of your roof’s pitch without the risks associated with physically accessing the roof. 

Contact DaBella Today to Schedule Your Roof Replacement Estimate  

Choosing the right roof for your home isn’t just about aesthetics; it is about ensuring safety, value, and longevity. With DaBella, you are not only investing in a roof, but a future-proof shield for your home. Our commitment to excellence is reflected in our choice of GAF roofing materials, known for their superior quality and resilience. For those with higher-pitched roofs, there’s better news: our architectural asphalt shingles are tailor-made for you. These shingles do not just offer a refined look but bring with them the robustness to withstand diverse weather conditions and the test of time. 

Do not compromise on your home’s safety or its style. Give it the upgrade it deserves. Contact us today at 844-DaBella today and let us pave the way for a brighter, safer tomorrow with DaBella’s roofing solutions!