Generally, your roof slope (or pitch) measurement will be included with your roofing estimate when you are looking for a contractor to install, repair, or replace your roof. However, you may be interested in learning how to measure the pitch of your roof on your own. This can be useful information to give to contractors in order to get more information about your roof before an estimate. The good news is, slope is relatively easy to configure. You will need the following supplies:
- 2 rulers (or any measuring tool with the same units)
- a level
Roof slopes are measured in units of twelves. You can measure with twelve feet or twelve yards, but in this article we will use twelve inches. For example, when a roof has a slope of 5/12, the roof is 5 inches high for every 12 inches long. Another way of stating this is that the roof has a rise of 5 and a run of 12. Figuring this is simple.
First, hold the ruler horizontal with the bottom edge against the bottom of the roof. Use a level to make sure it is perfectly horizontal. Then, hold another ruler vertically from the twelfth unit. Again, use the level to ensure that the ruler is perfectly vertical. The number where the ruler intersects with the bottom of the roof is the top number of slope. In this case, it would be 6. This means the roof has a slope of 6/12.
When you know your roof slope, you can more successfully categorize your roof. There are flat roofs (or low-slope roofs), and steep-slope roofs. Flat roofs are actually not flat. If you build a roof to be flat, it will not have a way to drain and can cause serious damage to your roof and home. Instead, flat roofs are categorized by having a slope between 2/12 and 4/12. A steep-slope is one above 4/12.
If you have a flat roof, or a low-slope roof, you will want to use a membrane roofing system such as TPO or EPDM. Steep-slope roofs require a pitched roofing system such as architectural shingles, tiles or metal roofing.
Knowing the slope of your roof can help you know what kind of roofing system is best for your roof, as well as aid you as you contact a roofing contractor. Roofing Contractors enjoy working with educated clients, and may feel that they can give you more information and advice about your roof if you already know a little bit about roofing in general. It also may serve to give you a ballpark estimate when you are speaking to a contractor over the phone.