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Roof Pitch: Everything You Need to Know About Pitched Roofing

In layman’s terms, a roof’s pitch is its observable slope.

Visually pleasing inclines that add aesthetic appeal to house exteriors, pitched roofs are not a very common sight in Arizona.

Most of Arizona is arid desert land that receives little rainfall and doesn’t need pitched roofs for better drainage. However, homes in higher altitude areas do require pitched roofs to prevent rainwater and snow from accumulating.

 What Is a Roof Pitch in Architectural Terms?

A roof pitch refers to a roof’s steepness. It is measured in inches and expressed as a ratio or angle in degrees.

It is calculated by measuring the amount of the vertical rise over the horizontal run. The run of a foot is equal to 12 inches; therefore, the pitch determines how high the roof will rise over a foot.

Keeping this definition in mind, a roof will either be considered functionally flat or pitched. For a roof to be regarded as pitched, its pitch should be 1:6 or 10°. As a general rule, the greater the vertical rise, the steeper is the roof.

Advantages of Pitched Roofs

Better Drainage:

The natural incline of pitched roofs allows rainwater, snow, and hail to slide off easily as compared to a standard flat roof. Drains can be installed easily, too. Pitched roofs, therefore, are a better investment to deal with weather extremes.

Less Maintenance:

Vents and drains in flat roofs can become waterlogged and leaky in extremes of weather. Increased weight and water absorption can damage flat roofs faster over time. In the long run, pitched roofs require less maintenance and fewer inspections.

More Space

Adding a pitched roof also adds extra space to the home. It opens up an area that can easily be used as a loft, attic or bedroom.

Aesthetic Appeal

As children, most people grew up drawing houses with triangular roofs when asked to draw a home. A pitched roof makes a house look more like a home. It adds a visually appealing element to the house framework that can be designed in a number of different ways.

Longer Life Span

Since pitched roofs are able to withstand weather extremes, they last longer than flat roofs. A flat roof has a life span of 20 years, whereas a pitched roof will stand for 30 years with proper care. It may be pricier than a flat roof but will cost you less in the long run.

Types of Pitched Roofs

Low Slope Roof

A roof that slopes between 2 to 4 inches for every 12 inch of the run is regarded as a low slope roof. These types are used most commonly in modern homes and industrial building designs.

Steep Slope Roof

A roof that slopes 4 inches or higher for every 12 inch of run is considered a steep-sloping roof. Often, the first number in the ratio can exceed 12 inches, making the roof very steep. These types of roofs are used in most residential homes.

Roof Framing

Pitched roofs can further be divided by the framework of the roof.

Single Pitched Roof

This type is pitched uni-directionally. It is also referred to as pent roof, shed roof or lean-to roof.

Double Pitched Roof

This type is pitched in both directions. It is found is most residential designs.


A roof’s pitch is its steepness measured as a ratio of the vertical rise over the horizontal run. Pitched roofs are better than flat roofs when it comes to drainage, maintenance, and durability. To install a pitched roof over your home, get in touch with a professional pitched roofing service.