“What is a pitched roof?”
“What is the pitch of my roof?”
“What are different pitched roof types?”
These questions are common for residential homeowners looking to repair their roof leaks. The pitch of a roof is an important factor when you’re receiving estimates from local roofing companies and you should be familiar with the pitch of your roof and the requirements it may need. So, let’s dig in!
What is a pitched roof?
A pitched roof is a roof with a sloping surface or surfaces. Its angle is more than 20 degrees. The pitch of a roof is its vertical rise divided by its horizontal span an is a measure of roof steepness. The most common r00f pitch on residential homes falls between 4/12 and 9/12. A “walkable-roof” is generally defined as having a roof pitch of 7/12 or below.
There are many different types of pitched roofs including gable roofs, hip roofs, gambrel roofs, dome roofs, and mansard roofs.
If you’re in the process of building a home, roof types play a major role in defining the overall look and style of a house. If you’re in the process of filing a roof insurance claim, the pitch of your roof plays a role in the pricing they approve for roof replacements. It’s a huge factor in linear measurements and, if miscalculated, can cost you in supply overages, shortages, and even labor rates! Now that we have a general understanding, we’ll dive into specific pitched roof types.
Gable roofs are one of the most popular roof types in the United States. They are easy to recognize by their triangular shape. They’re efficient at shedding water and snow and they provide more space for the attic or vaulted ceilings. Their inherently simple design makes them easy to build or re-roof. Gable roofs can be problematic in high-wind and hurricane areas if the frames are not properly constructed with adequate support. You can replace the roofing material of a gable roof with asphalt shingles, cedar shakes, metal, clay or concrete tiles.
There are sub-types of gable roofing such as crossed gable, which is where two gable sections are put together at a right angle.
2. Hip Roof
A hip roof has slopes on all four sides, the sides are of equal length and come together at the top to form the ridge of the roof. These roofs are typically more stable than a standard gable roof since it has the inward slope on all 4 sides. They are excellent for shedding water, snow, and withstanding high-wind. Given the additional support, hip roofs typically cost more to replace than a gable roof. Its design is more complex and often requires more material. Proper construction and roof maintenance is a must to prevent minor issues turning into major problems.
3. Gambrel Roof
A gambrel roof (a.k.a. barn roof or dutch roof) is a two-sided symmetrical roof that has two slopes on each side. The lower slope is steeper and the upper slope is positioned at a shallow angle. Gambrel roofs have a simple design which makes replacing the roof relatively simple. Since gambrel roofs only have 2 roof beams, they require less material and help keep the cost of the roof replacement down. Gambrel roofs aren’t ideal for areas with high snow-fall or wind, the open design is beautiful but can cause the roof to collapse under extreme pressure. If you’re building a new gambrel roof, waterproofing the ridges is key. We recommend roofing materials like wooden, asphalt, or slate shingles but metal roofing is also a great choice (and would require less maintenance!).
4. Mansard Roof
A mansard roof, also known as a curb roof or a french roof, is a four-sided roof with a double slope on each side that meets and forms a low-pitched roof. The lower slope of a mansard roof is much steeper than the upper. Mansard roofs are great for residential homeowners if they want the flexibility to make future home additions. The low-pitched area of a mansard roof is not ideal in areas with heavy snow-fall. We recommend using roofing materials like metal on the lower, steeper section. It’s important to note that typical overlapping composition shingles should not be used on mansard roofs. Asphalt shingles can still be used on the steeper portion in their regular pattern.
5. Flat Roof
But a flat roof doesn’t have any pitch?! Actually, it does. Just ever so slightly to help direct water to designated drainage areas on the roof. Flat roofs are generally used on industrial or commercial buildings but they’re commonly seen in Charlotte on residential homes too! If you’re building a new home, flat roofs can provide extra living space as a roof patio or garden. Flat roofs are easy to construct but they do require specific flat-roofing material to ensure their waterproofed. The low pitch makes flat roofs susceptible to roof leaks and they aren’t typically recommended for high rainfall or heavy snow areas. You’ll want to use specialized flat roofing material such as EPDM or TPO for flat roof replacements.
There are many different types of pitched roofs on the market. Whether you’re in the process of building a home, replacing your roof, or if you’ve just noticed a roof leak – having a good understanding of the structure of your roof is imperative. If you have any questions, you’re welcome to give the roofing experts at Signature Exteriors a call and we can discuss your roofing project in detail.