If you’re in the market for a new home, intend to build one, or need to replace your current roof, this blog will cover all you need to know about roof pitch and what could work best for where you live. We’re going to get into the five W’s of roof pitching to hopefully shed some light on the idea of roof pitch. So, let’s get started!

What is a Pitched Roof?

A pitched roof is exactly what it sounds like – a roof with some kind of slope or angle that creates a peak, or peaks. If a roof isn’t completely flat (and very few actually are,) then it is considered a pitched roof.

What is Roof Pitch?

Pitch describes a roof’s angle. You might’ve seen other terms used to describe a roof’s pitch, such as “slope,” “slant,” or “gradient.” Ultimately, all of these terms can be used interchangeably, but “pitch” is the common term used.

In the United States, roof pitches are generally expressed as fractions of 12: 8/12, 6/12, 4/12, etc. The first number represents the vertical rise in inches and the second refers to horizontal progression in inches.

For example: a 6/12 roof means that for every foot, the rooftop rises 6 inches.

Why Pitch Matters

Roof pitches vary for one big reason: water redirection. Whether rain or snow, water accumulating on your roof is a very, very bad thing.

If you live in a drier climate, rain accumulation may not be an issue for you, so a flatter roof should be fine. However, if you live in a particularly rainy climate, and the rainfall doesn’t efficiently run off, water will pool and increase your chances of a leak. So, you’re going to want to make sure the pitch of your roof is steep enough to allow for runoff.

The same goes for climates not prone to massive snowfall. If you live in an area that doesn’t get a lot of snow, then a flatter roof is just as safe as a high-pitched roof. If it snows a lot where you live, you’re going to want a steeper pitch on your roof so snow has less of a chance to accumulate en masse. Otherwise, the weight of that snow could cause you roof to sag or even collapse!

That being said, let’s define these pitches and briefly discuss some differences.

Common Roof Pitches and Their Differences

roofs with different pitches

Flat – While uncommon, these roofs can be easily expressed as zeroes, or 0/12.

Low-slope – These roofs typically have a pitch between a 1 and 2, or 1:12 and 2:12. Sometimes confused with flat roofs, these low-sloped roofs do have a bit of angle to them to allow water to run off.

Medium-Slope – These range between 3/12 and 9/12. These are the most common roofing pitches you’ll find over main living areas of homes.

Steep-Slope – Any pitch above a 9.

Pros and Cons of Roof Pitch

Pros: Flat and Low-Pitched Roofs

  • Easy to walk on
  • Easier to repair or improve
  • Generally less expensive


Cons: Flat and Low-Pitch Roofs

  • Require regular maintenance and inspection for standing water and debris
  • Require special low-slope roofing materials
  • Less able to allow run-off of rain and snow


Pros: Medium and Steep-Pitch Roofs

  • Require less maintenance than low-pitched roofs
  • Provide better run-off for water, snow, and other debris
  • Provide more space than a flat or low-sloped roof


Cons: Medium and Steep-Pitch Roofs

  • Generally more expensive to install, due to increased overall area of the roof
  • Are more susceptible to wind damage than flat or low-pitch roofs

Buildpro: Your Roof Pitch Expertsbuildpro expert truck

Roof pitch is likely one of the last things a homeowner considers when buying or building. But, understanding pitch and roofing materials will only help you make better decisions for your home and ultimately extend the life of your roof.

Whether you’re thinking about building your dream home or are in the middle of a remodel, our experts can help you decide what roof is best for you. Our certified installers can define for you every inch of the roofing process, from pitch to eaves.

If you’ve got roofing questions – Buildpro has your answers. We offer free, no obligation consultations and are backed by some of the industry’s best warranties. Contact us today to learn more.