The slope of a roof is generally measured in fractions such as 7/12 or 5/12 and they are fairly easy to read. The top number denotes the height, while the lower number or denominator refers to the width. Therefore, a fraction of 7/12 means there is a seven foot rise in height for every twelve feet of width.
Selecting the best type of material depends on the level of the slope or pitch. Following is a list of the most suitable materials and which is best for each type of slope.
- Wood Shakes – When these shingles are laid flat, they are loose and susceptible to leakage. This material is best suited for buildings with steeper angles and a slope between 5/12 and 12/12.
- Asphalt or Composite – These popular types of shingles are best suited for slopes with a medium pitch ranging from 4/12 to 12/12. This is a highly-recommended material since it is considered as the most serviceable for many angle requirements.
- Tar Paper – Tar paper rolls and hot tar or torch-down is best if a lower pitch ranging from 1/12 up to 3/12 is involved; it is commonly used for industrial buildings and contemporary styled houses. Shingles don't work properly on such a low slope since water won't drain fast enough which allows moisture to permeate the structure and encourages moss and algae growth.
There are several variables to be considered when determining a roof's pitch and which materials to use, of which cost is primary. Even the slightest change to pitch affects the overall construction costs. For instance, choosing a 9/12 pitch rather than an 8/12 can add up to four percent to building costs because other construction materials such as rafters, sheathing and underlayment also increase by four percent. Before making even a small slope change, the cost for that change must be considered.
Weather and location must also be recognized. For areas with a lot of rain and snowfall, a steep roof is more practical. Research local building codes to learn about area slope requirements.
Understanding which pitch and materials are best suited for a building design helps in a roof's planning phase, especially when consulting a local contractor. The best design options for that particular area will ensure that a job is done with high-quality workmanship and provide many years of worry-free service!
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