Types of Roof Pitches

Last updated on September 23, 2023

Discover the various types of roof pitches, as we delve into their unique characteristics and benefits in this informative blog post.

As a homeowner or builder, choosing the right roof pitch for your house is crucial. The pitch of your roof not only affects the overall look of your home, but it also plays a vital role in protecting it from harsh weather conditions.

With so many different types of roof pitches available, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is best suited for your needs. In this article, we will explore the various types of roof pitches and help you make an informed decision when it comes to selecting the perfect slope for your roof.

So whether you’re building a new home or replacing an old roof, read on to discover everything you need to know about choosing the right type of roof pitch for your property!

Gable Roof

types of roof pitches

This type of roof features two sloping sides that meet at a ridge or peak, forming a triangular shape. Gable roofs are known for their simplicity and versatility, making them an excellent choice for many different architectural styles.

The steep pitch of gable roofs allows rainwater and snow to easily slide off, preventing any potential damage caused by water accumulation on your rooftop. This design provides ample attic space which can be used as storage or converted into living space.

Gable roofs come in various shapes and sizes; some have additional dormers while others feature multiple peaks or valleys. The style you choose will depend on your personal preference as well as the climate conditions in your area.

Hip Roof

It has four sloping sides that meet at the top to form a ridge. The slope of each side is usually equal in length and angle, giving it an even appearance from all sides.

Hip roofs are ideal for areas with high winds or hurricanes because they offer excellent stability and resistance against strong gusts of wind. They also provide more attic space than gable roofs due to their inward slope design.

One downside to hip roofs is that they can be more expensive to build than other types of roofing systems due to their complex design and additional materials required for installation.

Gambrel Roof

This type of roof has two slopes on each side, with the lower slope being steeper than the upper one. The design of this roof allows for more headroom and storage space in the attic, making it an ideal option for those who need extra room.

One advantage of a Gambrel roof is that it provides better ventilation compared to other types of roofs. The steep angle at which the lower slope meets with the upper one creates an opening that allows air to circulate freely through your home’s interior.

Another benefit is its durability and resistance against harsh weather conditions such as heavy snowfall or strong winds. Its unique shape helps prevent water from pooling on top, reducing damage caused by leaks or rotting over time.

Gambrel roofs are commonly found in barns and farmhouses but have become increasingly popular among modern homes due to their practicality and aesthetic appeal.

Mansard Roof

The lower slope is steeper than the upper one and often contains dormer windows to provide additional living space in an attic or garret.

This type of roofing style was popularized during the 17th century in France by architect Francois Mansart. It quickly became fashionable among wealthy homeowners due to its unique design that allowed for more usable living space under the roof.

Mansard roofs are still commonly used today in both residential and commercial buildings because of their practicality and aesthetic appeal. They offer ample headroom while maximizing interior space, making them ideal for homes with limited square footage or those looking to add extra rooms without expanding their footprint.

When it comes to choosing roofing materials for a mansard-style roof, there are several options available such as asphalt shingles, metal panels or tiles. However, due to its complex design and steep angles at which water runs off from it; proper installation is crucial when selecting any material option so that they can withstand harsh weather conditions over time.

Flat Roof

It is often used in commercial and industrial buildings, but it can also be found on some residential properties. Flat roofs are typically covered with a membrane roofing system made from materials such as PVC, TPO, or EPDM.

One of the benefits of having a flat roof is that it provides additional space for outdoor activities like gardening or entertaining guests. However, one major drawback to this type of roofing system is its tendency to collect water if not properly installed and maintained.

To prevent water damage from occurring on your flat roof, regular inspections should be conducted by professionals who specialize in this area. They will check for any signs of wear and tear such as cracks or leaks which could lead to costly repairs down the line.

What Roof Pitch Is

It is measured by the rise, which is the vertical distance from the top of a wall plate to the highest point on your roof, and run, which is half of your building’s width. The pitch can be expressed in two ways: as a ratio or as an angle.

The ratio method expresses pitch as x/12 where x represents how many inches vertically your roof rises for every 12 inches horizontally (run). For example, if you have a 6/12 pitched roof that means it rises six inches for every twelve horizontal feet.

The angle method measures pitch in degrees. To calculate this measurement accurately requires some trigonometry skills; however, there are online calculators available that can do this calculation for you.

Knowing what type of roofing material will work best with different pitches will help ensure longevity and durability over time.

How to Calculate Roof Pitch

To calculate your roof pitch, you will need a level, measuring tape, and a pencil.

Firstly, measure 12 inches from one end of the level and make a mark. Place this end against the underside of your roof’s decking or rafters at its highest point.

Next, hold up the other end until it is level with where you made that first mark on your 12-inch ruler.

Now measure vertically from where that second point meets with rafter or decking to get an accurate measurement for rise (height). This number represents how many inches high each foot runs horizontally across one side (run) – so if there are ten feet between two points on opposite sides then multiply by ten!

Once you have both measurements in hand – rise and run – divide them by twelve to determine what’s known as “pitch.” The resulting number will be expressed as X/12; for example: if rise equals six feet while run measures twenty-four feet long then pitch would equal 6/24 which simplifies down nicely into “1/4” meaning every inch along horizontal distance covers quarter-inch vertical height difference.

Roof Pitches and Roofing Materials

Different materials are better suited to different pitches, and choosing the right one can help ensure that your roof lasts longer and performs better.

For example, asphalt shingles are a popular choice for roofs with a moderate pitch (between 4/12 to 20/12). They’re affordable, easy to install, and come in a wide range of colors.

Metal roofing is another option that works well on roofs with steep pitches (5/12 or higher) because it’s durable and sheds snow easily.

Flat roofs require special attention when it comes to selecting materials since they don’t have any slope at all. TPO or PVC membranes work best on flat roofs because they provide excellent waterproofing properties while also being lightweight enough not to put too much stress on the structure below.

Very Low Roof Pitches: .25/12 to 3/12

These types of roofs have a nearly flat slope and require special roofing materials to prevent water from pooling on the surface. Flat roofs fall under this category as well.

While very low roof pitches may not be ideal for areas with heavy rainfall or snowfall, they do offer several benefits such as ease of installation and maintenance. They also provide a sleek modern look that many homeowners find appealing.

When it comes to choosing roofing materials for very low pitch roofs, there are several options available including built-up roofing (BUR), modified bitumen (MB), single-ply membranes like TPO or PVC, metal panels with standing seams or even asphalt shingles designed specifically for these types of applications.

It’s important to note that while these materials can work well on very low pitch roofs when installed correctly by an experienced professional roofer; improper installation can lead to leaks and other issues down the line.

Low Roof Pitches: 2.5/12 to 19/12

These types of roofs are commonly found on sheds, porches, and other small structures. They have a low slope angle which makes them ideal for areas with mild weather conditions.

One advantage of low roof pitches is that they require less material than steeper roofs, making them more cost-effective to install and maintain over time. However, it’s important to note that these types of roofs may not be suitable for areas with heavy snow or rainfall as the pitch can cause water buildup leading to leaks.

When choosing roofing materials for a low-pitched roof, it’s essential to select ones specifically designed for this type of slope angle such as rolled asphalt or modified bitumen roofing systems.

Normal or Moderate Roof Pitches: 4/12 to 20/12

They offer a good balance between functionality and aesthetics, making them an ideal choice for many homeowners. A moderate pitch is defined as having a slope between 4/12 and 20/12.

A moderate pitch provides adequate drainage while still allowing for ample headroom in the attic space. This makes it easier to install insulation, ductwork, and other components that may be necessary for your home’s heating and cooling systems.

When it comes to roofing materials, there are plenty of options available that work well with moderate pitches. Asphalt shingles are one of the most popular choices due to their affordability and durability.

Metal roofs also work well on moderately pitched roofs because they shed snow easily without accumulating too much weight.

High Roof Pitches: 5/12 to 12/12

High pitches range from 5/12 to 12/12 and are commonly found in areas with heavy snowfall or rainfall.

A steep slope allows water, ice, and debris to slide off quickly without accumulating on the surface of your roof. This reduces the risk of leaks or damage caused by standing water.

High-pitched roofs provide more space in attics than low-slope roofs.

However, it’s important to note that installing a high-pitched roof requires more materials and labor compared to other types of roofing systems due to its complexity. It also means higher costs associated with maintenance as well as repairs if any issues arise.

Very High Roof Pitches: 18/12

These steeply pitched roofs not only add to the aesthetic appeal of a building but also serve practical purposes such as shedding snow and rainwater quickly. However, very high roof pitches can be challenging to work with during installation or repair due to their height and angle.

If you have a property with a very high pitch roof, it’s essential to hire experienced roofing professionals who specialize in working on steep slopes. They will have the necessary equipment and expertise needed for safe installation or repair of your roofing system.

When selecting materials for your very high pitch roof, consider options that are durable enough to withstand harsh weather conditions while still maintaining their structural integrity over time. Metal roofs are an excellent choice for these types of roofs because they offer superior durability while being lightweight enough not to put too much stress on the structure.

If you’re considering installing or repairing a very high pitch roof on your property – whether residential or commercial – it’s crucial that you consult with professional roofing contractors who understand how best to handle this type of project safely and efficiently.

Roofing Materials At a Glance

Each type of roofing material has its own unique characteristics and benefits that make them suitable for different types of roofs and climates. Here’s a quick overview of some popular roofing materials:

Asphalt shingles: This is one of the most common types of roofing materials used in residential properties due to their affordability, durability, and ease-of-installation.

Metal Roofing: Metal roofs are becoming increasingly popular among homeowners due to their longevity (they can last up to 50 years), energy efficiency, fire resistance, low maintenance requirements.

Clay or Concrete Tiles: These tiles offer excellent insulation against heat transfer while providing an aesthetically pleasing look that complements Mediterranean-style homes.

Slate Roofing: Slate is a natural stone with exceptional durability that can last over 100 years if properly maintained. It’s also resistant to fire damage and provides excellent insulation against heat transfer.

Wood Shakes or Shingles: Wood shakes or shingles provide a rustic look but require more maintenance than other types since they’re susceptible to rotting from moisture buildup over time.

What Are The Most Common Types of Roof Pitch?

The most common types of roof pitches include low-slope, conventional, and steep slope roofs.

Low-slope roofs have a pitch of less than 2/12 and are commonly found on commercial or industrial buildings. Conventional roofs have a moderate pitch ranging from 4/12 to 20/12 and are often used in residential construction.

Steep slope roofs typically range from 5/12 to as high as 18/12 and can be found on both residential and commercial properties.

The type of roofing material you choose will also play a significant role in determining the appropriate roof pitch for your home or building. For example, asphalt shingles work well with conventional pitched roofs while flat roofing systems require very low slopes.


The most common types of roof pitches for residential properties are gable, hip, gambrel, and mansard roofs. Gable roofs have two sloping sides that meet at the ridge or peak of the roof.

Hip roofs have four sloping sides that converge at a point on top of the house.

Gambrel roofs are similar to gable but feature two different slopes on each side instead of one uniform slope. Mansard Roofs also known as French Roofs has four slopes – two steep ones on either side and two shallow ones above them.

Commercial and Industrial

These types of structures are typically larger in size, which means that the roof must be able to support more weight. Commercial and industrial roofs may need to accommodate HVAC systems or other equipment on the rooftop.

Flat roofs are a popular choice for commercial and industrial buildings because they provide ample space for equipment while also being easy to maintain. However, flat roofs do require regular inspections and maintenance to prevent leaks from occurring.

Another common type of roof pitch used in commercial settings is low-slope roofing. This style features a slight incline that allows water runoff but still provides enough space for equipment installation.

When it comes to selecting the right type of roof pitch for your commercial or industrial building, it’s important to consider factors such as building size, intended use, climate conditions in your area as well as local zoning regulations.

Mono-pitch Roof

This type of roofing design is commonly used for modern and contemporary homes and buildings. Mono-pitch roofs are popular because they offer simplicity in design while still providing adequate protection from the elements.

One of the benefits of a mono-pitch roof is its versatility when it comes to placement on your property. It can be installed at various angles depending on your preference and location requirements such as solar panel installation.

Another advantage of this type of roofing system is that it allows for efficient water drainage since there’s only one slope to consider. This means you won’t have to worry about pooling water or leaks caused by standing water during heavy rainfalls.

When choosing materials for your mono-pitched roof, you’ll want to select those with high durability since they will be exposed directly to harsh weather conditions like wind, sun exposure, snow loads etcetera.

Low Vs. Conventional Vs. Steep

One way to categorize roof pitches is by their slope or angle. Generally speaking, there are three main categories: low-slope roofs (2/12 – 4/12), conventional roofs (4/12 – 9/12), and steep-slope roofs (9/12 or greater).

Low-slope roofs are typically found on commercial buildings but can also be used on residential properties with flat designs. They have a slight incline that allows water runoff but not enough for shingles or other roofing materials that require a steeper pitch.

Conventional slopes are what most people think of when they picture a typical house roof; they’re neither too shallow nor too steep. This type of slope is ideal for areas with moderate rainfall since it provides adequate drainage while still being easy to walk on.

Steep slopes offer excellent drainage capabilities due to their high angle; however, they may not be suitable for all types of roofing materials because some cannot withstand extreme angles without damage.


These types of roofs are commonly found on commercial and industrial buildings but can also be used in residential properties.

One advantage of low-slope roofing is that it provides additional space for rooftop installations such as solar panels or HVAC units. However, they require special attention to drainage systems to prevent water from pooling on the roof surface.

When choosing materials for a low-slope roof, it’s important to consider their ability to withstand ponding water and UV rays exposure over time. Some popular options include built-up roofing (BUR), modified bitumen (MB), single-ply membranes like TPO or PVC.


They typically range from 4/12 to 9/12, with a slope that rises four inches vertically for every twelve inches horizontally. This pitch is ideal for areas with moderate rainfall and snowfall as it allows water and snow to slide off easily without causing any damage.

A conventional roof pitch provides ample space in the attic area, making it perfect for storage or converting into additional living space. It also offers excellent ventilation, which helps regulate temperature and prevent moisture buildup.

When choosing roofing materials for a conventional pitched roof, homeowners have many options available such as asphalt shingles, metal roofing tiles or panels, wood shakes or shingles among others.

Steep Slope

These types of roofs are commonly found in areas with heavy snowfall and rainfall, as they allow for water to quickly run off the roof. Steep slope roofs also provide additional living space in the attic area, making them popular among homeowners who want to maximize their home’s square footage.

However, steep slope roofs require more materials and labor during installation than low-slope or conventional pitched roofs. They also require regular maintenance due to their increased exposure to wind and weather conditions.

When choosing roofing materials for a steep slope roof, it’s important to select products that can withstand high winds and heavy rain/snow loads. Some common roofing materials used on steep slopes include asphalt shingles, metal panels/tiles/shingles (such as copper or zinc), slate tiles/shingles (natural stone), clay tiles (terra cotta) or concrete tiles.

How Can I Tell What Pitch My Roof Is?

Fortunately, there are several ways to determine your roof’s pitch. One way is by using a ladder and measuring tape to measure the rise (height) and run (horizontal distance) of your roof from outside.

Another method involves using an online calculator that requires you to input measurements such as rafter length, ridge height, or slope angle.

If you’re unsure about how to determine your roof’s pitch accurately, consider hiring a professional roofer who can provide expert advice on what type of roofing material will work best for your specific needs.

Knowing what type of pitch you have will also help in identifying any potential issues with water pooling or improper ventilation that could lead to costly repairs down the line. So take some time today and figure out what kind of slope sits atop your home!


What are the different types of pitch roofs?

Answer: The three types of pitched roofs are Single Roofs, Double or Purlin Roofs, and Trussed Roofs.

What is a 7 pitch roof?

A 7 pitch roof is a roof with an incline that increases seven feet for every 12 feet of horizontal measurement.

What is the most attractive roof pitch?

The most attractive roof pitch is a steeper slope, as it is visually pleasing and provides increased durability by allowing water runoff and preventing ice damming, though it may be costlier and impractical for larger buildings.

What is a 4 and 12 roof pitch?

A 4:12 roof pitch indicates that the roof rises 4 inches for every 12 inches of horizontal run, making it steeper and more difficult to work on compared to lower pitched roofs.

What factors should be considered when choosing a roof pitch?

When choosing a roof pitch, consider factors such as local climate, desired style and design, potential for solar installation, compatibility with the building, cost, and materials.

How does climate impact the choice of roof pitch?

Climate impacts the choice of roof pitch as areas prone to heavy snowfall require steeper roofs to promote snow shedding, while regions with heavy rainfall benefit from moderately steep roofs to drain water effectively.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of steep vs. shallow roof pitches?

Advantages and disadvantages of steep vs. shallow roof pitches include better water drainage and snow shedding in steep roofs, while shallow roofs are more wind resistant and require fewer materials.