When you begin working with a contractor for roof related work – be it an estimate for new gutters, a proposal for gutter cleaning, or a roofing estimate – one of the first things that they will ask you about is your home’s roof pitch. The pitch of your roof is also useful when designing an addition, installing skylights, or cutting new rake boards.
As such, roof pitch is an often misunderstood, but much needed measurement. Simply put, the angle or pitch of a roof is calculated by the number of inches it rises vertically for every 12 inches it extends horizontally. Your roof’s pitch can be determined from either inside your attic or outside your house using just a level (with a mark made at twelve inches) and a tape measure.
From The Exterior Of Your Home: On a ladder beside the roof, place the level a foot or so up the roof, hold it level, and measure from the 12-inch mark on the bottom straight down to the roof. If it measures 4 inches, you have a 4 in 12 pitch; 8 inches and you have an 8 in 12 pitch. Keep in mind, if your roof has multiple shingle layers your measurement could be slightly inaccurate.
From Inside Your Attic: In the attic, place the end of the level against the bottom of a roof rafter and hold it perfectly level. Next, measure vertically from the 12-inch mark on the level straight up to the underside of the rafter. That measurement is the number of inches the roof rises in 12 inches.
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