Re-roofing projects aren’t something you do regularly. Many homeowners consider a new roof as a once in a lifetime investment. Whether it remains a one-time expense depends mostly on the roof materials that you select upon installation.

Nowadays, there are too many types and styles of roofing materials available in the market. As a result, choosing the right one for your roof becomes a more complicated task. There is no simple way to determine which material reigns supreme as each one brings something different to the table. The sensible choice for one household may not be suitable for another.

For this reason, each homeowner needs to consider different factors when making a decision. While most homeowners focus on cost and appearance, it’s also essential to consider the roof pitch as well. Understanding the pitch of your roof and how it impacts the roofing material is very important. We sat down with a roofer in Morgantown, WV and this is what they said about the topic.

Roof Pitch Basics

Roof pitch indicates the steepness of the roof. It’s typically comprised of two numbers in the form of either a fraction or a ratio. In the form of a fraction, the numerator represents the vertical measurement or height. In contrast, the denominator represents the horizontal measurement or length of the roof.

Meanwhile, in ratio form, the first number refers to the height of the roof, while the second number is the length of the roof.

For instance, a roof pitch of 5/12 or 5:12 means that the roof rises 5 feet vertically for every 12 horizontal feet of change. The roof pitch will always be regarded as the amount of increase in the roof’s height over a 12-unit horizontal distance.

The roof pitch of residential properties typically ranged from 4/12 to 9/12, with 6/12 being the most common. However, there are also properties with a nearly flat roof or an extremely steep roof. Flat roofs can have a pitch of as low as .25/12, while high pitch roofs range from 9/12 to 18/12.

Roof Pitch Styles and Roofing Materials

The primary importance of the roof pitch is for estimating the correct amount of material needed for the job. It also dictates the roofing material suited for a structure. Some materials work better for different types of roof pitch. A homeowner with more knowledge about the various roof pitch would have a better understanding of roofing materials and what will work best on their home.

Flat Roofs or Low-pitch roofs

Flat roofs are commonly associated with commercial and industrial buildings. For residential properties, the norm is to build pitched roofs to achieve a homey appearance. Although, it’s becoming a more standard design of choice for modern, sleek, and contemporary homes.

Flat roofs are not actually flat. Visually, it only appears flat, but these roofs have a slight angle to allow the drainage of water. Still, flat roofs are much less efficient at allowing the run-off of rain and snow, making them more prone to leaks. It’s why low-pitched roofs aren’t typical in areas with extreme weather as water and snow buildup can put their homes at risk.

As a result, flat roofs cannot be covered with traditional materials unless it’s fitted with single-ply or built-up roofing. Standing seam metal is an excellent option for these houses. Commercial grade applications such as rubber, roll, and tar and gravel roofing also works best with a flat or low-pitch roof.

Average pitch roof

Most residential properties have an average-pitch roof that ranges from 4/12 to 8/12. A medium-pitch gives you ample choices in materials while providing enough slope to keep rain and snow from accumulating on the roof. While it still needs periodic inspections, this is where most roofing choices exist.

Clay or cement tiles, wood and slate shingles, and asphalt shingles are some of the best materials for this type of roof pitch. Asphalt composite shingles are among the most popular roofing material on the market as well as the most serviceable in terms of roof pitch. Roofs with an average pitch can easily accommodate this type of material.

High-pitch roofs

High pitch roofs are characterized through its steep inclines and sharp angles. These homes have a roof height that changes drastically over the length of the roofing, so if you look at the numbers, you’ll find that the roof pitch with a greater numerator than the denominator like 18/12 or 20/12.

High-pitch roofs are more efficient for drainage but are the most expensive roof systems to install and maintain. It requires materials that are light, lock tightly, and cheap to cover the large roof area. Some of the best roofing materials for this roof pitch include clay or cement tiles and composite or asphalt shingles.

Some shingles that can be used for an average pitch can also be suitable for a high pitch roof. For instance, wood or slate shingles are also well-suited for a 5/12 pitch, but it can be installed on a roof for 12/12 as well.

However, some materials like slate and tile are heavy enough to only work for pitches up to 9/12. Installing them on a much steeper roof can compromise their performance.

Fahey Roofing Contractors has the experienced and skilled contractors you need to help you with any necessary roof repairs and roof replacement. We serve various areas in West Virginia and Ohio. Visit our website today at or contact us at (304) 826-1323 for West Virginia or (740) 523-0380 for Ohio to learn more.