Pitch of a roof

Whats the way to determine? I have a home inspection where they
get snow, I was told by a realtor that the roof’s have to have a minimum


Take a 2’ level up with you, put one end of the level on the pitch of the roof, level it and measure from the opposite end to the roof surface. Divide that measurement by 2 and you will have the pitch expressed in the formula of
x in 12.

There is no minimum pitch, If the pitch is below 4 in 12 it is said to be low slope. These roofs must use a roofing cover designed to accommodate the lower pitch. In the same line of thought there is now such thing as a flat roof. All roofs have some slope to them or the water will not drain.

There is no minimum roof slope I am aware of other than roofing manufacturer’s requirements. But in mountain regions and other heavy snow load areas roof slope becomes more important. The lower the roof slope, the higher the loading on the roof structure.

Talk to inspectors and builders in your area to find out what minimum roof slope (e.g. 6:12) is considered “good practice” for conventional framing in your region.

And if you see a lower slope roof in a high snow load area look closely for sagging ridges, roof dishing, bowing outer walls, and other visual indications of a potential problem.


Your two sentences contradict each other. Your second sentence says “or the water will not drain” and therein lies the problem for a flat roof: the water will not drain. Just because the water should drain and there should be some sort of slope to them doesn’t mean that there is no such thing as a flat roof. In fact, almost all the apartment complexes around here have flat roofs. The one below me that I can see from my driveway is a swimming pool whenever it rains (I knew I should have taken a picture last month). I guess the roof is made to support the extra weight of water sitting on top of it. Personally, I wouldn’t want a swimming pool on top of me when I’m sleeping, but that’s just me. I find it interesting that when they convert apartment buildings to condominium buildings, they inevitably redo the roof to provide a slope to it. I guess apartment tenants just don’t rate.

“Whats the way to determine?”

I use one of these, usually visually from the ground by aliening with the rake:


The the version I got at Home Depot displays out in both degrees and x/12, and can also be used as a short level and to to provide a quick check for out-of-square doors and windows.

Try this.

Like Larry said.

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Determining Your Roof’s Slope or Pitch
The slope of your roof is determined by the vertical rise in inches for every horizontal twelve inch (12") length (called the “run”). It is expressed with the rise mentioned first and the run mentioned second. For instance, if your roof has a four inch (4") rise for every horizontal foot, then it has a “4 in 12” slope (or pitch).


A fairly easy way to determine the slope is to take a 12" level and set one end on the roof surface and make it level. Then take a tape measure or ruler and measure from the other end down to the roof surface. This will give you the slope of the roof. The slope of the roof in the following picture would be expressed as “4 in 12” or “4 on 12” and written as 4/12, 4:12, or 4":12".