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How to Find the Pitch of a Roof

Roofs come in all shapes and sizes, but what exactly is their pitch, and why does it matter? Whether you're a homeowner embarking on a DIY project or a professional roofer aiming for precision, understanding how to find the pitch of a roof is fundamental. Don't worry if you're not well-versed in construction jargon; we'll break it down step by step.

by Kelsi Waible | March 26, 2024 | Roofing

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What is Roof Pitch?

Before delving into the methods of finding roof pitch, let's clarify what it actually means. Roof pitch, also known as roof slope, refers to the angle or steepness of a roof. It's typically represented as a ratio, indicating the vertical rise in inches for every 12 inches of horizontal run. For instance, a pitch of 6:12 means the roof rises 6 inches vertically for every 12 inches horizontally.

Method 1: The Basic Approach

One of the simplest methods to find the pitch of a roof involves a ladder, a measuring tape, and a helper for safety. Here's how to do it:

  1. Position the ladder: Place the ladder securely against the side of the house, ensuring it's stable and extends past the eaves for safety.

  2. Measure the run: Climb the ladder and measure the horizontal distance (run) from the exterior wall to the point where the roof meets it.

  3. Measure the rise: Using a long level or a straight board, extend it horizontally from the point where the roof meets the wall. Measure vertically from the end of this board to the roof's peak. This measurement represents the rise.

  4. Calculate the pitch: Once you have both the run and the rise, plug the values into the pitch formula: pitch = rise ÷ run. This will give you the pitch ratio.

Method 2: The Inside-Out Method

If climbing ladders isn't your cup of tea or if the roof is inaccessible, you can still determine the pitch from inside your attic. Here's how:

  1. Locate a rafter: Find a roof rafter within your attic that's easily accessible and preferably not obscured by insulation.

  2. Measure the rise: Using a measuring tape, measure the vertical distance from the bottom of the rafter to the point where it meets the ridge board or peak of the roof. This measurement represents the rise.

  3. Measure the run: Measure the horizontal distance from the bottom of the rafter to the point where it intersects with the exterior wall. This measurement is your run.

  4. Calculate the pitch: Just like in the previous method, plug the rise and run values into the pitch formula: pitch = rise ÷ run.


Knowing how to find the pitch of a roof is essential for various reasons, from estimating materials to ensuring proper drainage and ventilation. By following these straightforward methods, you can confidently determine the pitch of any roof, empowering yourself for your next roofing project or aiding in discussions with roofing professionals. So, grab your measuring tape and get ready to decode the mystery of roof pitches!

Journeyman Exteriors is your trusted partner for professional roof replacement services in Clark and Cowlitz Counties.

Here's why homeowners choose us:

  1. Local Expertise: With years of experience, we understand the unique challenges and requirements of roofing projects in this area.

  2. Quality Workmanship: Our team consists of skilled professionals committed to delivering top-notch workmanship using premium materials and industry-best practices.

  3. Personalized Solutions: We work closely with each client to understand their needs and preferences, offering tailored solutions that align with their budget and aesthetic preferences.

  4. Transparent Pricing: At Journeyman Exteriors, we believe in transparency. We provide detailed quotes upfront, ensuring there are no surprises during the project.

  5. Customer Satisfaction: Your satisfaction is our priority. We strive to exceed your expectations at every stage of the project, from initial consultation to project completion.

Get Started Today!

Ready to embark on your roof replacement journey? Contact Journeyman Exteriors today for a free consultation and estimate to learn more about our services and schedule an appointment. Let us help you achieve a durable, aesthetically pleasing roof that enhances the value and curb appeal of your home.

Don't delay securing your home's protection and beauty. Trust Journeyman Exteriors to deliver exceptional roofing solutions tailored to your needs. Contact us today and experience the difference of working with a reliable, customer-focused roofing contractor.

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