Spike's Calculators

The roof's pitch is the height (rise) obtained after a certain distance (run). Typically, the pitch of a roof is expressed as the amount of rise measured in inches in a one-foot run (12 inches). For example, in 6: 12, for every 12 inches of horizontal length, the roof height increases by 6 inches.

There are several ways of getting the pitch; the easiest way is using a framing square.

The L-shaped framing square has a body (wider part) and a tongue(skinny part).

Place the ladder where you can safely reach the roof on the gable side. Set the square's body at the 12-inch mark level across from the roof's edge. Read the measurement on the square's tongue, where it is even with the top of the roof. Take both these measurements from the same sides, e.g. if you are using the bottom of a square horizontally, then read the tongue measurement on the outside. If you use the top of the body, read the tongue measurement inside the square.

Suppose if you don't have a square, draw an imaginary level line (a) inward from the roof's edge. @ 12 inches measure vertically upwards from this line to the roof's edge for the rise measurement. The gable overhang will make it harder to get an accurate measurement.

And another way to do it involves a bit of math

- first, measure the total length of the wall
- measure the height of the roof from the top of the wall to the peak of the roof
- measure the heel height of the truss or rafter (the height of the roof structure above the top plate of the wall)
- subtract the heel height from the height measurement (this will give you the "rise" amount)
- divide the length measurement in half (the "run" measurement. Assuming the roof slope is the same for both sides)
- divide the rise by the run

wall length = 20 feet roof height (measured from the top plate to peak) = 5 feet - 6 inches heel height = 6 inchesConvert everything to the same units to simplify the multiplication;

length: 20 * 12 = 240 inches

roof height; 5 * 12 + 6 = 66 inches

Divide the length in half;

240 ÷ 2 =120

The run is 120 inches

Subtract the heel height from the roof height;

66 - 6 = 60

The rise is 60 inches

Divide the rise by the run amount to get the amount of rise in 12 inches;

60 / 120 = 0.5The rise in 12 inches of "run" is 0.5 inches

Convert the decimal 0.5 to inches by multiplying by 12;

0.5 * 12 = 6

The pitch of your roof is 6 : 12

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