Choosing the Best Roofing Material for the Pitch of Your Roof

Getting a new roof is a smart and sensible investment. It will protect your home from the effects of inclement weather, and it will contribute to your property’s energy efficiency. Before you commit to the project, you may be thinking about the possibilities of choosing a new type of roofing material. Perhaps you have grown tired of your old asphalt aesthetic and would like a color metal roof. Or, you want to add the rustic durability of wood shake or the sheer staying power of slate.


Before your mind races with the possibilities, it’s important to get grounded in the fact that not all materials for residential roofing in Arnold, MO, may be compatible with your property. While a lot of factors can influence your choices in roofing materials, one stands out from the rest: pitch.


The pitch is the slope of your roof. Within the roofing business, the pitch is expressed as a ratio, like 2/12 or 7/12. The numerator refers to the height of the roof while the denominator expresses the length. Although these appear as fractions, they can’t be reduced or simplified.


The pitch of a roof indicates how much of a rise there is in a roof over a 12-unit horizontal distance. For instance, a ratio of 7/12 would mean that for every 12 feet of length, the roof rises by 7 feet. You can then deduce that the higher the numerator is, the higher the pitch of the roof.


Pitch is important because roofing materials behave differently when placed at different pitches. If a material were to be installed on an incompatible pitch, then your roofing may not perform properly. Your home would be more susceptible to leaks, wind damage, and even losses in energy efficiency. Below is a list of common roofing materials and the pitch ranges for which they are compatible:

  • Built-Up (BUR): .25/12 to 3/12
  • Torch-Down Roofing: .25/12 to 3/12
  • Rubber Membrane: .25/12 to 3/12
  • Standing-Seam Metal: 1/12 to 19/12
  • Clay or Cement Tiles: 2.5/12 to 19/12
  • Asphalt (Composite) Shingles: 4/12 to 20/12
  • Wood and Slate Shingles: 5/12 to 12/12


Finding the right roofing material for your project can be tricky. However, by working with an experienced residential roofing contractor, you will gain the assistance and knowledge you need to make the right decisions.