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What Is the Standard Slope of a Roof?

Jennifer Tolbert

Just as homes come in a vast number of designs, there are also a vast number of roof slopes or pitches. There is not a standard roof slope for homes. The slope, or pitch of the roof, is an asthetic choice of a home's design, but also contributes to the type of roofing material that can be utilized.

Roofs with steeper slopes are best for climates that have a lot of snow.

Describing the Slope of a Roof

The slope of a roof is referred to as either the slope, pitch or angle of the roof. Builders in North America describe the slope as a ratio. The top number is the number of inches the roof rises for every foot of the run. The higher the numerator, the steeper the roof slope.

A roof with a pitch lower than 3/12 is considered a low pitch roof. They are cheaper to build but require maintenance more often. Most roofs as medium pitched, between 4/12 to 6/12 are the most popular roof slopes. They do not require special equipment to work on them. Anything higher than 7/12 is considered a steep pitch roof.


If you are designing a home and trying to determine what slope to design the roof, there are several factors to consider. First, the slope of the home affects its aesthetics. It is also important to think about the weather conditions. For cold, snowy climates, you will want to choose a steep roof pitch. Certain materials are only available for certain roof slopes. For example, asphalt shingles should never be used for a low pitched roof.


The slope of the roof will directly influence the cost of building and maintenance associated with your home. For example, a roof with a low slope may not allow water to run off effectively, causing pooling and eventually leaking. Alternatively, a roof with a high or steep slope will probably require specialized equipment in order to work on it. This will translate into higher costs for both initial construction and regular maintenance down the road.