Steep Or Low Pitch? Which Roof Is Best For Your New Home?

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Are you building a new home? Are you in the early stages of the design process? Designing and building your own home can be an exciting experience. You've probably given considerable thought to what you want the home to look like. One area you may not have considered is the home's roof. You'll need to decide early on whether you want a steep or low pitched roof. Pitch is the number of inches the roof rises for every foot in horizontal roof space. It's expressed in inches. For example, a 6/12 roof is one that rises six inches for every 12 inches of horizontal roof space. Here are the most important factors to consider when designing your home's roof:

Desired appearance. Generally, steep pitch roofs offer a more dramatic appearance than low-pitched roofs. Also, popular design elements like shingles are more suitable for steeper roofs than low-pitched roofs. Shingles help water run off the roof. If the roof doesn't have much slope, those shingles may just present cracks and other areas where water can accumulate. If you want a dramatic, shingled roof, then a steeper slope is likely the best choice.

However, your roof's slope should also be consistent with your home's overall style. A large, steep roof may look out of place on a ranch. There are some home styles, such as southwestern ranches, where flat and low slope roofs are the norm. Consider your home's overall appearance when choosing your roof slope.

Cost. In nearly every scenario, steep roofs cost more than low-pitch roofs. There are a few reasons for this. First, steep roofs take up more square footage than low-pitch roofs. That means they require more wood to build the frame. They also require more shingles and flashing to keep the roof dry. Steep roofs are also more difficult to build, which means you may have to pay for more highly-skilled labor during the construction process. Finally, a steep roof creates more internal space in your home. That's more area that you have to insulate and heat during cold weather.

Water protection. A steep roof offers a natural protection against moisture because gravity will pull the water down and off the roof. As long as your have clear gutters and sufficient protection against ice dams, you should have little risk of moisture issues with a steep roof. With a low-pitched or flat roof, you have some risk that rainwater and melted snow will pool on your roof, creating cracks which could allow water into your home. You may need to guard against that risk with strategically placed drains.

Talk to builders and roofing contractors about which option may be best for you. They can help you find the right style of roof to meet your style, budget, and maintenance concerns.