What Roof Pitch Should You Choose?

metal building roof pitch

Let us first define what a roof pitch is:

In steel building construction, roof pitch is most often applied to the angle of slope of a roof. It is defined as “rise over run”. Thus, a roof that “rises” 3 feet vertically in a “run” of 12 feet horizontally, is referred to as a 3:12 roof pitch. (see featured image)

Typically, the steeply pitched roofs are designed for heavy snow areas where some building departments may require a steeper pitch for enhanced run-off; however, the pitch requirement usually applies to building materials other than steel. With a pre-engineered steel building, the MBS (Metal Building Software) factors in the following: roof pitch, distance of column spacing and psi strength of the steel used – so that a 1:12 roof pitch building can be designed to handle a 60 lb. roof snow load equally as a 4:12 pitch.

Roof Pitch Choice

With this in mind, most customers determine their roof pitch based on

1)    Preference of a particular roof pitch appearance,

2)    Whether or not the roof is colored, and/or

3)    Matching roof pitches of existing buildings in the area.

Preference of roof pitch – If someone was raised in the North East where colonial styles homes are the norm, most likely this individual will prefer a high rise roof appearance. Accordingly, someone growing up in the South West, with a lot of low rise roof styles, will probably prefer the look of a flatter roof design.

Based on whether roof is colored – In most cases an I-beam steel building has a standard galvalume finish. To have a colored roof, factor in additional cost.  Though the galvalume finish is not unattractive, it definitely has a bland appearance at best. Consequently, most would prefer a colored roof finish versus a galvalume finish if the roof is visible.  As an illustration, the taller the building plus the angle of slope will determine whether a consumer will be able to see their roof from a curb view. One will be able to see the roof on a steeper 4:12 pitch versus a flatter 1:12 pitch building no matter the building height.

Though every company has the right to charge whatever additional charge they desire for roof coloring, the actual wholesale cost is approximately $0.30 to $0.35 sq. ft.  This equates to approximately a minimum $800 (wholesale cost) on a 40’ x 60’ (2400 sq. ft) building.

Matching look of neighboring buildings – The other determinant is matching the roof pitch rise of other buildings in the area.  As an example, if the new steel building will sit alongside a house with a steep pitch, it might be smart to match the roof pitch and color appearance as much as possible for a harmonious appeal.

All in all, deciding upon the roof pitch of your new steel building is an important factor to consider in the design phase of your inspired new project – enhancing your satisfaction of the building for decades to come!