What Roof Pitch Should You Choose?

Let us help you decide…

Let us first define what a roof pitch is:

metal building roof pitch

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, the 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-style 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 the 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 the 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. 

A final point to consider,  a colored roof has a 40-year paint warranty finish while a galvalume finish has a 30-year warranty.

The 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 with the building for decades to come!

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