Many people know that the roofing material you choose affects the price of the roof. For example, typically, asphalt shingles are much cheaper than metal and ceramic tiles. What many don’t realize though, is how roof pitch affects the price of a new roof.
What Is Roof Pitch?
Roof pitch is a measure of how sloped the roof is. Most residential roofs are between 3/12 and 20/12. The first number in this ratio refers to the rise of the roof in inches, while the second number is the roof in inches. The run is always 12, representing twelve inches or one foot. A 6/12 roof rises six inches for every twelve inches forward.
A low pitch roof rises no more than three inches for every twelve inches. A medium pitch roof rises between six and nine inches every twelve inches. A high pitch roof rises nine inches (or more) every 12 inches.
How Does Roof Pitch Affect The Price of Roof Work?
Typically, roofing contractors in Cincinnati and throughout the country will charge more to work on a roof with a steep roof pitch. A low pitch or walkable roof is one that can be safely walked on without more than basic safely measures. This term is typically applied to roofs with a pitch of three fourths or 8/12. The increased risk of falling means they need more safety equipment to work on such a roof. For example, a roof with a steep pitch may require the roofing company to bring out and set up scaffolding to safely remove and replace all the roofing materials. This added equipment and time naturally leads to a higher cost.
The increased safety requirements and the greater risk overall slows down work, and roofers are billing you as much for the time as the materials. You have to pay for the time they spend setting up scaffolds and rigging as well as the materials they use on the roof itself.
Another way the roof pitch affects the price of the roof is related to the materials. The steeper the roof, the more shingles you need to cover the roof. A 4/12 pitch roof needs about 2% more shingles than a 3/12 pitch roof. A 6/12 pitch roof should have the basic area of the roof multiplied by 1.12 to determine how many shingles you’ll need; it needs nearly 10% more shingles than a 3/12 roof.
More Than Just Roofing Shingles
When the roofing company is installing shingles on a steep roof, more nails will be needed to keep the shingles securely in place. Alternatively, they’ll be forced to apply roofing cement to each shingle. Their price quotes will include the greater number of nails or the higher cost of roofing cement plus the time to apply it.
Not everyone has the complex scaffolding or tools involved, so you pay more for the assistance of the few roofers who can handle a nearly vertical roof. This means the few roofing companies willing and able to handle steep roofs can command higher prices. Conversely, the safety equipment required to do the work safely means the roofing company can’t hire low skill workers to do the job. They only want to hire skilled roofers with experience setting up scaffolds correctly and experienced with a wide array of fall protection. This means that the companies are relying on more expensive labor than the companies laying out a nearly flat membrane roof. Another way they pay is through higher insurance premiums, since the odds someone dies or becomes disabled after falling off the roof is higher in their case. The higher insurance premiums are reflected in their higher price quotes. Then there’s the fact that fly by night operations will typically avoid steep roofs in favor of the faster, easier jobs available.
But How Much Does Roof Pitch Affect Price?
Let’s use a roof that’s 40 feet by 50 feet. We’ll say it is a simple roof, a single layer roof with a basic one layer tear-off. For a flat roof, this job may cost around $6600+. A low slope roof could cost around $7000+ to replace. Remember that these are national averages, and the price of the work depends on local labor rates and demand. This same job on a building with a 5/12 roof slope may cost around $7200+ to complete. A 9/12 roof slope will most likely cost more than $8300+ to replace. A 12/12 roof sloop will potentially cost around $10,000+ to replace.
When you have a roof that steep, the odds that there is a second level to the roof are fairly high. And that added complexity will only add to the final price tag. For example, that 5/12 roof could cost around $8000+ to replace if there’s a second level to it. A 12/12 roof with two levels could cost around $11,000+ to replace assuming the roof complexity is simple and there’s only one layer to tear off. Ironically, this means a very steep roof with two levels doesn’t cost much more than one with a single level to replace, but when you have a nearly flat roof, you’ll pay a lot more to have that second story bedroom’s roof repaired.
Shop Around For Roofing Quotes
As always, each roofing job is different. So make sure you get multiple estimates and check the qualifications and reviews of each roofer you bring out. A quality Cincinnati roofing company will provide you with a FREE ROOFING ESTIMATE.