A Blog for the Tech Savvy Roofer

Effectively Measuring Pitch

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If you’ve ever listened to a child play a recorder, then you know that pitch is key to a good rendition of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. While an off-pitch recorder can hurt your ears, bad pitch values can destroy your roof measurements’ accuracy. Over-ordering or under-ordering materials from inaccurate measurements can cause a job’s cost to balloon and create delays. In this week’s blog, we cover why the pitch is so essential to roof measurements, why you should use tools when gauging pitch, and what tools are available to you today.

The Importance of Pitch

If you’ve been in the industry for any amount of time, you know that pitch brings complexity to your roof measurements. If you look at a typical roof diagram – top-down, two-dimensional – it can look pretty simple. It’s only when you add the pitch value to the diagram that it reflects the three-dimensional aspect of the roof, and gives you accurate measurements.

Two-dimensional roof diagrams need three-dimensional measurements!

For those of you who are new to the industry, the roof pitch is defined as the slope of the roof plane in relation to level ground and is usually expressed in inches of rise, over inches of run. Common values range from 4/12 (four inches of rise over twelve inches of run) to 9/12, which is the beginning of “steep-sloped” roof designations. 

Without a pitch value on a two-dimensional diagram, you’re missing out on the increase the pitch brings to your hips, rakes, step walls, and valleys, as well as the material you’ll need to cover those lines. 

Use a Pitch Gauge

Now that you understand why the pitch is so essential, we can discuss how to go about measuring it. We know there are some seasoned roofers out there who would win a lot of bets on eyeballing roof pitch, but we suggest using a tool to ensure against errors. There are physical and digital pitch gauges out there and we’ll tell you more about how our digital pitch gauge works in the next section.

The reason you shouldn’t rely on eyeballing or estimate the pitch value is pretty apparent: accuracy. Many modern residential homes have roofs with multiple pitch values, and roof features like dormers or dutch gables can complicate matters further. For reliable accurate measurements that you can confidently order materials from, it’s best to measure every roof plane’s pitch.

But how can you measure pitch remotely?

RoofSnap’s Remote Pitch Tool

As we said before, there are many physical pitch tools on the market, but we’re passionate about bringing digital solutions to the roofing industry. With our iOS mobile app, you can bring a pitch gauge to almost any address; it won’t matter if you’re on-site or measuring from miles away.

When you create a project in RoofSnap, you start by entering the property’s address into the software. Then we pull in the high definition and satellite imagery available for that location (you can always upload your own drone image of the property too). You create your roof diagram with a few simple taps, and when you’re ready to apply pitch, hit the Apple imagery or Google Street View icon on your screen. 

Bring up RoofSnap’s pitch card to find your roof pitch remotely!

From your chosen imagery source, tap the compass icon on the screen to bring up your digital pitch card. You can then move and scale the card to fit the structure of the roof you’re measuring and accurately gauge all of the roof planes. Once you’ve measured the pitch, you can pop back into your roof diagram and apply the pitch values with another tap. RoofSnap will then apply that pitch value to the impacted linear measurements for you, so no more math!

We hope this serves as a good starting point for those readers that are new to the roofing industry. Measuring and calculating pitch can be complicated to learn, and who can remember anything from their algebra class after all this time? That’s why our team is dedicated to creating a simpler and faster way to measure and estimate your roofing projects.

If you’d like to learn more about our pitch tools, or any of RoofSnap’s other features, we’d love to hear from you. Schedule a demo with our team, and we’ll show you how you can bring the power of technology to your company.

Thanks for reading, and as always,

Happy Snapping!