At its most basic a pitched roof is a roof that slopes downwards, created using diagonal bracing. The "pitch" refers to the vertical rise in the roof's slope. In the UK, the most common construction for pitched roofs is a timber frame that is supported by masonry walls with a wall plate at the top of the wall to support the roof structure.
A ceiling joist is affixed to the wall plates to prevent the walls from spreading apart from the weight of the roof structure and roof covering and to provide support for the ceilings.
The pitch of a roof isn't uniform and it depends on the property structure that is being created. The pitch is defined as the roof's vertical rise divided by its horizontal span, so it refers to the steepness of the roof's slope.
A flat roof is, as the name suggests, usually completely flat. Technically speaking, however, they can still be described as flat if they have a low pitch slope that is less than 10 degrees.
Flat roofs (with no pitch or a very low pitch) and pitched roofs are suited to different circumstances, so it isn't really that one is any better than the other. Pitched roofs are very effective at water drainage so they are perfect for environments that have high levels of rainfall.
Flat roofs (or very low pitch roofs), however, aren't as good at dealing with water drainage so they are better suited either to places that have low levels of rainfall or to smaller structures that won't need such heavy drainage.
There isn't just a single type of pitched roof. There is a range of designs that can help support different types of structures and can give you a different look. Let's look in a little more detail about the different pitched roof options available and what they mean.
A mono-pitch roof is the sort that you would usually see on a lean-to and is the simplest form of a pitched roof. It has a single sloping surface and one edge is buttressed against a wall or building. It is created using one set of principal rafters.
This is the most common type of pitched roof. It has two slopes that meet at the central ridge. There are a variety of methods through which a double-pitch roof can be created.
A couple roof is the simplest form of a double-pitch roof. It is created by having a pair of rafters that slope upwards from opposite supporting walls. The rafters then meet on a common ridge point where they are tied together at their highest point at a common rafter.
This type of roof can't be used for a building because over a certain size, the rafters begin to spread out from each other at the bottom. So a couple roof is most commonly seen on sheds or smaller outbuildings.
A closed couple roof is similar to a normal couple roof but the common rafters are tied at the base of the feet with a horizontal length of timber.
A collar roof is created using a collar beam. This is a horizontal member that runs between two rafters to strengthen the roof structure.
A collar roof has ceiling joists that come higher than the bottom rafters. This creates space for increased storage rooms or storage spaces underneath the roof. Or the upper part of the upper rooms can be partially created within the roof space.
A purlin roof has members that span parallel to the building's eaves. These members help to support the roof's decking.
A king post is a central vertical post. It is similar to a crown post but, instead of supporting a beam above, it uses tension to support a beam that is below it.
A trussed rafter is used to create a pitched roof in a slightly different way from normal rafters. Rather than the individual rafters being placed on-site, a triangular timber framework is constructed off-site, ready to be added to the building structure.
The trussed rafter gives extra support to the roof, ceiling, or floors and is often considered an efficient solution because it is quicker and easier to install than individual traditional rafters.
There is a range of choices for covering roof pitches. These roofing materials differ from the sorts that you would use to cover flat roofs, such as those you would see on sheds or garages.
Slate roofs are a popular cover for pitched roofs and they give a more classical appearance than many other roof coverings. Slate is one of the oldest materials used for covering pitched roofs, and it gives an incredibly durable and long-lasting covering that will ensure maximum protection for your property from the elements while also lasting for, potentially, more than a decade.
Roofing tiles are a cheaper option than slates but they can also give a classic and high-quality look to your home. They are typically made of clay or concrete and they can be moulded and coloured to fit a wide variety of design choices.
Roofing tiles will typically last for decades and are waterproof, durable, and easy to maintain. Interlocking roof tiles are a more efficient method of laying tiles whereas plain tiles have to be carefully overlapped to ensure that they are waterproof.
Metal roofs are becoming more popular. Metal roof tiles are usually made from zinc or copper and it gives a more modern look to your property. Metal can't usually be used on a low pitch and they are effective at water drainage.
Many people are now adding a solar panel or two to their existing roof to help reduce their energy bills and help protect the environment. When installing a new roof, however, you can now have the choice of integrated solar panel tiles incorporated into your roof design.
It is pretty uncommon to see a thatched roof on a modern pitched roof, but they are still often constructed as part of restoration projects. It's an expensive option, but those who live in a house that has a traditional thatched roof, are often passionate about maintaining it.
A pitched roof is the most common method of creating a roof because they work so well. When you start looking into pitched roofs in more detail, however, you can see that there is a world of choices to make about construction, design, and coverings, depending on the building envelope that is being created. Get in touch with CheckaRoof today and we can help to design and install the perfect pitched roof for you.