Roof Pitch Question!!!

devinmom815May 7, 2011

I'm in the planning process working with an architect. I keep expressing that I would like a nice roof height, but don't want it to be too expensive. The question my architect is asking, do I want a 6/12, 7/12 or 8/12 roof pitch. I'm not sure which I should be choosing. The home that I'm looking into building is a 3800 sf total single story. Ceiling heights will probably be 16 entry foyer area, 10 and 12 in other areas around the house. I don't want too much wasted space and I don't want to go overboard with the truss purchase. If anyone will, please provide me with your roof pitch, maybe a picture of your house, and if you know, I would like to know how much your trusses cost. Thank you guys so much in advance for the information. I really appreciate finding the website, very useful information here!

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The pitch is very important especially depending on the style of house you're building. Knowing the house style would be very beneficial in answering your question (i.e. a French style home would have a significantly steeper pitch than a Spanish style home). The higher the top number, the steeper the roof pitch. The numbers actually refer to how many inches the roof rises (top number) per 12" (bottom number)of run.

So a 6/12 pitch would give you 6" of rise for every foot of run, while a 10/12 will give you 10" of rise for every foot of run.

As far as the trusses, I would check with your builder as many builders today prefer not to use trusses, but to stick build the attic area. So it may not make as much of a difference in the attic area, but it could impact the cost of the roof itself - shingles, sheathing, etc.

I've attached pics of our elevations with 6/12, 10/12 & 12/12 roof pitches for you. The gable over the porch is a 6/12, the gable of the garage is a 12/12 & the main part of the house is a 10/12. Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 11:19PM
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It really depends upon the overall style of the house, and to a lesser extent, what is common in your area. Here in FL, roofs are fairly flat, and steep roofs look out of place. A flat roof in New England would look equally odd.

As far as cost- the material cost goes up incrementally, and framing costs are only a small fraction of the total build. But- there is a point at which roofing costs go up steeply (pun intended) because of the increased difficulty and risk of working on a steep roof. I couldn't really tell you at what point that would be. I can still walk around on an 8/12 pitch, but its a little spooky- I'm not a roofer!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 9:10AM
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Part of the cost of truss design is for the loads the roof is required to hold.

In snow areas lower pitched roofs cost more (they do not transfer the snow load as efficiently as higher pitched roofs).

The use of trusses instead of a framed roof also precludes almost all use of the attic space for anything, even storage of boxes) since it is a forest of truss members that CANNOT be altered with engineering approval.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 9:58AM
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I would drive around around your neighborhood and take pictures of what you like or look at your inpiraton pictures. It really depends on the style of the home.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 10:29AM
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Our somewhat 'Frenchy' house north of Chicago has a 10/12 roof. We live single-story with 2900 assessed sq ft -- plus garage and screened porch under roof. Our attic can become another 3000 sq ft of BR's, baths, etc. with the addition of dormers. That's possible because we did NOT use truss construction. The price was only slightly higher to do stick-built -- and have useable space. (We're on an acre+. Most of the homes in the neighborhood are permitted 6000 sq ft.; some on larger lots are 12,000.)

Is there a height restriction in your municipality? What is the building code requirement for snow load? (From the ceiling heights you mention, I'm guessing there IS no 'snow load' where you are building, and you will be *cooling*, not heating the space!)

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 11:28AM
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"I don't want too much wasted space"

3,800 sq ft single story and 16' high ceilings are a total waste of space. What do you neet that for?

Each occupant neeeds 400 square feet. Guests, about 250. Unless you have a family of 10, you are wasting money building a huge house for nothing.

In this economy you'd be better off building 2 houses for the money. I really think the super-sized American dream home is dying. It is just not sustainable.

If you actually need that much space, it may just be cheaper to get a divorce.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 5:41PM
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I'll stay out of the roof pitch discussion, since that's been well-addressed, IMO.

But I'd urge caution on 12' ceilings. I lived with them, and LOVED them for the first two weeks or so. After that, I realized that the rooms just never felt right -- the proportions were wrong. The powder room was an elevator shaft. The kitchen (probably 12' wide) felt like a hallway. The family room had no 'cozy'. All of the doors needed to be 8' or they'd have looked awful. And painting or changing a lightbulb was a nightmare.

Honestly 9' or 10' is plenty high --

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 8:30PM
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Forgive me for saying it but it doesn't appear that you are getting much useful design advice from your architect. You need sketches or 3D computer models with different roof slopes and that's not something anyone else can do for you.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 3:22PM
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I was thinking the same thing.. You hire a design professional for a reason. Ask these questions of them. They should be able to show you many examples and explain the pros and cons as well as the appropriate pitch for the design style. After 8/12 you typically start paying a premium due to roofing crews needing to use ladder jacks because it is too steep to walk on. Extra time to do so costs more money along with more materials.

Consult the person you are paying and if they cant guide might want to un-hire them

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 7:52PM
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Aidan m, everyone has their own preference of what square footage they want their house. If this is what we want and we are blessed to be able to afford it, I don't see what is your problem with it. I have seen and read post from numerous members who are building and their homes are much bigger than the one we are planning to build. My question was about the roof pitch, not about what size house you think my family need.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 11:48AM
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Some people believe it is their right to decide what is good for you or others and to express their view on it. If you want it, can afford it, take care of it Go for it. Lets not forget all the people and suppliers you support and give work ( money) to that supports the economy. It is all relative anyway as you will always find someone with less than you who thinks you have more than you need or they have.

Enjoy your new home.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 2:20PM
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ARE you building in a warm climate? (The high ceilings.)

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 12:45PM
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mydreamhome- I thought this was very helpful info. I am not at this stage of planning just yet but I am sure I will come back to reread this when I am.

devinmom-Build what you want! You are paying for it and have to live in it. Do what makes you happy.:)

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 1:04PM
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