The angle, or incline, of a rooftop is referred to as its pitch, and it can vary greatly depending on the type of building and its particular needs. For example, commercial buildings frequently have rooftops that are nearly flat, as this is the most efficient and cost-effective method for this particular structure. Houses are a completely different story, however. There is a reason the iconic image of a gable-roofed house has such a steep pitch to it. The fact is that while residential buildings vary widely in their construction, they can often benefit greatly from a steep roof pitch.
This is especially true in the Pacific Northwest, an area that boasts unique weather patterns and other conditions that make a steep roof an excellent option for homes. Interstate Roofing is located in the beautiful Vancouver, Washington, area, so we specialize in addressing the roofing needs of this beautiful part of the country. Below, you’ll find our top five advantages of a steep roof in the Pacific Northwest:
1. It’s Best for Rainy Weather
Here in Vancouver, Washington, we receive an average of about 42 inches of rain every year. This is above the national average, and it holds true in many parts of the Pacific Northwest, including the state of Oregon. We love the rain: it’s the reason we have our thriving forests and our legendary apple orchards. However, all of that water can really do a number on a roof.
Water is often referred to as the “universal solvent” because, given enough time, it can eat its way through just about anything, including the most advanced and well-constructed roofing materials. Stagnant puddles of water are a particular problem since they will sit there causing damage until they finally evaporate. A steep roof pitch prevents these stagnant pools from forming because it allows gravity to do the work, as the water rolls harmlessly off the roof.
2. More Storage Space
You don’t need to live in the Pacific Northwest to appreciate the importance of having a lot of storage space, but it’s certainly one of the things that homeowners here value the most. The risk of earthquakes, however, means that basements aren’t very practical in a lot of the state, forcing residents to allocate most of their storage to the attic of the home. The attic also happens to be the hub for most of the home’s HVAC system, meaning that, if you live here, you’ll need plenty of room for all of it.
A roof with a steep pitch also means more storage space: typically, the steeper the roof, the more attic space there is. Much of this space will be vertical, meaning you’ll have to work to maximize it. The best way to do this is to stack items upward in sturdy plastic boxes. Take care to ensure that your attic area is clean and not cluttered, so as not to create fire hazards or encourage an invasion by pests that may damage your property.
3. A Steep Roof Pitch Is Easier to Maintain
The roof of your home serves as a shield, blocking the elements from making their way into your home. As it does so, however, it can accumulate a great deal of wear and tear. The constant onslaught of rainwater is only one of the many threats that your roof has to deal with over the course of the year. There’s also the problem of ice to consider: if any moisture slips underneath your shingles, it can freeze there, damaging the roof as it does so.
Besides weather, there’s also physical debris to consider. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we take great pride in the fact that we have beautiful trees growing everywhere. However, these same trees can damage rooftops as leaves accumulate and pile up. Fallen branches can also create damage.
A roof with a steep pitch, however, is much less vulnerable to most of these damage types. Water will roll right off, meaning ice is much less likely to form. Leaves and branches also won’t be able to pile up on a sloped roof; they’ll simply tumble to the ground, leaving your rooftop unharmed. This will prevent a lot of the damage flat roofs are forced to endure and may reduce your maintenance costs in the long run.
4. More Energy Efficient
You probably won’t be surprised to discover that a roof with a steeper pitch has a large effect on the energy efficiency of a home. What type of pitch is most effective, however, depends a great deal on the climate you inhabit. For example, if you live in a hot and dry area, such as Arizona or New Mexico, you’ll notice that they often make use of flat roofs. That’s because a narrow pitch is more energy efficient if the area you live in is very sunny. This is different, however, if you are living in a rainy and sometimes snowy area like the Pacific Northwest.
A roof with a steeper pitch can be insulated in such a way as to create what’s known as a cold roof. This means that, even as warm air rises, the actual transfer of energy through the rooftop is minimized. This helps to keep the home warmer during the cold winter months—something homeowners in the southwestern US usually don’t need to worry about—and therefore can help to keep your heating costs down.
5. They’re More Aesthetically Pleasing
If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you are likely to appreciate beauty, at least to some degree. After all, we have it all: beaches, forests, and an impressive sense of architectural style. Homes here are far from the cookie-cutter buildings found in some other places in the United States. Buyers demand classical, Tudor Revival style homes or sometimes rustic Craftsman ones. Other popular styles include the elegant Colonial Revival or large Arts and Crafts homes. At Interstate Roofing, we specialize in the installation and repair of roofs for all these beautiful building types.
What do all these building styles have in common? You guessed it: a steep roof pitch. Originally, of course, most of these architectural designs utilized steep roofs for practical reasons, such as storage space. However, their aesthetic appeal can’t be denied, and a steep pitch makes a statement that will be sure to impress prospective buyers and increase the value of your home.
Building a new home or looking to upgrade your current home? Reach out to the experts at Interstate Roofing to discuss your steep roof pitch options.