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What Is a Pitched Roof?

In a broad sense, roofs can be categorised as either a flat roof or a pitched roof. So, what is a pitched roof?

Any type of pitched roof is a roof that slopes downwards, usually in a triangular shape. Generally, it has two parts that slope away from each other from a central ridge, but it can have only one part that slopes from one edge to another (although this isn’t as common).

For a roof to be considered a pitched roof, you need to measure its ‘pitch’. A roof’s pitch is calculated by dividing its vertical rise, or height, by its length, or horizontal span.


What is the standard roof pitch? There is no set definition of what categorises a ‘pitched roof’, but generally the pitch needs to be at least 10°, although a common pitched roof would sit around 48°.

When comparing a pitched roof and a flat roof it can get confusing, as technically flat roofs aren’t actually flat. A flat roof has the appearance of being flat but needs to allow for water to run off, so it always has a slight sloping roof surface. Generally, this slope is roughly 1.15° but can be anything under 10°. So, when you’re asking, “what is a pitched roof?” it’s not any roof with a pitch, the pitch has to be over at least 10°.

The different types of a pitched roof are suitable for different roofing materials. While every roof can use asphalt shingles, not every pitch roof can cope with heavy concrete tiles.

pitched roof standards


What is a dual pitched roof? A dual pitched roof is simply and roof with two pitches, or two separate points that create their own slopes.

A pitched roof has quite a broad definition. Therefore, there are actually seven different types of roofs that fall into the category of pitched roofs, when discussing what is a pitched roof.


Mono Pitched Roofs:

A mono pitched roof is the type of roof that only has one pitch or slope. For mono pitched roofs, the roof slopes from one side of the structure to the other. A mono pitch roof is one of the more simple and affordable roof designs.

Couple Roofs:

The simplest of pitched roofs to design as there are only 2 lengths of timber (or wooden rafters) tied together as they lean against each other. Therefore, they are also referred to as double pitch roof. The span is small, only 3.5 metres, as there is little support. They are easy to design but lack practicality and other costs to additional supports.

Closed Couple Roofs:

A closed couple roof is similar to a couple roof with joists connecting the bottom of both rafters. This creates a much more stable and secure roof structure, increasing the roof span to roughly 5 metres.

Collar Roofs:

Similar to closed couple roofs, a collar beam roof moves the joists upward from the bottom of the rafters to roughly a third of the roof’s height. Collar roofs meant extra rooms could be created in the roof space, but this decreases the supporting stability of the wall plate, reducing the roof’s span to 4 metres.

Purlin Roofs:

Again, a purlin roof is a type of roof that has developed from the closed couple roof by adding purlins to the rafters. A Purlin is a horizontal piece of wood or metal attached to each rafter to provide extra support. This meant rafter materials could be smaller and lighter, allowing for greater roof span of up to 8 metres.

types of pitched roofs

Large Section Trusses:

Large section trusses were developed as purlin roofs required extra support and material that increased costs and reduced space in the roof. Trusses were used as the main support structure, and commonly only two trusses are needed for the average roof. Purlins and ridge boards still connect the trusses that the rafters could then sit on.

Trussed Rafter:

The success of the large section trusts leads to the trussed rafter. The trussed rafter is used instead of a large section truss, purlins and rafters. This meant money is saved on roofing materials and roof construction time, without compromising strength and stability. The support and weight of materials mean that the roof span can go up to 12 metres.


When it comes to contracting a pitched roof, the importance of getting the measurements and calculations right cannot be overstated. Truss calculators are an invaluable tool in the process and help to ensure that the dimensions and angles of the truss components including the rafters (top chord), ceiling joists (bottom chord), and interconnecting webbing are accurate. Using basic measurement points such as the slope, span, and load, the truss calculations ensures that structural measurements are correct before construction begins.


A roof is crucial for any property; it is critical to your home’s design and functionality. The right roof can increase your house’s market property and save you money at the same time. That’s why it’s important to do research and go beyond the question of “What Is a Pitched Roof?”.

Now that you have a good idea of what is a good roof pitch, you can start to form your own opinions on what type of pitched roof would suit your home and your property. Whether you’re after a roof replacement service or a new, excellent roof construction altogether, a pitched roof might be the right choice for you. If you need any extra advice or information regarding pitched roofs, you contact an expert roofing contractor and have a chat to discuss your wants and roofing needs. Here at Vertec Roofing, we are the leading experts in roof installation and replacements with over 15 years of experience in the Sydney region.

Vertec Roofing can make your home look as good as new with our roof replacement services while decreasing your heating and cooling bills. We will guarantee any problems you once had with your roof or might meet will be completely managed and removed, giving you peace of mind in your new and improved home.

Visit our contact form or call us on (02) 8007 4366 for any questions you have about your roofing needs – we’ll get you started with a quote today.

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