The angle, or pitch, of a roof is calculated by the number of inches it rises vertically for every 12 inches it extends horizontally. For example, a roof that rises 6 inches for every 12 inches of horizontal run has a 6-in-12 pitch.

Knowing the pitch of your roof is useful when designing an addition, installing skylights, or cutting new rake boards. Here's an easy, safe way to determine the pitch from inside your attic. You'll need an 18- or 24-inch level, a tape measure, and a pencil.

First, measure 12 inches from one end of the level and make a mark. Then, in the attic, place the end of the level against the bottom of a roof rafter and hold it perfectly level. Now measure vertically from the 12-inch mark on the level straight up to the underside of the rafter, as illustrated. That measurement is the number of inches the roof rises in 12 inches.
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