How to Measure a Roof

Understanding how to measure a roof can save you thousands of dollars by avoiding costly estimating mistakes. Deciding how to measure a roof takes a decent grasp of some simple geometry formulas. Other than that, you'll only need a good measuring tape and a healthy respect for high places.

How To Measure A Roof Accurately

  • Find your way with a map. Before you begin to measure your roof, take some time to make a good sketch map of the roof. You'll want to include as many details as possible including the location and configuration of all gables, dormers hip and valleys.
  • Getting measurements. There's no way around it-you'll need to get up on the roof to take accurate measurements. The best way to work safely is to get a helper and make sure to work on a dry, windless day. Basically, you want to measure the height and width of all rectangular areas and the base and height of all triangular areas. Make sure to fill in measurements for all of the lines that appear on your roof map.
  • Break it down. Take your map with measurements and use a colored pencil or marker to break the map down into simple geometric shapes like rectangles and triangles. Use landmarks like valleys, hips and ridgelines to create logical divisions.
  • Basic math. Once you've gathered all the measurements, all you need to calculate the area of the roof is two formulas. To find the area of a rectangle, multiply the width by the height (W x H = Area). To find the area of a triangle, multiply the base by the height and divide by 2 (B x H / 2 = Area).
  • Hip to be a square. Once you've calculated all of the individual areas, add them together to find the total area of your roof. Roofing material is sold in units called "squares". A square is 100 square feet of material. To find the number of squares you'll need to cover your roof, simply divide the total area by 100.
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