Horizon Structures Presents Series: What’s The Pitch on Barn Roofs

by Nikki Alvin-Smith

 Why should you worry about the pitch of your horse barn roof? The steepness or angle of the roof of any building certainly makes a difference to its overall presence, aesthetic appeal and the amount of interior space under its umbrella, but there is much more importance to roof pitch and roof materials and shapes than meets the eye.

The steepness of a roof is described in mathematical terms. Pitch is commonly referred to in the building trade as a ratio. The ratio describes the number of inch(es) rise per horizontal foot. It is also sometimes referred to as the angle in degrees its surface deviates from the horizontal.

Thus, a flat roof will be the only roof that has a zero pitch while the alpine style A-frame roof that reaches the ground is the other extreme in regard to roof pitch.

There are many pros and cons of different pitch ration, and when it comes to the construction process extensive rules and regulations are involved that govern the safety of the structure. We’ve all seen photos of roof collapses during snowstorms, or high winds lifting roofs off buildings entirely.

Beyond the obvious job the roof does of providing protection for the interior of the building from snow and rain, its ability to shed snow load and rain effectively rather than allow standing water or snow to gather on its surface causing water leaks is monumentally affected by its shape, its pitch, and the materials from which it is constructed.

Additionally, a roof needs to be able to withstand sustained high winds while also offering good ventilation for the interior of the structure. Metal roofs that are not insulated may be subject to condensation.

Open sided buildings will always be vulnerable to wind uplift but all buildings are subject to this dynamic suction process that literally lifts the roof off the structure. It occurs where winds blowing parallel to the roof cause air pressure above the roof to be lower than that below it. A veritable Wizard of Oz situation!

In hot climates the roof should deflect the heat of the sun during extreme high temperatures without radiating heat to the interior of the building.

The addition of plastic panels in the roof or skylights can add light to the interior of the structure and provide benefits of warmth in colder climates as well as diminish energy costs for lighting and heating the barn.

The use of drainpipes and a guttering system greatly enhances the functionality of a roof in regard to its ability to shed water and move it away from the foundation of the building.

The size and strength of the substructure that supports the roof, as well as the method by which it is attached to the framed members of the sidewalls is also an important consideration. Between suction from wind uplift, aspiration of water off the roof to the underside of the eaves and standing snow/ice or water load the rafter/truss system necessarily requires a well-engineered design.

The wider the span of the roof the heavier duty the support system, whether trusses or rafter design, will need to be. This is why steel trusses are often used in large agricultural buildings such as indoor arenas versus wood materials. Trusses are stronger than rafter construction and they transfer the weight or load of the roof to the outer walls of the structure allowing the interior to be free of posts/pillar or interior wall support.

There are many other factors to think about when choosing your roof. Consider for example that metal roofs manufactured of poorer quality materials will chalk over time and become unsightly requiring repair or that application of an ice and water shield over the sheathing layer of a roof can notably extend its durability.

When you are considering a new barn build don’t be shy to ask questions about how these facets are managed in the design you choose. While steeper roofs will better shed snow and ice than a low-profile roof, and metal roofs shed water better than fiberglass or asphalt shingle depending on the appropriate pitch, there are many construction factors to review that ensure you are comparing ‘apples to apples’ when obtaining your quotation for a new horse barn.

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Feel free to contact Nikki Alvin-Smith for further information and high-res photos.

 About Horizon Structures:  One horse or twenty, there’s one thing all horse owners have in common…the need to provide safe and secure shelter for their equine partners.  At Horizon Structures, we combine expert craftsmanship, top-of-the-line materials and smart “horse-friendly” design to create a full line of sheds and barns that any horse owner can feel confident is the right choice for their horses’ stabling needs.

All wood. Amish Made. Most of our buildings are shipped 100% pre-built and ready for same-day use. Larger barns are a modular construction and can be ready for your horses in less than a week. All our barn packages include everything you need –

Horizon Structures also sells chicken coops, equine hay feeders, greenhouses, dog kennels, 1 and 2 car garages, storage sheds and outdoor living structures and playsets.

Headquartered in South-Central Pennsylvania, Horizon Structures, LLC is owned by Dave Zook.  Dave was raised in the Amish tradition and grew up working in the family-owned shed business.  He started Horizon Structures in 2001 in response to an ever-increasing customer demand for high quality, affordable horse barns.

For additional information about the company or their product line, please visit their website at https://www.horizonstructures.com

Horizon Structures LLC, Atglen, PA
Media Contact: NAS@NikkiAlvinSmithStudio.com
Tel: 607 434 4470

Photos are available on request.

About Nikki Alvin-Smith:
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Grand Prix Dressage
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Please visit https://nikkialvinsmithstudio.com/ and https://www.horseinakiltmedia.com/to learn more about her affordable services.