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How to Measure Roof – Five Basic Steps
If you’re looking for information on “how to measure your roof”, you’ve come to the right place. This article will guide you through the five basic steps.
How to measure your ceiling: Step 1: Make your drawing
A good place to start is to make a bird’s eye sketch of your roof. Visualize the ceiling as if you were a hundred feet above it looking down. what would you see Draw the outline of the entire roof. Then show every eaves, rake, valley, hip, and ridge. It shows all the details, including pipes, vents, chimneys, skylights and solar panels. All of these things affect your estimate of roofing costs. Try to keep your drawing somewhat proportional, but it doesn’t have to be drawn to perfect scale.
How to measure the roof: Step #2: Measure the slope
I like to measure the slope first, because it’s important and easy to forget. This method requires a carpenters level (any length will do) and a tape measure. Place one end of your level on the roof with the other end pointed straight “down”. Raise the drop end until the bubble is centered. Then, holding the tape measure vertical, measure the rise, which is the distance from the bottom of the level to the ceiling.
If your level is a foot long, you’re good to go. What you see is what you get. If your level is two feet long, divide the rise by two. If your level is three feet long, divide the rise by three.
On roofs with high-profile roof components such as tile or wood battens, you may need to place a board in a few courses to get a true reading.
Sometimes it is easier to measure the slope of the fascia board or drip edge rather than the roof surface. As long as it’s parallel to the ceiling, it doesn’t matter what you measure.
Note the correct slope on your drawing.
How to measure the ceiling: Step #3: Take the measurements
Then record the measurement of each vertical, horizontal, and diagonal line in your drawing. All will be needed to calculate the appropriate amount of roofing material you will need. Also be sure to measure each section of the roof from the eaves, straight across the roof to the peak.
The easiest tool for measuring most ceilings is a measuring wheel. It’s quick and doesn’t require anyone else to hold the other end of a tape. But it’s a mechanical device and you need to make sure it’s working properly.
The most accurate measuring tool is a tape measure. It is also useful for some roofs, such as barrel shingles, where a wheel does not roll very well. I use a foot of 25 and 100.
It’s much easier if you round each measurement to the next larger foot. I have also found that if roofers are careful, this is about the right amount to allow for waste on most roofs. If you have patch ceilings, rounding also pretty much eliminates all fights over ceiling size.
How to measure the roof: Step #4 – Calculating the area
Once you have all the measurements you need, grab a calculator and calculate the square footage of each section of the roof.
No matter how complicated the roof is, you can break it down into a series of rectangles and triangles. From there, it’s just simple math. For rectangular sections, multiply the length by the width. For triangular sections, multiply the length by the width, divided by two.
It’s a good idea to number each section, so you don’t forget any. Then just add all the sections together to get the total area. Dividing the total by 100 gives you the number of “squares” of roofing material to order.
To calculate how many shingles you will need for your initial course, simply add up the linear feet of the eaves and divide by the length of one shingle. However, don’t cut off all your starters at the start of the job. As you narrow down each section, you may be able to use what you cut in the upper beginner course in the next section.
For your hips and ridges, you can choose from packages of pre-cut shingles or cut your own from three-tab shingles. Either way is fine, but not all have the same coverage. The pre-cut type will have the cover printed on the package. A package of standard three-tab shingles will cover about 33 linear feet of hip or ridge.
How to measure your ceiling: Step #5: Order your materials
Note that some shingles are packaged three packages per square, while others are packaged four (or more) packages per square.
Rarely will you estimate the EXACT amount of cover you need for the job. Having a little left over is usually preferable to not having enough to get the job done. But try to keep a few packages out of the weather in case you have to return them. Suppliers may charge you a restocking fee, but they don’t mind returning them as long as the packages are in good condition and you still have the receipt.
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