How To Measure A Roof With Google Earth

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Your roof bears the brunt of the weather throughout the year, and like the other elements of your home needs periodic maintenance, repair or replacement. A re-roofing project is a substantial investment so you must make sure you prepare beforehand. You just can’t afford to make mistakes during the installation.

Re-roofing your home is not a small project and it does require know-how, so it is always best to get a qualified roofer to help. However, if you are at the budgeting stage or want to give your roofer as much information as you can, or you might just want to corroborate everything a contractor is telling you, you will need to have a certain amount of information about your project. For instance, you will need to know the size of your roof, the type of shingles you want and cost per square foot. Ahh! but we are jumping the gun a bit because even before you know the price of shingles per square foot, you need to know the size of your roof, which will give you the total square feet of the roof and help you better budget the need.

How to Measure the Size of Your Roof

In these technological times, there are two ways to measure the size of your roof. The first is to get the square footage of your roof’s surface by actually measuring the roof, or you can get the diy roof measurements from satellite.

The Traditional Way

This is where you have to actually get on the roof and get the actual measurements. To do this, you need to find a safe way onto the roof. You’ll also need a tape measure, pen or pencil, a notebook to take down the measurements. If you use a ladder, be sure to rest it on a flat, stable patch of ground and have a helper hold the ladder for you. You need to extend the tape measure along the outer edges of the roof to find the length and width. You also need to write down the dimensions of each sloped plane. Measure additional architectural features separately. These types of features include hip ridges, valleys, dormers, and additional elements.

As you can see, the above method is not as safe as you would like. It will be hot on the roof, plus it is dangerous. There is really no need to use this old-school method any longer as today, we can measure a roof via Internet technology, by using Google Earth.

Using Google Earth

The first thing to do is to get Google Earth Pro. You can download this program to your computer or get the app for your phone or tablet. Google Earth Pro is now a free application and it includes additional tools that are not available on the basic Google Earth. The most important of these is a measuring tool allowing you to measure the area of different shapes.

Once you install it, you’ll need to open the program. Here you’ll find an image of the Earth with a dashboard and tools on the side of the screen. Be sure to uncheck the box for “3D Buildings.” This mode can negatively affect your measurements. This option is under the “Layers” menu which you can see on the right bottom side of the screen.

Find Your Address

Locate the Search field at the top of the screen. Here you want to enter the address of the rooftop you want to measure and click on “Search”. Google Earth will place a pin on the address and it will zoom the picture or you can zoom the picture by clicking the “Plus” icon.

Change Size

The eye altitude of your roof is still at a large distance, so you will need to zoom in until the roof fills as much of the image as possible. You can zoom in via two methods. You can scroll with your mouse wheel, or you can use the slider located in the top right corner. Center your roof in the viewing field by placing the cursor on your roof and click and drag the roof image. You can also rotate the image using the rotate tool located on the top right side of the image. Another way is to place the cursor on the “N” and click and drag with the left mouse button around the little circle. The best way to get accurate measurements is to make the longest edge of the roof parallel with the top edge of the dashboard.

If the image looks tilted like you are viewing it from an angle, click the “Reset” tool located at the bottom of the “View” tab. This opens another menu and you can click on “Tilt” and it will straighten. At this point, avoid clicking on “Compass” or “Tilt and Compass” or you will undo your rotation.

Start Measuring

Click on Tools in the top left of the screen and looks for “Ruler”. Check the box. This opens a box with a menu. Select “Polygon” and your default unit of measurement should be set to “feet” and “square feet”. Place the cursor on the top area of the box and drag it out of the image field. It should make a square. Place this square at a corner and click. This will place a dot on the corner. do the same for the next corner of the roof. You will see a line appear. Continue doing the same for all corners. If you click a corner but don’t think it is exactly right, you can fix the problem by placing the cursor on the problem dot. The cursor will change back into a hand. Click on the dot and you can drag it to the right location. By right clicking on a do, you can make it disappear and the lines will go back to what they were before. You can also add a dot by clicking on any location within the lines. Once you go around the perimeter of the roof. Once you trace the entire outer edge of the roof image you can look at the ruler box and see the footage area of the roof.

Using Google Earth to get the measurements of your roof is much more efficient and safer than climbing up on the roof to get the same measurements using a measurement tape. Is Google Earth totally accurate? You may find some slight discrepancies. However, as an initial measurement to get the square footage of the roof area and thereby be able to calculate the amount of roofing materials you will need, you’ll find that this method works well. Best of all you won’t need to climb up the ladder, endanger your life, or get up on that hot roof to get the measurements you need.

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Melissa Thompson

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.