What is a pitch pad and why would you use one?

In general, if you can avoid drilling holes in your roof, you should. But sometimes you can’t. I always recommend using other forms of mounting first, but sometimes you can’t avoid it. Sometimes you’re just going to make holes in the roof, period. That’s when you need a pitch pad.

What is a pitch pad exactly?

Let’s first explain, a pitch pad is called that because it’s made of pitch. It’s not called that because it helps with the slant of your roof, or because it has anything to do with baseball or advertising. Not that it matters, but a pitch pad contains materials that are designed to melt into composition tile roofs. “Pitch” is a generic term for the black stuff that is used to make those tiles waterproof, and it’s also the source of the term “pitch black” in case you were interested.

Now that you know a little more, you might begin to understand why a pitch pad is so important. When you drill a hole in the roof, you’re inviting water in and that’s a very, very bad thing obviously. The last thing anyone wants when trying to get an antenna on the roof is a bunch of water leaking into the house. Placing a pitch pad over the hole and running the lag bolt through it will create a much more water-resistant seal and obviously, that’s what you want.

The pitch itself will melt and form around the bolt, at the same time it seeps into the pores of the composition tile. As it gets all gooey, it plugs up the tiny gaps where water could get in, and obviously that’s what you want.

When to use a pitch pad

You can use pitch pads on virtually any rooftop install. They’re not a substitute for a large roof repair, but you should use them any time you’re drilling a hole. If you’re putting in something large like an attic vent, there are other ways to waterproof, but for small holes they’re perfect.

As time goes on, you might want to inspect the area where you’ve drilled just to make sure that nothing has changed. In some parts of the country, rooftops can get over 150 degrees and that does tend to make things melt and shift. It’s worth a few minutes to make sure everything is still waterproof.

The best thing about pitch pads

Probably the best thing about pitch pads is that they’re cheap. Check out our selection of pitch pads. When you do, you’ll see that this is really cheap insurance. It’s the kind of thing you should never be without. It takes about ten extra seconds to lay down a pitch pad. It shouldn’t take more than that. Trust me, it can mean decades of protection for your roof. Pick up a few sets when you’re placing your next order at Solid Signal. They’re really light and probably won’t add to your shipping cost at all. If you have any questions about them, be sure to call us at 888-233-7563.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.