February 29, 2024

Accenting your roof is a breeze with a cupola. These roof-top adornments have been used for centuries to not only enhance the look of a home or other building but to serve a functional purpose as well. In addition to the architectural benefits, this distinguished design element has a long history of serving as a covered light source and even for extra ventilation throughout the home, according to Living Space 360. Cupolas bring out the natural beauty of any structure, with a diverse selection of styles, finishes and materials to choose from.

Benefits of Cupolas

Many of today’s cupolas serve a largely decorative appeal, although some are still used to encourage ventilation into the home to guard against the development of harmful mold or mildew, says Country Cupolas and Weathervanes. They are versatile elements that add a bit of texture and dimension to any space. Inspired by the majestic domes of the Renaissance, cupolas are designed to be durable and rot resistant – an important part of any outdoor structure that was originally created to provide ventilation in days before roof and ridge vents were invented, according to The Family Handyman. These were the most effective methods of getting additional air into a stable or barn without compromising the safety of the occupants inside. Fast forward to today and you can choose from anything from vinyl to copper finishes for the ultimate in aesthetics and durability. You can even attach a weather vane to the top in an homage to the old country homes that dotted the countryside years ago.

Making the Choice

Not sure where to start in your search for cupolas? You may want to start by considering the style of your home and the decorative accent you’re going for. This will determine whether you will benefit best from vinyl, wood, copper or metal. You’ll need to consider the climate in which you live, as this will determine whether wood will rot and split due to constant rainy conditions, for example. Do you want an easy-to-clean material like vinyl that will match the siding of the rest of your house? Take these elements into consideration first. Then, you’ll have to measure your roof to find out which size cupola would work best. You don’t want an overwhelmingly large fixture for a small house, nor do you want one that’s too small for a grand house.

Country Cupolas says a good bet is to use 1.0″ to 1.25″ of cupola for every foot of unbroken roofline. You’ll also need to determine your roof’s pitch, as the steepness of your roof comes into play as well. Your professional cupola representative should be able to help you with all measurements before you purchase. Just remember that the cupola you like may seem huge in the showroom or online, but its size will be dwarfed once you get it up on your roof. Be sure to get a big enough fixture so it won’t get lost once installed on your roof line. Other stylistic considerations you may want to take a look at include whether you want a square-based or octagon-based cupola and how many louvers you want. Consider the maintenance you’re willing to do on your cupola. If your answer is “not much,” go with vinyl or PVC vinyl cladded with copper for maintenance free-operation yet total aesthetic appeal.

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