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Cupola - Raise Your Roofline

Aug 28, 2008
Elevate the design of your house, a time honored way---with a cupola??

Cupolas are making a comeback---not only for barns, but for homes, garages, commercial buildings, and gazebos. Although they are ornamental, cupolas are also very functional by circulating air and providing an inexpensive light source. Cupolas provide excellent attic ventilation by providing a natural flow of warm, moist air in an upward movement through louvered or window sides of the cupola.

Cupolas bring back a bit of country to your estate by providing building ornamentation with traditional early American architecture. Installed on rooftops, they create an asymmetrical appeal that allows the outside buildings to look there absolute best.

A cupola is defined as a dome-shaped ornamental structure that sits on top of a larger building. Cupolas are called belvedere when it can be reached by an inside stairway. Lanterns, when they have windows that illuminate the areas below. Like a skylight.

Cupolas meet aesthetic and functional needs. Most owners today use them as decorative. They just screw them in on the rooftop and top them off with a weathervane or finial. Weathervanes give your cupola a personalized and finished look.

The shapes of cupolas can be round, square or octagonal. Common materials include wood, vinyl, stone and metal.

Wood is the preferred material, as it looks natural and is weather resistant; furthermore, it can be painted to match your décor. Wood does not retain heat, but it requires upkeep of being painted every 5 to 6 years, smog and humidity affect how long the paint will last.

Vinyl cupolas are weather resistant. It is heavier than wood--so there may be extra cost to reconstruct the rooftop the cupola will sit on. Vinyl does not offer as many color options, and the color fades with consistent exposure to the elements. Vinyl is not environmentally friendly.

Proportion is important, in terms of look and function. Larger buildings require larger cupolas. Size is the big issue----what they look like on the ground versus what they look like on the roof. The ratio of 1 inch cupola per one foot unbroken roofline and height a ratio of 1 ˝ inch (tall) per foot of roofline.

When choosing a cupola one needs to stay true to the style of the building it will be placed on, cupolas should a building architectural style. Bell style rooflines are most appropriate for buildings with gambrel roof and Colonial style homes, while pagoda style for raised center barns and French Country homes.

The biggest mistake is getting a cupola that is too small, which then has the appearance of a bird house. It's all about a tower pointing to the sky. When properly proportioned it articulates the skyline, giving the building a more interesting profile.

Cupolas are an architectural accent. They are a great way to add class, sophistication, or a little country charm to add beauty to the roofline of buildings. From residential barns to grand cathedrals, the cupola is a timeless masterpiece and an inspiration to many. http://prairierosecountry.com.
About the Author
Prairie Rose Country sells cupolas built by quality craftsman out of marine plywood that provide excellent roof ventilation. Cupola rooftops have a wooden substructure that is then covered with copper sheeting with polished or patina finishes. Cupolas built weather vane ready. http://prairierosecountry.com
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