A mansard roof, also known as a French roof, is a four-sided roof with a double slope on each side that meet forming a low-pitched roof.
The lower slope is much steeper than the upper. The sides can either be flat or curved, depending on the style.
Pros: Mansard roofs can help create a great deal of extra living space. Using the space as a full attic or living quarters, called a garret, is very popular. The style lends itself to either open or closed dormers for more aesthetic appeal.
Mansard roofs are great for people wanting flexibility to make future home additions. When first designing and building a home, you can actually save money by having a simple mansard design to start off. – You can then add on a garret or dormers at a later date. This will not only add value to the house, but it also allows homeowners to easily make additions as their needs change.
Cons: A low pitched portion of a mansard roof isn’t ideal for areas receiving heavy snowfall.
Mansard roofs cost more than typical roofs because of the embellishments and details that go into them. But, the added space and character can more than make up for the extra cost of initial construction.
Suggested materials: Since a mansard roof has such a unique design, choosing a unique material could make the roof that much more special. Using metal, such as copper or zinc for the steep portion of the roof, can be more expensive up front, but will require much less maintenance down the road, making it a good long-term choice.
Using wood or slate shingles in a diamond pattern is a way to make a mansard roof stand out. However, overlapping composition shingles should not be used. Asphalt shingles can still be used on a steeper portion of the roof in a regular pattern.
Most materials can be used for a mansard roof, but be aware of the low slope part of the roof. Ensure it is properly flashed and waterproofed to protect the roof’s integrity.
Types of Mansard Roofs
Mansard roofs can take various silhouettes, including straight-angle, convex or concave. Windows are very important to provide light for the extra living space provided. Grand houses may also display wood quoins, trim or decorative cut stone.
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