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What Is A Mansard Roof, And Should You Install It?

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What Is A Mansard Roof, And Should You Install It?

A mansard roof is one of the most popular types of roof designs in America. This traditional-looking roofing system has a majestic appeal and is among the first options for homeowners looking to install a new roof. 

If you are also considering installing a mansard roof, it is best to know about this roofing type and whether it’s the right choice for you. Our team at SouthShore Roofing & Exteriors has installed many roofing systems in the Florida area, including mansard-style roofs. In the following blog, we will explain the mansard roofing system and its pros and cons so that you can make an informed decision. 

What Is A Mansard Roof? 

A mansard roof is a type of roof that has an upper and lower slope on each side of the roof, with the lower slopes being steeper than the upper slopes.  Mansard roofs are often mistaken for gambrel roofs and hip roofs because they share many of the same architectural characteristics. In fact, a mansard roof is a hybrid between a hip and gambrel-style roof. It has two sloped surfaces on each side; the upper surface is flat and is difficult to see from the ground. While the lower slope is more detailed and usually has dormer windows. 

mansard roof

History Of The Mansard Roof

The mansard-style roof is one of the oldest roofing systems in existence. Unlike the standard gable roofing system, mansard roofs are a unique type of roof that originated in France in the 17th century, and due to this reason, mansard roofs are also known as French roofs. 

The name comes from Francois Mansart, the architect who popularized this roof design and is widely considered one of France’s greatest architects, having designed many chateaus and palaces across the country. Popular in France in the late 17th century for its ability to create more living space, the mansard roof steadily made its way to the United States and Canada in the mid-19th century.

Mansard Vs. Gambrel

Often mistaken for a gambrel roof, the mansard is a type of hip roof. The distinguishing characteristic of the mansard is that all four sides of the roof slope while a gambrel roof only slopes on two sides. Each side is also made up of two different types of slopes, with one sloping down at a sharper angle than the other. This often creates two different shapes on the house, a hipped top with a gabled bottom. 

Mansard roofs are also noticeably different from gambrel roofs in that they usually have dormer windows installed on the steeper, bottom slope of the roof. 

Advantages Of Mansard Roof

Before deciding on the type of roof for your home, it’s advisable to look at the benefits the system provides. Mansard roofs can be an excellent addition to your home, and they offer you several advantages that make them worth considering. Some of them are given below:

You Can Have Extra Attic Space 

The attic is the space that is just below the roofing system. It is an important area to maintain ventilation and insulation in your home. Homeowners also use the attic area for storage space, and occasionally as an additional living space. In homes with pitched roofs, there is less attic space available.

Originally popularised for its ability to provide additional living space, this extra room is created by the relatively flat, upper slope. You won’t have to worry about your belongings occupying valuable living space, and if you’re looking to add an additional room to your house, the dormer windows that are part of this roofing system provide natural light to your space. 

Aesthetic Appeal 

Homeowners want a roof that can both withstand the weather conditions and looks impressive. With shifts in preference and the market, the visual appeal of your home is more important than ever. 

Mansard roofs are one of the roofing systems that look incredibly pleasing. A mansard roof is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to add character to their home. This type of roof reminds you of quality french architecture that is admired by many, and it can be used in any style of home, including Victorian, Colonial, and Tudor. They have a historic appeal and can accommodate a variety of roofing materials. 

Allows More Sunlight

Another reason you should install a mansard roofing system is that it can help increase the natural light your home receives. 

Dormer windows are a common component of a mansard-styled home. These windows project off the roof of your home. You can even have skylights installed on top of mansard roofs to bring in more light and provide a view of the outside world from within your home. These roof accessories will further help improve the look of your home and improve circulation and ventilation in your attic space.

Reduces Energy Needs

The installation cost of a mansard roof can be high, but this style of roof can save you a lot of money in the long run. A mansard-style roof allows better heat distribution and circulation around the home, keeping your house comfortable without needing to spend more on heating and cooling bills. With the addition of dormer windows, you’ll also be spending less money on electricity since they provide natural light to illuminate your interior space. 

Disadvantages Of A Mansard Roof

In the above section, we discussed some points that work in favor of a mansard roof. However, like other types of roofs, their benefits don’t come without some limitations. Below are some of the disadvantages of a mansard roof:

Complex Installation

Mansard roofs are more complex to install than other types of roofs because they require more materials and labor. This complexity also means that they cost more than other roofs due to extra time and labor involved in their installation.

Mansard Roofs Are Tough To Repair

Not only is installing a mansard roof tough, but maintaining is as well. This roof type is not as strong as others when it comes to durability, so there is a chance that the roof will need frequent repairs. The upper part of a mansard roof has a very low pitch. If you live in an area that receives a lot of rainfall, such as Tampa, then there are higher chances of water accumulation on the upper panel. Standing water can also damage the shingles and can cause leaks in the roof.

You Could Have Trouble Finding A Roofer

You may have trouble finding a roofer who can install a mansard roof. Most roofers are not well versed in this roofing style since its decrease in popularity since the mid-19th century. These roofs require more skilled labor than conventional roofs, and you may even have trouble getting the permit to install a mansard roof since not all the areas allow for its construction. 

Want To Install A New Roof In Tampa? We Can Help!

If you’re still considering installing a mansard roof after reading this article, look no further than the team at SouthShore Roofing & Exteriors. With years of experience under our belt, our expert roofers have served a lot of customers in the area and continue to do so with dedication. 

If you still have questions about mansard roofs or want to know more about the different styles and whether they’re suitable for your home, contact us today at, (813) 400-3329

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