A mansard roof (french or curb roof) is a four-sided roof characterized by two slopes on each side. The top slope is flatter than the bottom slope on each roof side. Mansard roof design provides a flatter look to match the exterior of the building.
Mansard roof construction originated in France and has become increasingly popular across Europe and even in western countries like Canada and the United States of America.
This article discusses the features, advantages, and disadvantages of mansard roofs.
Features of Mansard Roof
- Mansard roof is a combination of hip and gambrel roofs. All four sides of the roof have two slopes, with the lower side steeper than the upper slope. The top of the mansard roof is flat and broad, allowing maximum attic space.
- Mansard roof is a unique architectural feature applied to traditional homes, private homes, and even small commercial buildings.
- At the lower slopes of the mansard roof, dormer windows are provided, as shown in Figure-1, which allow plenty of light to enter into the living space.
- Mansard roofs can be constructed as convex, concave, S-shaped, or straight-angled based on the required building design.
- A mansard roof can be either a double-pitched mansard roof or a steep-sided mansard roof. Compared to a double-pitched mansard roof, a steep-sided mansard roof allows proper drainage of water and snow.
- The common mansard roof materials are slate tiles and wooden shingles. However, to reduce the maintenance cost, higher quality and durable shingles like zinc or copper shingles can be used for the steeper part of the roof.
Advantages of Mansard Roof
The main advantages of a mansard roof are:
- As mansard roofs have vertical slopes, they provide additional space compared to other roof types like hip or gable roofs.
- Mansard roofs can be used for both rural and urban areas. Mansard roofs are more popular in urban areas because they give an option to expand upwards, as there is not enough space to expand the building horizontally due to land constraints.
- Mansard roofs allow more light and better heat distribution within the building.
- Mansard roof is an element of French architecture that gives an elegant and modern look to the building structure.
- Mansard roofs help save costs by eliminating the need to construct separate rooms or attic spaces. They also save heating costs by evenly distributing heat inside the building.
Disadvantages of Mansard Roof
The disadvantages of mansard roofs are:
- Mansard roofs add to the total square footage of the building. They come with different tax values, building permits, and restrictions based on the area. Before planning to have a mansard roof for the building, it is necessary to enquire about the permit requirements.
- Mansard roof construction is time and labor-intensive compared to other roof construction.
- Construction of mansard roof is very complex, hence requires experienced professionals to work.
- Mansard roof is not ideal for extreme weather conditions like heavy snow and rainfall as its slope arrangement is not ideal for drainage.
- These roof types demand high maintenance and repair costs, as they possess less resistance to extreme weather conditions.
A mansard roof (french or curb roof) is a four-sided roof characterized by two slopes on each side.
Mansard roofs can be constructed as convex, concave, S-shaped, or straight-angled based on the required building design.