HomeLibraryRoofingArch › Mansard Roof

Mansard Roof

A type of hipped roof,
a mansard roof is characterized by two slopes on each of its four
sides with the lower slope being much steeper, almost a vertical
wall, while the upper slope, usually not visible from the ground, is
pitched at the minimum needed to shed water. The mansard roof doesn’t
involve any complex framing, which saves both time and money.

Dormers are often set
in the lower slope of this type of roof. In fact, dormer window
surrounds are considered one of the main contributors to the beauty
of mansard roofs. Dormers, together with the open framing of the
double sloped design of mansard roofs, provide usable interior space,
much more than what is available with other roofing designs.

Steep, double-sloped
roofs were characteristic of Italian and French Renaissance
architecture. The Louvre, originally built in 1546, had high sloping
roofs. A century later, the French architect François Mansart
(1598-1666) used double-sloped roofs so extensively that they were
coined mansard - a derivation of Mansart’s name.

There was a second
revival of the mansard roof during Napoleon’s rebuilding of
Paris in the 1850s. The style became associated with this era, and
the term Second Empire is often used to describe any building with a
mansard roof. In the Second Empire style, the Mansard roof was
typically used to top a tower element, rather than across the full
width of the building.

Mansard roofs were
considered especially practical because they allowed usable living
quarters to be placed in the attic. For this reason, older buildings
were often remodeled with mansard roofs.

During the presidency
of Ulysses Grant (1860-1877), Second Empire was a common style for
public buildings in the U.S. When the age of prosperity turned into
the economic depression of the 1870s, flamboyant Second Empire
architecture fell out of fashion.

If you want your roof to allow for more interior living space while adding a certain aesthetic appeal to your home, then you may want to consider going with a mansard roof. This roof style has been around for centuries and continues to attract homeowners who want something a bit out of the ordinary. Here is some more information.

Costs

Because of the level of detail involved, mansard roof construction often costs more than other types of roofing. This is due to additional features—multiple window openings and decorative architecture, etc.—used in the traditional 19th and early 20th-century building methods. You can get a few price quotes from local roofers to learn more.

Pros

Mansard roofs provide the most room underneath for additional living space.

They allow for easy expansion (like adding more stories) later on.

Mansard roofs are easy and less expensive to frame than other roof styles.

Cons

Mansard roofs can easily become damaged by the accumulation of ice and snow.

They can make a house look boxy.

Durability

If a mansard roof isn’t properly installed or cared for, it can suffer heavy damage from snow that tends to build up on its flat surfaces. Other than that, the durability depends on the materials used. Ask your contractor how best to care for your mansard roof.

Common Questions and Answers

How can you tell a mansard roof from any other type of roof?

A mansard roof is a type of hip roof characterized by two slopes on each of its four sides, with the lower slope being much steeper (almost a vertical wall), while the upper slope, usually not visible from the ground, is pitched at the minimum needed to s

How does a mansard roof allow for additional living space?

Many people use the shape of the mansard roof to build dormers that are set into the lower slope. In fact, dormer window surrounds are considered one of the main contributors to the beauty of the mansard roofs.

Dormers, together with the open fr

History

Steep, double-sloped roofs are characteristic of Italian and French Renaissance architecture. The Louvre, originally built in 1546, had high sloping roofs. A century later, the French architect Francois Mansart (1598-1666) used double-sloped roofs so extensively that they were coined mansard—a derivation of Mansart’s name.

Articles related to Mansard Roof

How much will Roofing cost you?

Limited Time Offers from Our Partners

Why Calfinder?

  • Get multiple estimates to compare
  • Hard work of finding a reliable contractor is done for you
  • Completely Free, no Obligation

Our network of established contractors stretches across the US and are ready to help you remodel your home.

Read what homeowners are saying about CalFinder.

Remodeling tweets and photos posted daily. Join Us on Twitter