Cupolas Create Curb Appeal
Written by Todd Fratzel.
Cupolas Add Value
Adding a cupola to your home or garage is a great way to create curb appeal that is sure to get your neighbors attention. Cupolas are making a come back in the industry and it’s obvious why. This small architectural feature gives home owners many options to show off their style and personality.
There are many manufacturers offering pre-fabricated cupolas in many styles, shapes and sizes. One of the most important decisions to be made is the size. Sizing a cupola is difficult and it’s best to consult the manufacturers recommendations or an architect. The total height of the cupola and spire in the attached photos is approximately 9′-6″. As you can see the cupola probably could have been even larger for such a large house.
Some basic guidelines are to choose a cupola width based on the width of the roof it sits on. The basic rule of thumb is to select a cupola that is one inch wide for every foot of roof ridge length. So, as an example, if you’re roof is 32 feet long (or wide) then you would select a cupola that’s at least 32 inches wide. Remember this is a minimum and I would recommend selecting the next biggest size if possible.
In these photos the cupola is about 36 inches wide and the garage roof is about 38 feet long. Frankly I think a 48 inch wide cupola would have looked even better.
Top Your Cupola With Style
In addition to the cupolas, you can top them with custom weather vanes, spires and finials. Most of these are fabricated from copper or aluminum. Typically they are installed on some type of structural rod that is attached to the cupola or roof structure below. In the photos above you can see the copper clad roof and copper finial.
The cupola shown is the Stephenson “Governor” Series 36″x55″, you can see details at www.cwohio.com/PDF/CW2503_StephensonCupolas.pdf . The finial is the 44″ Excalibur, sold by Directions for Home and Garden, www.directionshg.com . You can also buy cupolas from companies like Amazon here.
The other option is hiring a qualified carpenter to build a custom cupola. My friend Rob over at A Concord Carpenter Comments has built some beautiful historically accurate cupolas including this beautiful cupola restoration.
Installing A Cupola
Once you buy a cupola you’ll need to cut the sides to fit the pitch of your roof. After the cupola is cut to fit the roof you can install it on the roof by screwing some attachment blocks to the roof, then setting the cupola over the blocks and screwing the cupola to the blocks.
Adding one of these classic architectural details to your home can add unique curb appeal and plenty of back yard discussions with friends and family.
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