What Is A Mansard Roof And What Advantages/ Disadvantages (2022)

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The Mansard Roof has been in existence since the 16th century. However, it was not until the early 17th century that this roofing style gained in popularity. Ever since then, the Mansard roof has become an integral part of French architecture and is quite commonly seen in many buildings located in that part of the world.

What exactly is the Mansard roof? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using this roofing style? How did it come into existence? We will answer all these questions and more in this article. So stay tuned to find out everything you need to know about the Mansard roof.

What Is A Mansard Roof And What Advantages/ Disadvantages (2)

What Is The Mansard Roof?

Simply put, the Mansard roof, also known as the French roof or Curb roof, is a hybrid between a gambrel roof and a hip roof. If you are not familiar with a gambrel roof, then let us first explain its architecture in brief.

You can consider Gambrel roofs to be a modified version of a Gable roof. How, you ask? Well, unlike a standard Gable roof, which features a single slope on each side, a Gambrel roof has two slopes on each side. The top slope is a lot flatter in comparison to the bottom one, which almost seems vertical.

Although this roofing style is not commonly used in traditional homes, you will find it in many barn houses. If you are still having trouble visualizing this roofing style, we suggest you take a look at the illustration and image below.

What Is A Mansard Roof And What Advantages/ Disadvantages (3)

What Is A Mansard Roof And What Advantages/ Disadvantages (4)

A Barn House Featuring A Gambrel Roof
via Byler Barns and Backyards

(Video) What is a Mansard Roof?

Now that you have a clear idea about what a Gambrel roof is like, let us explore the Mansard roof in detail. Just like the gambrel roof, the Mansard roof features a similar slope design on two opposite sides. However, on the other pair of sides, the Mansard roof features the same sloping style. In case of the gambrel roof, there are no slopes on its remaining faces.

Hence, our opening statement – ” Simply put, the mansard roof, also known as the French roof or curb roof, is a hybrid between a gambrel roof and a hip roof.” makes sense, doesn’t it?

Other than the additional slopes, Mansard roofs also have a unique design element which further distinguishes them from traditional gambrel roofs. If you look at the illustration below, you will notice a line of dormer windows along the steeply raked bottom slope. These windows are an integral part of the gambrel roof architecture.

What Is A Mansard Roof And What Advantages/ Disadvantages (5)

An Aerial View Of Mansard Rooftops Along Boulevard Haussmann In Paris
via Wikipedia

What Are The Advantages Of Using A Mansard Roof?

  1. Extra Attic Space

Compared to a standard Gable roof or Hip roof, Mansard roofs offer significantly more attic space due to the almost vertical bottom slope. The loft area of a Mansard roof does not need to compromise on space and can easily house a master bedroom if needed.

Moreover, the use of dormer windows along the entire length of the bottom slope allows more natural light inside the building and that further increases the sense of space.

  1. Easier Expandability

The almost vertical nature of the bottom slope makes it easier to build additional floors on top. The design of the bottom slope allows for greater flexibility compared to more popular roofing styles like Gable roofs or Hip roofs.

Hence, if you currently do not have the budget to add more floors to your house but want or need the flexibility to expand your house in the future, then using a Mansard roof makes perfect sense.

  1. Aesthetical Value

Although looks are subjective, there is no denying the fact that Mansard roofs have an elegant design, largely due to the fact that they were an important part of French architecture during the Renaissance period. Moreover, in areas where they are not commonly found, this roofing style will definitely look more sophisticated and might even be a head turner, if executed properly.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Using A Mansard Roof?

  1. Weather Resistance

To be honest, Mansard roofs are not the most functional. In fact, they carry quite a few glaring disadvantages which make them completely unsuitable in areas with extreme weather conditions. Why, you ask? Well, it is entirely due to the low pitch of the topmost part of this roof.

(Video) Advantages & Disadvantages of a Hip Roof (512) 938-8515 Pros and Cons Of Hip Roofs

The almost flat slope means that it will not cope well with heavy rainfall and can result in leakages in the roof. Moreover, in areas of heavy snowfall, the result would be far more disastrous. In fact, the entire roof might collapse under the weight of the snow.

  1. High Installation Costs

After you check out a few illustrations of the Mansard roof, the first thing that will be apparent is the complexity of the design. Naturally, that will lead to a high installation cost. In fact, you will be able to install multiple Gable roofs or Hip roofs for the cost of a single Mansard roof.

Moreover, not many roofing experts will be familiar with this design. Hence, the quality of the Mansard roof might not be up to preferable standards.

  1. Maintenance and Repair Costs

A high installation cost would usually point to increased maintenance and repair costs, and that could not be more true in the case of Mansard roofs. In the modern era, not many roofing experts are familiar with the Mansard roof, hence repairing them will not only be a costly affair but finding the right roofing expert will also be a great hassle.

On top of that, the use of dormer windows along the steeply raked bottom slope will push the maintenance and repair costs to new highs. Moreover, there will be a lot of debris collecting on the flatter portion of the roof, which will further increase the maintenance bill.

A History Lesson On Mansard Roofs

Although the creation of the Mansard roof is accredited to François Mansart(1598 – 1666), he was not the first to implement this roof architecture. That honor would have to go to Pierre Lescot (1510 – 1578) who used this roofing style on a part of the Louvre Museum in the year 1550.

However, it was not until the early 17th century that the Mansard roof architecture became popular. François Mansart,who was an accomplished architect of the French Baroque period, started adopting this roof style into the buildings he designed for his clients. Thus, this roof architecture was christened as the Mansard roof in his honor.

Interestingly, in Europe, Mansard can also refer to the attic space and not just the roof structure.

The popularity of the Mansard roof kept on growing in France and became even more fashionable during the reign of Napoleon the 3rd (1852–1870). During this time, the Mansard roof style spread across the world and was adopted in buildings in United States, Canada, and many other western countries.

Although the Mansard roof was not used quite as often in traditional homes, it featured in many high-rise residential buildings, especially in the late 1960s and 1970s. Later on, many small commercial buildings also adopted a Mansard style roof. However, unlike a traditional Mansard roof, these roofs had a flat top.

What Is A Mansard Roof And What Advantages/ Disadvantages (6)

(Video) Mansard Enclosure

A Mansard Roof Building Located In Fifth Avenue And 19th Street
via Ephemeral New York

Conclusion

Before we bid adieu, let us end this article with a word of advice. Although Mansard Roofs may look sophisticated, and in many cases ostentatious, they are not very practical, especially if you are considering to install it in your home.

They are a piece of architectural heritage, and while that may be a tempting reason to use this roof in your home, we would advise you to to choose the roof type very carefully with your region`s climate in mind.

Roof types are often overlooked yet they represent a highly relevant part of our homes, our shells, our armour reason for which we invite you to read more on the types of roofs worth considering here.

Illustration Courtesy to Homesthetics and Designaissance

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FAQs

What is a mansard type roof? ›

mansard roof, type of roof having two slopes on every side, the lower slope being considerably steeper than the upper. In cross section the straight-sided mansard can appear like a gambrel roof, but it differs from the gambrel by displaying the same profile on all sides.

What are the disadvantages of roof? ›

Followings are the disadvantages of the pitched roof system.
  • Pitched roofs place a greater burden on the foundations of the building and demand a greater depth of the footings. ...
  • Not feasible for buildings with multiple levels or complex plans. ...
  • More expensive to install and maintain.

What materials are used for mansard roof? ›

There are two options I recommend for a mansard roof, synthetic shingles and cedar shake shingles. Synthetic shingles are made out of recycled plastic to look like slate or cedar shake shingles. They're a premium line of shingles, so they'll be more expensive than standard asphalt shingles.

Why is it called a mansard roof? ›

The Mansard Roof is named after the noted 17th-century French architect Francois Mansart. It was a most functional device to increase the usefulness of the attic storey with bet- ter light and headroom. On top of the steeply pitched lower surface is a low hip, frequently looking flat.

Where are mansard roofs common? ›

This roof style gained popularity in Canada and the United States and many other western countries throughout the years. The most important reason that this roof style was so valued was because of the extra attic space that it added. The mansard-style roof allows more head space in the attic.

How is a mansard roof construction? ›

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.

How long does a mansard roof last? ›

If your mansard roof is equipped sustain snow and rain it could last for as long as a century. Copper is often used on these roofs because it is so good at resisting some of the damage that come with heavy snow and rainfall. Asphalt won't last as long as that though. It tends to last 20 to 30 years on mansard roofs.

How do you insulate a mansard roof? ›

This is easy and inexpensive to solve:
  1. Remove the soffit cover.
  2. Seal between the joists with foam board and foam.
  3. Install insulation under the overhang (R-30 or R-38) depending on the joist depth.
  4. If the soffit cover cannot be sealed add an air barrier such as 1/8″ plywood.
  5. Replace the soffit cover.

Can you remove a mansard roof? ›

When windows are inset, it may be possible to remove the mansard altogether. With protruding windows, an option is to box in the mansard by creating walls that run plumb from top to bottom rather than be sloped. This can create a more contemporary look with clean, straight architectural lines.

What is the advantage and disadvantages? ›

As nouns, the difference between disadvantage and advantage is that disadvantage is a weakness or undesirable characteristic; a con while the advantage is any condition, circumstance, opportunity, or means, particularly favorable to success, or any desired end.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of roof? ›

Advantages: These are easy to design, and they keep costs down, while also providing a slope for water to drain off. Disadvantages: High winds can be a problem for gable roofs if they're not well constructed, especially if there is too much overhang, in which case, the entire roof could be torn free.

What is the advantage of roof? ›

Protection against enviromental hazards. Pitched roofs are built to withstand snow, ice, water and wind. Shaped as a triangle, they are stable, stronger and ensure perfect water drainage. Some roofing tiles, like natural slate, are extremely tough, waterproof and fire-resistant.

What is the difference between a gambrel roof and a mansard roof? ›

Gambrel roofs are similar in construction to mansard roofs, with double-sloped sides; however, this style only covers two sides of the home, whereas mansard roofs cover four. Gambrel roofs are the top choice for barn roofs in the United States, but they are also common in Dutch Colonial style houses.

How do you Shingle a barn shed roof? ›

How to Shingle A Shed from Heartland Sheds - YouTube

What is truss camber? ›

Camber is a slight upward curve or arch. intentionally built into the middle of a. truss chord. Camber in trusses is usually. intended to hide or compensate for dead.

Are mansard roofs popular? ›

This journey even reached Hollywood, where it was a trademark of John Elgin Woolf's designs, also known as the architect to the stars. The mansard is one of the most used roof types around the world.

Can you put a metal roof on a mansard roof? ›

In many cases, a low slope roof covers the building above the mansard. We have found that metal shingles are often a great choice for mansard roofs.

What pitch is mansard? ›

A mansard roof, also known as a French or curb roof, is a roof characterised by that fact that each of its four sides has two pitches, the lower pitches being steeper than the upper pitches.

What angle is a mansard roof? ›

Early mansard roofs comprise a steep pitched roof, normally 70 degrees or greater, with a shallower secondary pitch above.

How do you install a mansard roof? ›

Creating a Mansard Roof in Autodesk Revit - YouTube

What are the 4 types of roofs? ›

4 Types of Roofs
  • Gable Roof. This roof type is known for its distinguishable triangular shape feature. ...
  • Mansard Roof. This roof type was adapted from the French and has a much steeper lower slope. ...
  • Flat Roof. This roof type may not be entirely flat but have a low-sloped pitch that makes them appear flat. ...
  • Hip Roof.
15 Oct 2020

When was the mansard roofs invented? ›

The earliest known example of a mansard roof is credited to Pierre Lescot on part of the Louvre built around 1550. This roof design was popularised in the early 17th century by François Mansart (1598–1666), an accomplished architect of the French Baroque period.

Do mansard roofs have attics? ›

Extra Attic Space

Compared to a standard Gable roof or Hip roof, Mansard roofs offer significantly more attic space due to the almost vertical bottom slope. The loft area of a Mansard roof does not need to compromise on space and can easily house a master bedroom if needed.

Where did the mansard house originate? ›

Key Features. The central feature of the Second Empire style is the mansard roof, a four-sided gambrel roof with a shallow or flat top usually pierced by dormer windows. This roof type originated in 16th century France and was fully developed in the 17th century by Francois Mansart, after whom it is named.

What is a false mansard? ›

A false mansard is often added to the front of an existing building to provide a permanent awning over lower-floor windows, or to make an old building appear more modern. These assemblies can be framed of wood or steel studs; or of wood or lightweight steel trusses.

Is a mansard roof permitted development? ›

The more sides of the roof that are available means more sides that can be transformed. A mansard loft conversion nearly always requires planning permission though due to how it affects both roof shape and structure, and thus doesn't fall into the realms of permitted development as some other types of loft conversion.

How much does a mansard extension cost? ›

The average cost of a mansard loft extension can go from £40,000 to £70,000, assuming the mansard covers the extension of the loft only.

Why do castles have blue roofs? ›

A blue roof is a roof of a building that is designed explicitly to provide initial temporary water storage and then gradual release of stored water, typically rainfall.

What is a saltbox roof? ›

What Is a Saltbox Roof? In its simplest form, a saltbox roof is a gable roof with asymmetrical planes, one long and one short side. The short side typically has a low slope, while the long side has a steep slope.

What is a mansard room? ›

Like a gambrel roof, a mansard roof has two slopes on each side, with the upper being less steep and shorter than the lower slope. Unlike a gambrel roof, however, a mansard roof has slopes on all four sides.

What is a barn style roof called? ›

GAMBREL ROOF

A gambrel, or barn roof, is much like mansard in a sense that it has two different slopes.

What is example of disadvantages? ›

The definition of a disadvantage is an unfavorable situation or something that puts someone in an unfavorable situation. An example of a disadvantage is a baseball player not being able to play. An example of a disadvantage is a baseball team's star player having to sit out because of an injury.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of risk? ›

Importance of Risk Management in Project Management:
Advantages or Benefits of Risk Management ProcessDisadvantages of Risk Management Process
Benefits of risk identificationComplex calculations
Benefits of risk assessmentUnmanaged losses
Treatment of risksAmbiguity
Minimization of risksDepends on external entities
6 more rows

What is another word for advantages and disadvantages? ›

“But the answer is to be found in the fact that the advantages and disadvantages of parenthood are inextricably bound together.”
...
What is another word for advantages and disadvantages?
pros and consfors and againsts
positive negative effectsreasons to support and oppose
strengths and shortcomingsstrengths and weaknesses
11 more rows

What is the advantage and disadvantage of flat roof? ›

Flat roofs are generally versatile, easier to maintain, and more energy-efficient than most sloped roofs, so new home builders, in particular, enjoy the lower cost of long-term ownership. However, despite their advantages, it's vital to consider the drawbacks of flat roofs.

What is the major disadvantage of using a flat roof? ›

The biggest drawback of flat roofs is the drainage or lack thereof. Sure, flat roofs do have a slight slope that drains the water, but not nearly as efficiently as a pitched roof. The rainwater tends to remain on the roof and form a puddle, which can lead to possible leaks or material damage.

What is the advantage of concrete flat roof? ›

Flat concrete roofs are generally low maintenance, meaning they are easy to clean and aren't too difficult to access. Like any other roofing, debris and dirt can pile up over time. However, roofers can easily remove these from the surface without damaging the roof itself.

What is a roof used for? ›

roof, covering of the top of a building, serving to protect against rain, snow, sunlight, wind, and extremes of temperature. Roofs have been constructed in a wide variety of forms—flat, pitched, vaulted, domed, or in combinations—as dictated by technical, economic, or aesthetic considerations.

How long do mansard roofs last? ›

If your mansard roof is equipped sustain snow and rain it could last for as long as a century. Copper is often used on these roofs because it is so good at resisting some of the damage that come with heavy snow and rainfall. Asphalt won't last as long as that though. It tends to last 20 to 30 years on mansard roofs.

Why is it called a mansard roof? ›

The Mansard Roof is named after the noted 17th-century French architect Francois Mansart. It was a most functional device to increase the usefulness of the attic storey with bet- ter light and headroom. On top of the steeply pitched lower surface is a low hip, frequently looking flat.

What is the difference between a hip roof and a mansard roof? ›

Mansard roofs (mentioned below) have four sides just like the hip roof, but what makes hip roof designs superior is that their roof sections have more of a slope, which makes deflecting water and wind easier. With hip roofs, you'll see a continuous slope for all four sides of the roof.

Do mansard roofs need gutters? ›

Drainage from upper roofs is best if controlled by gutters. However, not all mansard roofs were built to accommodate gutters at the base of the upper roofs. In those cases, we look for ways to channel the water away from the mansard roofs or distribute it over a wide area.

What is a false mansard? ›

A false mansard is often added to the front of an existing building to provide a permanent awning over lower-floor windows, or to make an old building appear more modern. These assemblies can be framed of wood or steel studs; or of wood or lightweight steel trusses.

Is a mansard roof flat on top? ›

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.

What are the angles of a mansard roof? ›

What pitch is a mansard roof? The mansard roof has two pitches to consider the upper and lower slopes. The lower slope has about a 70 degree pitch while the upper section has about a 30-36 degree pitch.

How do you install a mansard roof? ›

Creating a Mansard Roof in Autodesk Revit - YouTube

What are the 4 types of roofs? ›

4 Types of Roofs
  • Gable Roof. This roof type is known for its distinguishable triangular shape feature. ...
  • Mansard Roof. This roof type was adapted from the French and has a much steeper lower slope. ...
  • Flat Roof. This roof type may not be entirely flat but have a low-sloped pitch that makes them appear flat. ...
  • Hip Roof.
15 Oct 2020

What type of roof is best? ›

The most durable types of roofing are slate and clay tiles but they're more expensive than materials like metal or wood. Functional roofing alternatives like green roofs and solar shingles are among the most expensive types. Replacing an old roof is one of the best and most profitable ways to invest in a home.

Can a mansard roof be changed? ›

Due to its uniqueness, replacing a mansard roof is slightly different from the more common roof styles. That's why you need to know a few things before going through with your mansard roof replacement. Because we put such an emphasis on educating homeowners like you, we're going to break it down.

Do mansard roofs have attics? ›

Extra Attic Space

Compared to a standard Gable roof or Hip roof, Mansard roofs offer significantly more attic space due to the almost vertical bottom slope. The loft area of a Mansard roof does not need to compromise on space and can easily house a master bedroom if needed.

How do you insulate a mansard roof? ›

This is easy and inexpensive to solve:
  1. Remove the soffit cover.
  2. Seal between the joists with foam board and foam.
  3. Install insulation under the overhang (R-30 or R-38) depending on the joist depth.
  4. If the soffit cover cannot be sealed add an air barrier such as 1/8″ plywood.
  5. Replace the soffit cover.

What is a mansard loft conversion? ›

What is a Mansard Loft Conversion? A Mansard conversion is typically built to the rear of your property and has a horizontal roof with an almost vertical 72-degree back wall. This not only creates a vast amount of loft space but means it has desirable room shaped proportions.

What is a saltbox roof? ›

What Is a Saltbox Roof? In its simplest form, a saltbox roof is a gable roof with asymmetrical planes, one long and one short side. The short side typically has a low slope, while the long side has a steep slope.

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