Designed to give a home a Tudor or cottage look, mansard roofs have shingles on the top and sides. Also known as Curb or French roofs, these architectural designs aren’t very common these days. Read on to better understand the pros and cons of this beautiful but uncommon style of roof.

What Exactly Is it?

Mansard roofs originated in 17th century France, where they were a common appearance atop many city structures. In America, the style is mostly seen in the South, where French influence tended to be strongest.

This style includes a four-sided roofing structure, with each side having a sort of double slope that joins to create a low-pitched roof. The lower slope is usually much steeper and, in some cases, almost perpendicular to the ground. The upper slope, on the other hand, is often so gentle it is mistaken for being flat. With mansard roofs, the lower slopes are often decorative and may be flat, curved or embellished with additional architectural details.

With all that said, a mansard roof isn’t just a roof; it actually functions as the outer walls of a home as well. Usually, the top story of a house will have roof shingles all the way around the walls instead of just at the top.

While a mansard roof has a uniquely compelling look, it still serves the same function as any other roof. The roof will generally come out about two feet from the bottom and then begin slanting upward to the ridge, so there’s enough of an angle for water to run toward the gutters.

What Are the Benefits?

One of the primary advantages that initially popularized this style was its ability to open up more living space without having to add stories to a building. What may have been a narrow attic or crawl space beneath a traditionally sloped roof, becomes a much larger and liveable space.

Whether you are designing a home or searching for the home of your dreams, a mansard roof can provide nice flexibility. Not only does it look especially charming, the roofing style can give you the option of making additions without having to completely redo the roof.

It also provides an old-world aesthetic that’s not particularly common in most parts of the country. This is especially attractive to people who want their homes to stand out.

mansard style roof

What Are the Drawbacks?

Since they are less common and more ornate than the typical roof, Mansard roofs usually cost more to install. They are also not a good option for areas that tend to receive heavy snowfall, because the low-pitched roof can accumulate a lot of snow.

Mansard roofs also tend to require more expensive materials. While they can be used, standard asphalt shingles aren’t the best choice for these types of roofs. Instead, roofers tend to recommend cedar shakes or synthetic shingles.

Made from recycled plastic, synthetic shingles are created to look like cedar or shake shingles. Since they are a premium line of shingles, they can be more expensive compared to standard asphalt shingles. That said, unlike asphalt shingles, they won’t slide down the vertical sides of a mansard roof.

Cedar shake shingles are also premium shingles made of natural wood. Instead of having to hammer each individual cedar shake to the vertical sides of a mansard roof, installers often use a convenient strip of six cedar shakes that are installed as panels. These panels give the appearance that every shingle was installed individually.

Like synthetic shingles, however, cedar shakes are more expensive than ordinary asphalt shingles. In the end, it’ll be up to your individual budget, your home’s location, and the look you want when deciding whether a mansard roof is right for you.

A locally owned roofing contractor, A to Z Roofing is your one-stop source for reputable and affordable roofing services. For almost three full decades, we have been repairing, replacing and installing roofs throughout Colorado using top-quality products installed by talented technicians who always prioritize safety and customer satisfaction.

If your home’s roof has seen better days due to harsh weather and general aging, we can help. A to Z has developed a widespread reputation as one of Colorado’s leading roofing contractors by providing reliable workmanship and honest customer service. Contact our experienced team to learn more.