Mansard roofs present very unique challenges to property owners and to contractors. Oftentimes a true architectural focus of the building, mansard roofs are near-vertical roofs that cover the top portion of a building. In many cases, a low slope roof covers the building above the mansard. I have found that metal shingles are often a great choice for mansard roofs. Let’s look at some of the special challenges presented by mansard roofs, and how metal addresses them.
Visual Appeal. Mansard roofs, because they create sort of a “cap” or “crown” for the building, tend to draw the viewer’s eye. They are a big part of what you see when you look at the building. For that reason, it makes sense to choose a material that is visually appealing – a product that is attractive and complements the rest of the building. Today’s metal shingles, with the high profile beauty of shakes, slate, and tile, can complement mansard-roofed buildings very well.
Steep Pitch. The steep pitch of a mansard roof presents probably the greatest challenge. Standard shingles have a difficult time sealing together on steep pitches. In many cases, the manufacturers will not warrant their products on mansard roofs because of this. Additionally, any product which may slip out of place presents a real danger with mansard roofs. Something like a heavy tile falling from a mansard roof will seriously injure anyone or anything it strikes on the ground. Metal shingles which interlock on all sides cannot slip out of place and cause this sort of risk. The interlocks make these products very wind resistant. Metal shingles are also very low weight, an added bonus.
Energy Efficiency. Because it really is a wall of sorts, mansard roofs present an opportunity to keep heat outside of the building during the summer and inside during the winter. Metal shingle roofs, with reflective coatings, help with summer efficiency. Winter efficiency can be achieved by insulating behind the roofing, again something which is difficult to do with other products and may void their warranties.
Window Trim-Outs. Mansard roofs often have cut-outs for windows or balcony doors. Trimming out around these cut-outs is critical to an attractive and weathertight roof. Metal shingles offer trim pieces specifically for these applications.
If you have a mansard roof, please send me a photo. I will be happy to correspond with you about the challenges posed by your roof and the possible solutions. My email is email@example.com
Todd's expertise comes from his years of experience in metal roofing manufacturing. As president of Isaiah Industries, based in Piqua Ohio, Todd runs a several of the world’s leading manufacturers of residential metal roofing; Classic Metal Roofing Systems, Kassel & Irons, and Green American Home. His personal goal is to educate homeowners of the long-life benefits of metal roofing.
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