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HomeFactsHow To Install A Cupola On A Roof

How To Install A Cupola On A Roof

Attach The Vent Housing To The Saddle

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The barn cupola isnt terribly heavy: The three parts weigh about 80 lbs. altogether. But they are large and clumsy. If youre not comfortable carrying them up a ladder, rent scaffolding. For a typical garage, youll need only one section of scaffolding. For a one-story house, you may need two sections.

Fasten the vent housing to the saddle by driving 3-in. screws through the sill into the 2×2 rails inside the saddle. Be sure the housing is centered on the saddle before you drive any screws.

Determine The Roof Pitch:

On the ground insert one screw into the ends of the two 24 inch pieces of wood to make a hinge tool to copy the roof pitch.

Bring this bevel up on the roof and lay it over the area where you removed the ridge shingles. Insure that the angle finder is pressed tightly to the shingles and then insert a second screw to lock in and hold the angle in place. Once this is complete use a level to mark a plumb line in the center of your ridge and onto your angle finder. This plumb line will be your top reference line when tracing the cupola. Bring your angle finder off the roof to the cupola to be installed.

Cupola Sizing Guidelines & Diagrams

1. Determine the length of the ridge line of your building roof where the cupola will be installed. 2. Most architects would agree that the formula of 1 to 1 1/2 of cupola BASE per foot of roofline is pleasing to most eyes. For example: a normal two garage, with a 24 ridge line would accept a cupola with a 24 to 36 base.

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Then Find Your Roofs Pitch

For this next part, youll need to create a hinge tool to measure the angle of your roofs pitchand to help you get it right when you cut your cupolas base to fit. To do this, screw two 24-inch boards together at their ends, keeping the screw loose enough that the boards can be worked back and forth.

Lay the hinge tool across your roof ridge and adjust the boards until it fits snugly. Screw the two boards together tightly and bring your hinge tool down with you off the roof. Youll use this to find the angle when you cut out your cupola base.

Cupola Installation Instructions And Tips

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Roof Cupolas are mostly installed for looks, but sometimies, to provide an additional ventilation in your attic.

The very first step in any cupola installation is determining & purchasing the right size of cupola. Unfortunately, there is no precise rule of thumb that you can follow to determine the size of cupola to install. Some cupola manufactures suggest to use 1-1 ratio . Other manufacturers suggest to use 1.5-1 ratio. At the end, its really up to each individual to come up with the right size of cupola that will look best on their roof. Keep in mind that on long roofs you will need to install 2 or more cupolas instead of one large cupola for best looks. on bottom.

The second step in any cupola installation is to properly cut out your cupola base. To do this, you must first determine roof angle or make a pattern using two boards .

First, remove ridge cap where cupola will be installed. Take two 1×4 boards, lay them on edge pushing them tight against your roof and fasten together. Use bottom of this pattern to mark cupola base on two sides. Cut the base with jig saw, circular saw or regular hand saw.

To prevent any leaks, installation of metal or aluminum flashing is recommended. Remove few extra courses of ridge cap and install flashing on roof ridge, so its about 12longer on each side of cupola.

Note: If you have aluminum ridge vent, cut out just enough, so cupola fits tight in between.

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Build The ‘witch’s Cap’ Roof For The Shed Cupola

The curved roof is the most time-consuming part of this project. Here are some tips to make the job go smoothly:

  • Use a jigsaw to cut the curved rafters. Don’t worry about making the curves perfect. The roof sheathing will smooth over bumps and dips.
  • The gaps between the pieces of sheathing at the ridges will allow the ridge cap shingles to curve gently over the ridges. If you place the sheathing pieces tightly together, you’ll get a sharp ridge and the shingles will crack when you bend them.
  • Cut full-size shingles into 4-in. wide strips with a utility knife, using a framing square as a guide. Each of the three tabs on a full shingle is about 12 in. wide., so you’ll get nine small shingles from each full shingle.

Attach The Brick Mold Frames

Assemble brick mold frames between the posts. Pre-drill and countersink the holes before driving screws. You may have to draw the posts together or spread them apart to make the top piece of brick mold fit. Screw the bottom and sides of the frames to the posts and screw the top piece to the sides. Remember to fasten the beveled cut-offs to the sill with nails and construction adhesive before you install the brick mold. Fig. A shows the details.

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First Decide Where The Cupola Will Go

For the most part, cupolas get placed squarely in the center of a roof ridge, although thats definitely not a hard-and-fast rule. Its not uncommon to see it placed in an asymmetrical arrangement, either, particularly if you have a door to one side of your home. Additionally, some homeowners will even go for two or three cupolasalthough theyll need to be properly proportioned across the roof.

Once you figure it out, its time to climb up on the roof. A word of caution here: it sounds totally obvious, but you should never get up on a roof thats wet or icy. You can walk on your roof, but take it slowly, and use your hands to help keep your balance if you need to.

Run a tape measurer across the length of the ridge and make a mark in the center, or at whatever point youve decided to the cupola. Divide your cupolas base width in half, and measure that distance out both in front and in back of your first mark. Mark each of these spots.

Carefully remove the ridge shingles in this area with a utility knife. Make sure not to cut into the sheathing below.

Center Cupolas On Half The Ridgeline

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The most common installment is the standard placement, as shown below, where each cupola is centered on half the ridgeline.

Following is a picture of a live installment of 2 cupolas. This is a standard placement with each unit centered on half of the barn.

Another option for where to install 2 barn cupolas is to evenly distribute them from the center, as shown below:

The following is an example of how to install 2 barn cupolas using, even distribution with the same amount of open space on the outside and in between.

Another way to install 2 cupolas on a barn is to opt for end-to-end distribution, as shown here:

With a larger barn, or any building, where you plan to install 3 cupolas, combine the even distribution method with the end-to-end method. Following is an example of even distribution between 3 cupolas, with the outside units on the ends of the roofline.

You can browse our high-quality, Amish-made cupolas to find the perfect barn cupola or cupolas for your building. If youre still undecided or you have a building with a unique design, contact us for guidance at .


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And Finally Attach And Seal Your Cupola

Screw the cupola wall against the outside edge of each mounting board. Once its firmly in place, apply silicone sealant against each seamthis will prevent moisture infiltration in your roof. Then, head down off the roof and take in the beauty of your homes new accent piece from the ground!

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Position The Cupola On The Roof:

Once you are satisfied with the fit on the roof attache the cupola with two to three stainless steel screws into each mounting block. Plug or patch the screw holes. On PVC cupolas I use the Cortex screw and plug system

Apply silicone only to the seams that straddle the ridge and are fastened to the mounting blocks. This will keep angled water from getting under your cupola and getting to your mounting blocks. Leave the lower pitches roof edges open to drain any wind driven snow or moisture that may make its way under the louvers. Use the ridge shingles that you removed, if in good condition, to make any additional patches or to cover and roofing you removed.

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Cut The Cupola Base To Match Your Roofs Pitch

The base of your cupola comes square. Since roofs have all different pitch angles, the manufacturer leaves it up to the installerthats youto cut it down to size.

Use an angle finder to measure the pitch of your hinge tool, then position it against the cupola base. Trace over this line, and then do the same thing on the other side of the cupola. Use a saw to cut a piece out on each side.

Install A Cupola On A Roof

Installing roof to wall flashing

A cupola dresses up an otherwise boring roof line. It also does a great job of ventilating garage attic spaces.

Question: I want to put a cupola equipped with a functional weather vane on my garage roof. How do I cut the bottom of the cupola so that it matches the roof slope? How do I keep rain from entering the garage after I cut the hole for the cupola? How is the weather vane supported?

My roof pitch is just 6 inches of rise in 12 inches of run, so I can easily stand and work on it.

Answer: Since your garage roof has a medium pitch, you may be able to complete this job in one day. If the roof were steeply pitched, the job would require specialized rigging and a helper.

To get the correct slope, seasoned carpenters use a framing square and a level to determine the pitch. Once they know the pitch, they apply the framing square on the bottom of the cupola and duplicate the roof angle.

You can get the same results with a level, a pencil and a square piece of cardboard that is 12 inches longer than the base of the cupola.

Set your ladder at the side of the roof and extend it so that the top is just below the peak. When you climb up, take the pencil, level and cardboard. Position the cardboard at the edge of the roof. Use the level to make sure the bottom of the cardboard is level. The top of the cardboard should be about 3 inches higher than the peak of the roof.

Reach around the cardboard and trace the roof line on the back. You now have a handy template.

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How To Install A Cupola

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You will find copies of our cupola installation guide on this page. When purchasing one of our cupolas, you will also receive a copy of our cupola installation guide when your cupola is delivered. If you are unsure of your roof pitch, you can use the roof pitch calculator diagram on this page. If youre still uncertain of your roof pitch, feel free to contact one of our professionals.

Nail On The Roof Shingles

Shingle the roof beginning with a starter strip, a full shingle nailed to the roof upside down. The starter strip should overhang the plywood by about 3/4 in. With the starter strips in place, begin nailing on the 4-in. wide shingles. As with the plywood roof sheathing, leaving a gap between the shingles at the ridges. Glue the lower edge of each 4-in. tab down with a dab of roofing cement.

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How To Install A Decorative Cupola

A decorative cupola differs from a functional cupola in that the roofing material and roof sheathing does not need to be cut away to create a vent hole. these types of cupolas should be installed with step flashing to prevent leaks.

  • Jig saw or hand saw
  • Drill with 1/8 pilot bit
  • Drill driver or screw driver
  • 2-1/2 stainless screws and 4 structural screws.
  • Two 24 pieces of pine or strapping and a screw to make a roof angle finder
  • Exterior wood putty or plugs
  • Silicone caulking and caulking gun
  • Touch up paint
  • Roofing nails and roofing caulk
  • 2×4 material for mounting to roof sheathing
  • Cupola and weather vane if applicable
  • Copper Roof Patina And How To Achieve It

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    August 19, 2018 by dina

    To properly understand whats involved in achieving a copper roof patina one must first understand copper.

    Copper is an extremely durable and versatile metal that can last close to one hundred years and even after can be recycled and almost one hundred percent reused.

    The thing about copper that a lot of people love is that its natural coloring is very sensitive to the air and certain elements of the air that are geographically relevant, as well as that areas humidity. The environment will affect the color and the rate at which the copper changes colors.

    That being said it is still possible to use chemical treatments to advance this copper roof patina process. Its even possible to choose the color of a coppers patina through chemical treatment. There is, however, a major caveat to that unnatural choice.

    Coppers natural patina occurs as a gradual progression depending on the coppers physical orientation and the local weather and pollution levels on a grading scale of lighter and lighter greens. The copper roof starts out salmon pink brown and makes its way to the statue of liberty bright green.

    Van De Hey Refined Roofing, LLC is a custom roofing company that proudly services the Appleton, Little Chute and the Fox Valley area, Sheboygan, Oshkosh, Madison, Milwaukee, Shorewood, Sheboygan, Oconomowoc, Verona, Waukesha, Green Bay, and De Pere areas in Wisconsin. Call VR Roofing for all of your copper roofing needs.

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    Screw The Sheathing To The Rafters

    Fasten the 3/8-in. plywood to the rafters with 1-1/4 in. screws. Begin at the middle, driving the screws at an angle. There should be a gap between the pieces of sheathing. When the sheathing is done, center the roof on the vent housing and drive four screws up through the soffit into the roofs base. You can remove the roof later to make it easier to carry. Important: Be sure to cut the roof sheathing so that the grain runs horizontally across each piece. Plywood bends more easily across the grain than with the grain.

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    How Do I Install A Decorative Cupola On My Roof

    Love decorating? Why focus all your attention on your homes interiors? A cupola adds a classic and unique twist to exterior surfaces, making it a loving update that really shows the world just how much you care about your home. Plus, its easy enough for a moderately experienced carpenter to install one, too. Read on for the full details below.

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    Metal Cupola Installation Guide:

    Please read installation guide thoroughly before starting. If base has a factor cutout skip steps 1-3.

    1. Prepare Roof – There is no preparation necessary to your roof if your cupola is to be installed for decoration only. If a ridge vent or cap is present, then remove to fit over cupola flashing. Additional cap flashing may be installed over ridge on the inside of the cupola.

    Prepare Roof – If your cupola will be used for ventilation or accessibility, cut an opening in the roof, that is at least 12″ smaller than the cupola base or 5″ – 6″ smaller than the very inside measurement of the cupola. The sill above the cupola base is typically the smallest inside dimension. For example a 60″ cupola has an inside sill measurement of approx 49″, so the opening in the roof should be no bigger than 44″. Make sure that the main roofing material pertrudes into the cupola, up to the roof opening. Remove roofing & sheathing only. Do not cut ridge or rafters.

    2. Determine Your Roof Pitch – Screw two boards together so they pivot. Straddle the roof with each board as shown, making sure each side is flat against the roof and the center is at the center of the peak. Mark the boards & apply another screw. This becomes your cutting template.

    Finally Add The Cupola Roof

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    Once the barn cupola is on the roof, all that’s left is screwing the three parts together, caulking and touching up the paint. Drive 2-in. screws through the soffit into the roof’s plywood base. Then caulk over the screwheads and touch them up with paint. Now there’s something to crow about!

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