Thursday, November 28, 2013


"It is the one worker who makes the first advance in the subject; the details may be worked out by the team, but the prime idea is due to the enterprise, thought, and perception of an individual." By Sir Alexander Fleming.

A cupola brings in cooler air, while allowing warm air to escape. Our forefathers understood that by removing the hot, moist, stagnant air from the attic promoted longevity for the roofing structure. It has been said cupolas were the early form of air conditioning.

Cupolas are the small buildings that sit on top of the roof. Cupolas appear to look like a miniature house house, both louvered and window ones can be functional in providing roof ventilation. When purchasing a functional cupola. check to see if they are built with screens to keep the bugs out.

From residential barns to grand cathedrals the cupola provides both an aesthetic appeal as well as a functional use. Cupolas add stateliness and a focal point to the buildings upon which they are placed.

Wood is the preferred material as it doesn't retain heat, so the hot air escapes through the windows or louvered sides. The number of louvers will determine how well they ventilate, the greater the number the better the ventilation. Circulating air to reduce moisture levels and bring in fresh air is ventilation.

The American Institute of Architects estimates that 90% of homes in the United States have unacceptable high levels of moisture.

Insufficient ventilation can lead to moisture problems in the winter and decreased energy efficiency during the summer. If the warm moist air remains in the attic, it causes condensation that will eventually rot the roofs sheathing. In the northern states, when the moist warm air remains in the attic, it can melt the snow causing ice dams on the roof.

Cupolas are placed on the roof which is the optimal place as heat rises to the top. The temperature on the roof is 30-35 degrees warmer than the temperature on the groung?

Adding a cupola to the roof allows a way for the heat trapped to escape, by providing a natural flow of warm, moist air in an upward direction through the sides of the cupola. This movement of air eliminates mold, mildew, wood rot and musty odors. Other benefits include overall airflow and light to be filtered to the inside.

When purchasing a cupola for roof ventilation, a hole needs to be cut into the roof. It is recommended that the hole be six inches less than the outer base of the cupola. Using a cupola for ventilation requires metal flashing applied around the base. It is beneficial to work with a qualified contractor when doing this.

The functional role of cupolas for roof ventilation has been replaced in the most part to a decorative architectural accent. Cupolas spice up any building, whether purchased for functional or decorative. They create a country motif to existing or new buildings.

Copyright (c) 2009 Elda Titus

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