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  • Writer's pictureChad Brittian

What Is A Copula?

It’s back to school time for the kiddos so why not follow suit and take the time to do a little learning yourself? This article contains some interesting information, fun facts and things you probably didn’t know about cupolas. We even learned a few things!

So, what exactly is a cupola? Cupolas are a small, dome like feature seen atop barns, homes and other structures. They consist of a base, vent and cap. Cupolas have an aesthetic appeal but many may not know that they’re also used to aid in ventilation of the structure. In fact, they were initially used by farmers in the US as a form of ventilation on barns to prevent hay from drying and to allow gases from manure to escape.

Fun Fact: While driving around, notice the large, eccentric domes on churches or mosques. Those are actually a form of cupolas! Who knew? Their initial widespread use was in India before gaining

popularity in the US.

Here are some options to think about when considering a cupola:

Cupolas come in a variety of designs- square, round, octagonal and more. The most popular are the square with louvers. Louvers are the blind like feature and are used to aid in ventilation or they can just be used as a feature and add to the appeal of the cupola, your choice.

You may also choose to go with the “lighthouse” feel and install a cupola with windows. When used for ventilation, the windows can be opened and closed automatically. Want to get extra fancy? Some window units come with a sensor so when it rains, they automatically close to prevent water from coming in! There are also units with lights in them as a focal point. Pretty cool.

There are different cap (cupola “roof”) options as well. You can choose from an aluminum or copper cap, depending on the look you’re going for.

If you want to add an elegant touch to the cupola, try having copper flashing installed at the base.

Want the farm appeal? Add a weather vane atop the cupola! Either way, you won’t go wrong as they are both beautiful and visually appealing.

While getting estimates for installation, the size will be based on the slope and pitch of your roof. Size will also depend on the look or functionality you’re trying to achieve. Be sure the contractor gets on the roof to properly measure, otherwise, you may end up with the wrong size.

For aesthetics or a more bold statement, remember- the larger the cupola the more dramatic the appearance or affect. If using for ventilation, be sure your home is assessed to ensure you have adequate insulation and ventilation for your square footage. If you’re concerned about heat or cold air escaping, don’t be. As long as your home is well insulated and “air sealed” you shouldn’t notice a big difference but again, be sure and have your home’s insulation and ventilation properly assessed before moving forward.

Cupolas are simply lovely additions to homes, barns and buildings all over the world. Hopefully, you’ve learned some fun little facts about their use and history so next time you see one, you’ll have a little inside info you can teach your friends.

Pictured- Louvered Cupola with Weather Vane installed by ABC Roofing Company, Inc.

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