RoofViews

Your Home

What Is a Mansard Roof?

By Mark Soto

June 21, 2022

Home with a dark shingled mansard roof.

A mansard roof is one of the more unique styles of roof, especially in a residential setting. Beyond its aesthetic, it offers a set of benefits that other roofs can't match—however, it also comes with some special considerations. On the right home, mansard roofs can provide both style and protection for you and your family.

What Is a Mansard Roof?

Mansard roofs traditionally have four sides: each one has two slopes, one above the other. The lower slope has a much steeper pitch than the upper slope. This type of roof first gained popularity during the French Renaissance before expanding to other countries.

Mansard roofs can be part of a gambrel design, but do not have to be. They can tie into a low slope roof or be the visible side of a parapet on a low slope roof in both residential and commercial construction. The main difference is that mansard roofs on residential houses have four sides, while gambrel roofs only have two. Hip roofs and mansard roofs also share similarities—they both have four sloped sides—but the mansard's dual slopes draw a distinction.

History of Mansard Roofs

Mansard roofs became popular in France during the 17th century, but their creation dates back to the 16th century. The architect François Mansart used their design to help increase the living space in his buildings. This French foundation is why the style is also commonly called the "French roof."

In the 19th century, architects in the United States started to use mansard roofs in their design which grew their familiarity. The ability to add more living space upwards without needing to expand sideways made it quite an attractive option, especially in urban areas where land was scarce.

In recent years, the roof has decreased in usage due to height restrictions in some areas. Mansard roofs are much more common in large buildings rather than single-family homes. However, there are still plenty of large family homes throughout the nation that use mansard roof designs due to their unique ability to add living space to the home.

Benefits of a Mansard Roof

Aesthetics played a significant role in this roof spreading out of France. Mansard roofs offer an elegant look that can be difficult to match with styles like flat or gable roofs. They also typically feature dormer windows on their lower slope, allowing in plenty of natural sunlight. Dormer windows are a vital part of the roof architecture, so they're very common. Windows brighten up dim attics, promote airflow, and give a stylish appearance from the outside.

Due to their design, these roof types also provide more living space for attics. Without a steep roof pitch that cuts off areas, as with a gable or hip roof, you can make an additional room out of your attic. Plus, the natural light that enters makes any area feel bigger. Another favorable feature they provide is ease of expandability. If you're looking to add more space to your home one day, it's a much easier process with this roof due to its almost vertical bottom slope.

Types of Mansard Variations

There are three main mansard variations that can affect the look of the roof.

  • A straight design has a minor top slope that isn't always visible and an almost vertical bottom slope. If you look at it from the bottom, it's hard to see the slope at the top.

  • A convex design is similar to a straight design, but the bottom slope goes out at an outward curve instead of straight. You can get the most space out of the area with this option.

  • A concave design gives an inward curve appearance at the bottom slope. While this appearance can be quite elegant, it also reduces the amount of space inside compared to the other two choices.

If a mansard roof sounds like a good option for your home, contact a certified roofing contractor by GAF* for your next roofing project.



*Contractors enrolled in GAF certification programs are not employees or agents of GAF, and GAF does not control or otherwise supervise these independent businesses. Contractors may have agreed that they will use GAF roofing products, and may receive benefits, such as loyalty rewards points and discounts on marketing tools from GAF for participating in the program.

About the Author

Mark Soto is a freelance writer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has comprehensive knowledge of home improvement projects based on his previous work. Mark comes from a family of DIYers and has worked with landscapers, plumbers, painters and other contractors. He also writes about camping and his enthusiasm for the outdoors.

Related Articles

GAF worker applies StreetBond®, a solar-reflective pavement coating, to an asphalt court.
In Your Community

GAF Partners with the Orlando Magic to Revamp a Sports Court

A newly renovated basketball court at Chambers Park Community Center in Kissimmee, Florida, is a slam dunk for local children and families. GAF is proud to have partnered with the Orlando Magic, AdventHealth, and the city of Kissimmee to make this community's hoop dreams come true.The Chambers Park Community Center is a focal point of the Kissimmee community. The facility offers after-school programs, community events, and camps. It also features a popular neighborhood playground and basketball court where friends and families gather.The collaborative work involved in upgrading the sports court—which reopened on January 10, 2024—is just one example of how the GAF Community Matters program supports and celebrates neighborhoods nationwide.Renovating the Court's Coating and DesignThe inspiration for this project came from wanting to enhance the quality of life for the residents of Kissimmee and provide a safe, vibrant place for families to play outdoors. GAF understands the importance of building resilient communities, so the company donated cutting-edge materials and covered the cost of installation labor to ensure the Chambers Park Community Center's new sports court was a perfect outdoor place to play. To make the asphalt court as safe and durable as possible, GAF used StreetBond® solar-reflective, durable pavement coating with Invisible Shade™. The product can help reduce pavement surface temperatures by an average of 10°F while also helping to protect the pavement from premature degradation due to heat and UV rays.In areas where heat collects, also known as "urban heat islands," there tend to be few trees and minimal shady vegetation, so blacktops and hard surfaces—including parking lots, roadways, concrete recreation areas, and roofs—absorb and release heat well into the evening. Over time, these excess temperatures may contribute to heat-related health effects and negatively impact quality of life for local area residents. This wasn't the first time GAF deployed pioneering cooling strategies to enhance a community's experience. As part of the GAF Cool Community project in Pacoima, California, StreetBond® was used to help diminish urban heat island effects. GAF quickly completed the work in Kissimmee and the facility was opened to the public shortly afterward. The sports court's vibrant design uses custom-made colors inspired by the blue retro logo honoring the Orlando Magic's 35th anniversary court.Celebrating the Court's OpeningCurrent and former Orlando Magic players and Kissimmee's Mayor celebrated the court's unveiling. Team mascot STUFF the Magic Dragon joined the festivities to the crowd's delight.Sixty youth from the Chambers Park Community Center after-school program also attended the court's reopening. The students were thrilled to join in a fast-paced basketball skills clinic. The newly launched court was their chance to meet their sports heroes up close, take photos with them, and enjoy their new playground.Investing in Communities of the FutureThe Chambers Park Community Center's sports court is an important gathering space where youth and their families can safely play, build relationships, and develop their skills.With this project, the GAF Community Matters initiative continues its longstanding partnership in neighborhoods across the country. GAF is committed to making a positive difference by offering roofing expertise, resources, and products to help build more resilient communities.Providing safe, high-quality sports courts where residents can gather helps build resilient communities while promoting active, healthy lifestyles—and GAF is proud to play a role. To learn other ways GAF supports communities across the country, visit www.gaf.com/communitymatters.

By Authors Wendy Helfenbaum

May 28, 2024

Aerial shot of roofers repairing homes in the Atakapa Ishak Chawasha community.
In Your Community

Helping the Atakapa Ishak Chawasha Tribe Protect What Matters Most

The Louisiana coast has seen several severe weather events in the last decade, which has made it difficult for many people to rebuild their homes and prepare for future storms. This was the case for the Atakapa Ishak Chawasha tribe, a small community accessible only by boat.The group Rebuilding Together New Orleans recognized the impact a joint effort could have on the region. Together with the GAF Community Matters initiative, and roofing contractor Sunbelt Roofs, the group collaborated with the Atakapa Ishak Chawasha tribe to replace five hurricane-damaged roofs in the tribe's coastal Louisiana homeland.Sowing ResilienceThe week-long roof rebuilding initiative was part of the GAF Community Matters commitment to repair or replace 500 roofs throughout the Gulf region. The goal was to further strengthen and empower the resilience of the families, shelters, and livelihoods of the coastal Atakapa Ishak Chawasha tribe.The Timberline HDZ® RoofCycle™ Series Shingle, which is made with recycled material, was used to protect these homes.Adapting Environmentally"We are stewards of the environment," said Rosina Philippe, a tribal elder of the Atakapa Ishak Chawasha tribe, as she spoke with GAF during the week-long rebuilding initiative. Over a millennium, the tribe has resided in the region, finding all it needs to feed and sustain itself from the environment.However, man-made conditions have significantly impacted the tribe's way of life. The once-forested coastal region is now a salt marsh area, devoid of fresh water and trees, due to levees along the Mississippi River and canals cut through the coastal landscape.These changes have made it "more of a challenge to find the food and plants and medicines that we depend on for our livelihood. But we have been finding them, propagating them, and sharing them with other tribes," said Philippe. "Our way is to accept the natural processes, not change them."Fortifying against Unpredictable WeatherIn addition to the tribe's changing landscape, "what we're dealing with is the unpredictability of the weather," said Philippe. Climate change can cause dramatic temperature swings, which can impact everything from the life cycle of the tribe's crops to the protection of its homes.Situated at the southeasternmost lands of Plaquemines Parish, fingerlike marshland trails out into the Gulf. The homes in the Atakapa Ishak Chawasha community are built on stilts along these watery paths and are accessible only by boat. These homes are often the first line of impact with hurricanes that rip through the Gulf of Mexico.Hurricane Ida—the fifth most expensive hurricane in US history—dealt the water-based community a devastating blow. For nearly two years, the hurricane's impact on tribal homes compounded with each subsequent storm because there wasn't an opportunity to repair its damage.Partnering for StrengthFortunately, through collaborative efforts between the Atakapa Ishak Chawasha, Rebuilding Together New Orleans, GAF, and Sunbelt Roofs, the opportunity to build tribal community resilience through new roofs became available. Bringing in roofing materials and roofers by boat, the Sunbelt Roofs team removed the storm- and hurricane-damaged roofs, repaired roof decking as needed, and installed new GAF roofing systems on the five homes.The roofing materials installed are designed to protect against volatile weather like hurricanes. To provide long-lasting protection against leaks and wind-driven rain, Sunbelt Roofs installed StormGuard® Film-Surfaced Leak Barrier and FeltBuster® Synthetic Roofing Felt. To help prevent shingle blow-off due to high-speed winds, Sunbelt Roofs installed Pro-Start® Starter Strip Shingles.The Timberline HDZ® RoofCycle™ Series shingles that were installed have Dura Grip™ Adhesive, which provides advanced protection from shingle blow-off and wind-driven water creating leaks or water damage.Building Communities TogetherThe initiative with the Atakapa Ishak Chawasha tribe is part of a comprehensive $25 million GAF commitment through 2025 to leverage roofing expertise, resources, and products to help support and empower resilient communities' fundamental needs. Through grants, in-kind donations, and hands-on support, GAF Community Matters is partnering with area organizations that know their communities' needs best.In the Gulf region, GAF partnered with organizations such as Rebuilding Together New Orleans, SBP, Good360, Habitat for Humanity, and Team Rubicon to rebuild or repair 500 Gulf region roofs, train a skilled workforce, and empower communities hard-hit by severe weather.Moving ForwardDespite the challenges of climate change and the changes in their physical landscape, Philippe said, "We still live a rich life here." As the environment changes, the tribe adapts, a demonstration of its resiliency. "These are the new norms that we are having to learn and document and chronicle, this is the information we'll have to pass onto our future generations so that they can continue to inhabit this area," she explained.To learn more about the resiliency work at GAF or to get involved, explore the GAF Community Matters initiative. Special thanks to the Atakapa Ishak Chawasha tribe, a member of the First People's Conservation Council of Louisiana.

By Authors Annie Crawford

April 16, 2024

GAF Sustainability Award winners holding their award.
In Your Community

GAF Celebrates Major Strides in Manufacturing Sustainability

Manufacturing sustainability is a top priority for GAF. In 2022, the company announced its 2030 Planet Goals to "focus on operational improvements, product transparency, and the introduction of circularity in the asphaltic shingle industry."Looking to lead positive change while considering the long-term impact of its business on the planet, GAF identified several goals, including:Diverting 1 million tons of roofing materials from landfills while integrating recycled shingle materials into new shingle productsDiverting 80% of manufacturing waste from landfills, recycling all shingle and TPO scrap that results from the manufacturing process, and recycling or reusing fiberglass mat scraps and coresReducing embodied carbon and operation carbon throughout its manufacturing and operationsAchieving Environmental Product Declarations for its core products, conducting life cycle assessments, and generating 2.5 GW of power from solar roofs in partnership with GAF EnergyMeeting these goals takes time, resources, innovation, and ingenuity, all backed by a team working to build a better world. Every GAF location is striving to meet the company's goals. Looking back on the progress made in 2023, some impressive accomplishments are bringing the company closer to achieving full manufacturing sustainability.Residential ManufacturingThe GAF Mt. Vernon, Indiana, shingle manufacturing plant worked toward achieving sustainable operations through robust recycling efforts. The team established a shingle recycling outlet estimated to divert thousands of tons of asphalt shingles from landfills annually. This has eliminated thousands of dollars in disposal fees and reduced transportation costs.The Mt. Vernon staff found creative ways to keep complex waste materials out of landfills, including working with a local golf course that could take the plant's waste sand. The team implemented an internal recycling program that includes cardboard and packaging materials, increasing its waste diversion score.Commercial ManufacturingAt the Gainesville, Texas, plant that manufactures TPO and Polyiso, team members earned the area's first waste diversion certification for both products' waste streams. They also earned a recycled content certification for each.The plant established a trial program with a plastics recycler to reprocess TPO skin material for reuse in manufacturing new material. Recycling and reusing would divert thousands of tons of waste from landfills and use recycled materials in manufacturing flexible TPO for flashings.The plant also developed a program with a local recycling company that serves as a single source to take its pallets, large cardboard boxes, facers, paper, and plastics.Sustainability All-StarsRecycling and manufacturing sustainability programs wouldn't be possible without the people behind the initiatives. GAF is proud to spotlight these individuals who went above and beyond to meet the company's sustainability goals.Ben AnselmanAs part of the Mt. Vernon team, Anselman was critical to starting the plant's core recycling program. He initiated repairs to an existing baler and established a program for recycling the super sacks. His creativity sparked the partnership with the local golf course to divert aggregate waste from landfills. In addition, he was the champion for the shingle recycling outlet project and repurposed an existing compactor to reinstate a cardboard recycling initiative.Christina Talladira and Amy WilsonThese teammates lead the core recycling program at the Tampa, Florida, manufacturing plant. They worked together to establish aggregate and shingle recycling programs with their local recycling company. Talladira and Wilson consistently look for ways to divert waste streams from landfills. They also handle the administrative needs accompanying these programs, including scheduling loads and tracking waste.Jeremy TisdaleAt the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, plant, Tisdale took the initiative to improve its core recycling program and set up a cardboard recycling program. He also championed a baler trial for glass mat cover and core waste, developing standard operating procedures and a job safety analysis. He was the innovator behind diverting the plant's plastic waste from landfills. He created a program where stretch film and shingle bundle packaging waste is saved in Gaylord boxes and then baled whenever the plant has downtime.Pete WeyrensIn Gainesville, Texas, Weyrens is the champion behind the plant's recycling efforts, establishing relationships with the local recycling company. He also organized the flexible TPO skin material trials. This effort will divert thousands of tons of waste from landfills and use recycled materials to manufacture flexible TPO for flashings.Leslie PeelsAfter the plant in Cumming, Georgia, saw a drop in its year-over-year waste diversion rate, Peels stepped in to turn those numbers around. Leading the effort to separate recyclable materials from regular waste, the Cumming location saw an impressive increase in keeping waste out of the landfill. Peels also set an example in data collection and analysis to keep the plant's sustainability goals on track.TJ Jenkins and Todd WinsteadJenkins and Winstead represent the TPO team at the Mt. Vernon manufacturing plant. Working together, they used their knowledge and experience in the TPO manufacturing process to help earn the plant's recycled content certifications. They also found a way to divert calcium chloride from local landfills and continue to work closely with the sustainability team to support waste diversion efforts.Sustainability PromiseGAF is committed to "Protect What Matters Most," and that includes people, communities, and the planet. Its sustainability promise is an opportunity to invest in a healthy future for everyone. Learn more about that commitment in its sustainability report.

By Authors Karen L Edwards

April 11, 2024

Don't miss another GAF RoofViews post!

Subscribe now