Special Considerations When Choosing Roofing Materials For A Richardsonian Romanesque Home

Posted on: 23 August 2016

Richardsonian Romanesque homes boast an eclectic style that gets at least partial inspiration from classical Roman architecture. The homes have a stone or stone and masonry construction, rounded arched windows, and an arched front door flanked by decorative Roman columns.  These homes come in a variety of sizes and shapes, which range from larger country estates to taller, narrower city townhouses. Varying sizes also means the Richardsonian Romanesque family contains several roof types, including hipped and mansard main roofs with supplementary gable roofs.

Understanding these three different roofing types, and the special considerations that each involves, can help you choose the best roofing material when working with your roofers on a repair or replacement project.

Hipped Roof: Large Visible Surface with Substantial Bracing

A hipped roof has two sets of parallel sides that have a slight slope upwards to the meeting point. The hipped style features a large surface area with most of that surface area visible from the curb. High visibility means you may want to choose a roofing material that combines function with style.

Slate tiles pair well with the stone siding of a Richardsonian home, assuming the two types of stone have complimentary colors. Slate roofing is low maintenance and durable but comes at a higher cost than many other roofing materials. The slate also has a hefty physical weight, but the hipped roof has sufficient bracing and supports to handle that weight without any risk of damage.

The large surface area of the hipped roof can make project costs add up fast, especially when considering a higher end material like slate. You can trim costs a bit by instead choosing wooden roofing. The wood shakes or shingles offer a textured, rustic look to the roof that can pair well with the less polished stone siding of the Richardsonian home.

Mansard Roof: Large Partly Visible Surface with Substantial Bracing

A mansard roof looks a bit like a flattened hipped roof. The mansard has two sets of parallel sides, but those pieces dangle over the sides of the house and move almost vertically upwards to meet at a flat roof that covers the top of the house. Typically, only the four dangling sides are visible from the street while the flat roof is out of view.

The mansard, like the hip, has enough bracing to support the weight of slate tiles but also offers a built-in cost cutting option. You can use the slate tiles only on the visible parts of the roof while using a more affordable roofing material such as asphalt or metal on the flat top roof. Note that you don't want to use wood on the flat top as the texture of the wood shingles can trap water which can potentially cause damage to the roof.

Gable Roof: Smaller Visible Surface with Minimal Bracing

Gable roofs only have two parallel sides with a steeper angle that can vary how much of the roof is visible from the street depending on its orientation and height off the ground. The gable roof also has minimal support bracing due to its open-face design, so you want to stay away from slate tiles here.

Asphalt shingles can work well on a gable with natural windbreaks that can keep high winds from hitting the angled sides and tearing off the lightweight material. Wood shakes or shingles work well on a gable from both weight and appearance standpoints.

If your home has gable roofs alongside the main roof, consider whether you want all of the roofs to match. For example, if you want to use slate on the hipped main roof, you'll have to install more bracing to support that material on the gable roof. 


Time for a New Roof?

Hi, my name is Mitch. Before retiring a few years ago, I worked in the roofing industry. Over the years, I worked in nearly every capacity, ranging from apprentice to general manager of the company. I know that purchasing a new roof for your home can be expensive and a bit intimidating. My goal is to provide useful advice to help you make informed decisions when it comes to your new roof. I'm going to share information about different roofing materials and why you may want to consider one over another. I'll also share where you can cut costs, and how to choose a reputable roofing company. I hope you find this information valuable.

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