Mansard roofs rose to popularity in France in the 18th century as a way to lower taxes, but they have gained popularity throughout the world and now represent an interesting and functional roof style.
What Is a Mansard Roof?
Mansard roofs were initially popularized by François Mansart in France in the 1600s, but the style rose to popularity in 1783 when the city of Paris began to tax buildings based on the number of floors that were visible up until the roof line. To avoid this tax, architects and builders began designing Mansard roofs that allowed for additional living space under the roof that wouldn’t be taxed.
Still a defining architectural feature in France, this style roof is also popular elsewhere and is used to create functional space and expand the living area. Mansard roofs are characterized by a hipped design on all four sides of the roof and often include dormers to allow light into the upstairs or attic space. The nearly flat top of the roof can include a railing for additional aesthetic value or safety if the roof will be used.
Mansard roofs typically fall into one of four categories:
Straight - A straight mansard roof features four sides with no little slope and no curve.
Concave - A concave mansard roof curves inward before flaring out at the bottom.
Convex - A convex mansard roof curves outward and ends with no flare.
S-Shaped - An S-shaped mansard roof begins with a concave curve and then flares into a convex curve and ends with no flare.
Mansard Roof Replacement Ideas
When it’s time to replace your mansard roof, there are a number of different options to choose from each with their own unique style, advantages, and disadvantages.
Historically, mansard roofs used slate tiles which worked well on straight mansard roofs though installation is a little more complicated on the other styles. Slate tiles could be positioned in a way that allowed for proper water drainage to reduce moisture issues. Slate can still be used today to replace a mansard roof, but the weight of the tiles puts strain on the roof decking and tiles and may slide down the roof over time. This type of roofing is also prone to chips and cracks.
2. Cedar Shake
Cedar shake tiles create a beautiful, traditional mansard roof. They are lighter weight than slate tiles and, therefore, may last longer and will stay in place on the steep pitch of the roof. Cedar shakes, however, require maintenance over the course of their life that includes staining and sealing the entire roof and replacing broken, cracked, warped, or rotten tiles. Because of the steep pitch of the sides of the roof, these repairs are difficult, so the less need for repairs, the better.
3. Barrel Tile
Barrel tiles were traditionally found on Mediterranean and Spanish Mission style homes, and in hotter regions, they have become more popular on all roof styles and in all climates due to their durability and beautiful aesthetic. Barrel tiles are very heavy, so the roof may need additional structural reinforcement to support them. Their weight also makes them a challenge as the slope of the roof is very steep which puts extra strain on the tiles and the roof to hold them. The slope also presents a challenge for repairs and a professional should be used for roof maintenance.
4. Asphalt Tiles
Asphalt tiles are an affordable option for mansard roof replacement ideas, but as with slate and barrel tiles, they are heavy and because the roof pitch is so steep, will likely slide down the roof over time despite additional measures to keep them in place, like extra nails and sealer.
5. Synthetic Roof Tiles
Synthetic roof tiles are made from recycled material and are a lightweight alternative to other types of mansard roof replacement materials. One of the major benefits of synthetic roof tiles is that they mimic the look of other materials, so you can get the mansard roof look you want, but without the downsides of other materials.
Brava’s Composite Roof Tiles Are the Best Mansard Roof Replacement Idea
At Brava, we offer the best alternative to traditional Spanish clay tile, natural slate, and cedar shake roofing. Our roof tiles are made with 100%-recycled materials. The scraps from installation can be recycled, and if the roof ever needs to be replaced, the material can be recycled again.
Old World Slate
Slate was traditionally used as the roofing material for a mansard roof, but today’s options allow you to create the old world look without the downsides of traditional slate.
One of the advantages of a traditional slate tile roof is the way the tiles weather and change color over time, which results in a naturally-aged look. The downside is that you won’t know the final color of the tile for many years.
Brava’s Old World Slate tiles fix this problem with 10 available colors that capture the subtle authentic nuances of color variation found in nature. Our molds are cast from pieces of hand-chiseled slate, so our product features a natural edge, a thick profile, and deep color exposure throughout the entire tile, which results in a beautiful, authentic look.
Spanish Barrel Tile
Brava’s Spanish Barrel Tiles recreate the look of traditional clay tiles that have aged naturally over time. The lightweight tiles are a great mansard roof replacement idea and you won’t have to worry about them sliding down the roof over time. Our tiles require no maintenance over the course of their life, so you won’t have to worry about costly repairs on a challenging roof line.
Our Cedar Shake roof tiles are inspired by the timeless beauty of traditional cedar shake tiles but without the downsides. Nature-inspired hues capture the natural color variation of wood tiles but they won’t warp, swell, or rot over time. To craft our tiles, we use molds cast from hand-split Western Red Cedar shakes to give them an authentic look and feel.
Contact the experts at Brava today to discover our mansard roof replacement options and see why Brava is the top choice for recreating a traditional look without the downsides!