What is a Mansard Roof? Pros and Cons

Last Updated on 12/17/2023 by Matteo Lombardo

What is a Mansard Roof

What is a Mansard Roof? A Mansard roof is a four-sided design with double slopes on each side. The lower slope is steeper than the upper, and the roof often features windows.

This style became popular in the 17th century and is named after the French architect François Mansard. It’s not just about looks; a Mansard roof adds extra living space to a home.

Key Takeaways

Key AspectDetails
DesignClassic, four-sided with double slopes; adds extra living space and allows for more natural light.
ProsAdds space, elegant look, increases property value, potential energy savings, renovation flexibility.
ConsHigher cost than simpler roofs, requires regular maintenance, not ideal for heavy snow or high winds.
Styles and DesignsIncludes traditional, bell-shaped, double-pitched, concave, convex; various window and material options.
Average CostRanges from $16,000 to $40,000 for a 2,000 sq ft home; costs influenced by materials, labor, and design.
ConclusionMansard roofs offer a blend of style and function, suitable for those seeking extra space and a unique design. They require consideration of cost and maintenance.

Benefits of Mansard Roofs

Mansard roofs aren’t just stylish; they come with several advantages. Here are some benefits that make them a popular choice:

Added Space

  • Roomy Attics: The design creates roomy attics or full additional stories.
  • Versatile Use: This space can be used for bedrooms, studios, or offices.

Aesthetic Appeal

  • Timeless Design: Mansard roofs have a classic look that never goes out of style.
  • Customizable: They can adorn various dormer windows and decorative elements.

Property Value

  • Increased Value: The extra space and distinct style can boost property value.
  • Attractive to Buyers: Homes with Mansard roofs often stand out in the real estate market.

Energy Efficiency

  • Insulation Opportunity: The extra space under the roof allows for ample insulation.
  • Temperature Regulation: This can help regulate the temperature in the home, potentially lowering energy bills.

Renovation Flexibility

  • Easier Additions: Want to add more space later? A Mansard roof makes it easier to expand upwards.
  • Design Adaptations: Adding skylights or extra windows is also easier than other roof types.

Mansard roofs offer a blend of beauty, practicality, and flexibility. They provide extra living space, increase property value, and offer potential energy savings.

✅ Their timeless design allows for creative expression and makes a home stand out.

Disadvantages of Mansard Roofs

While Mansard roofs have their upsides, there are also some drawbacks. Here are the main disadvantages:

Higher Cost

  • Complex Design: The intricate design can lead to higher construction costs.
  • Specialized Labor: You may need skilled craftsmen, which adds to the expense.


  • Regular Upkeep: The design can collect debris, requiring more cleaning and maintenance.
  • Repairs: Fixing a Mansard roof can be more challenging and costly than simpler roof structures.

Weather Limitations

  • Snow and Rain: The flatter portion of the roof also doesn’t handle heavy snow and rain, which could lead to damage or leaks.
  • Wind: The Mansard roof’s profile can make it more susceptible to damage in high-wind areas.

Architectural Constraints

  • Not for Every Home: The style may not blend well with all types of architecture.
  • Balance: It can sometimes overpower the house’s look if not well balanced with the overall design.

Insulation Challenges

  • Temperature Control: The space under the roof might be harder to keep warm or cool without proper insulation.
  • Additional Costs: You might need to invest more in insulation to combat this issue.

The distinctive Mansard roof comes with a higher price tag and upkeep responsibilities. Weather can be a foe to its structure and may not suit every home’s style.

💡 Insulation and temperature control in the additional space can also present challenges, potentially increasing costs further.

Mansard Roof Styles and Designs

Mansard roofs come in various styles and designs, each adding a unique character to buildings. Here’s a look at some of the most common variations:

Traditional Mansard

  • Classic French Look: Inspired by 17th-century French architecture, featuring steep lower slopes.
  • Simple Elegance: Often finished with slate or wood shingles that enhance its timeless appeal.

Bell-Shaped Mansard

  • Curved Slopes: The lower slope bows outward, resembling a bell.
  • Baroque Influence: This style often appears in more ornate buildings with a historical touch.

Double-Pitched Mansard

  • Distinctive Angles: The upper and lower slopes are visible from the ground.
  • Modern Flair: This style can be adapted for a more contemporary appearance.

Concave Mansard

  • Inward Curve: The lower slope curves inward, creating a distinctive profile.
  • Visual Interest: This design adds a dramatic flair and often pairs with elaborate dormers.

Convex Mansard

  • Bulging Out: The lower slope has a bulge, creating a more rounded appearance.
  • Unique Character: This less common style stands out and can give buildings a robust, imposing look.

Window Styles

  • Dormer Windows: These windows project vertically from the sloping roof, adding charm and natural light.
  • Variety of Shapes: Dormers can be arched, rectangular, or gabled, offering many customization options.

Material Choices

  • Shingles or Tiles: Mansard roofs can be covered with a range of materials, from traditional slate to modern metal.
  • Color and Texture: The choice of material dramatically affects the roof’s color, texture, and overall impact.

Mansard Roof styles and designs range from the traditional to the highly ornate, each offering a unique aesthetic. Choices in materials and window design further personalize the look, allowing for creative expression in architecture. This roof type provides beauty and function, making it a versatile choice for new constructions and renovations.

Mansard roof

Average Cost of Mansard Roofs

Homeowners should be aware that installing a Mansard roof comes with specific costs. Here’s a breakdown based on the size of the home and roofing materials:

Basic Cost Estimates

  • Average Range: Homeowners might spend between $16,000 to $40,000 for a 2,000-square-foot home.
  • Per Square Foot: This breaks down to about $8 to $20 per square foot.

National Averages

  • Typical Spending: Most homeowners pay around $30,000 for a 2,000-square-foot Mansard roof.
  • Material Choice: Composite roofing shingles are a common, cost-effective choice.

Factors Affecting Cost

  • Materials Used: The material choice will significantly impact the overall cost from standard shingles to high-end slate.
  • Labor: The complexity of the roof design can require skilled labor, which is more expensive.
  • Roof Features: The presence of dormer windows, the type of curves, and the steepness of the slopes all play a role in the final price.

Cost Comparison

  • Higher End: Mansard roofs are pricier than simpler designs due to their intricate nature.
  • Long-Term Value: The additional space and aesthetic appeal can offset the higher initial investment.

The cost of a Mansard roof varies widely, influenced by factors like materials, labor, and design features.

While it is on the higher end of the spectrum compared to other roof types, its added space and distinct style benefits can make it a worthwhile investment for many homeowners.


Mansard roofs are special. They look classic and also give extra space in your home. They can make your house worth more. Mansard roofs cost more at first and need regular care, especially in places with lots of snow or rain.

But, if you pick this roof for the right house, it can be a good choice. It mixes old styles with new needs in a smart way.

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