Cupola Plans


Cupola plans can be obtained from many home furnishing or home improvement businesses, and building a cupola yourself can be just as much fun as building a slightly elaborate birdhouse, which some cupolas actually resemble. What is a cupola? It is a rounded or squared rooftop building addition that was once used as a lookout but is used more commonly today for ventilation, additional light, or even just an added aesthetic item.

For how to build a copula yourself, you will first need a number of tools and materials. You can buy cupola kits at numerous home improvement businesses, but you may also feel adventurous enough to try fashioning the entire roof cupola by yourself.

How To Use Your Cupola Plans

The tools normally used for this kind of project include a hammer, a jigsaw, a circular or sliding miter saw, a utility knife, a table saw, an electric drill, clamps, tin snips, a tape measure, a caulking gun, a framing square, and hearing protection. The standard building materials you will need include eight feet of 4×4 cedar, three ten-foot planks of 2×6 cedar, a 4×8 plywood sheet 3/8 inches thick, a 4×8 pressure-treated plywood sheet ¾ inches thick, four eight-foot pieces of brick mold, four gable vents for louvers measured to your desired side coverage though four 12×12 panels are normal, a bundle of small roofing shingles, a ten-foot aluminum flashing roll, galvanized screws, half-inch sheet metal screws, inch-long galvanized nails, ¾ inch roofing nails, construction adhesive, caulk, and roofing cement.

Cupola PlansOnce you have all these tools and materials, you can get right to work on the housing for the vents. First, you should bevel the 2×6 cedars on a table saw for the sill and soffit parts. After you do this, you should sand them and miter or sand down the ends to 45 degrees. The cutoffs from the sill should be saved so that you can take a quarter inch from them and use them for finishing the sill slope.

The hardest or at least the most time-eroding part of cupola plans building is fashioning the cupola’s curved roof. Use your jigsaw to cut its rafters, using a bar clamp to mark. When you prepare the roof sheathing, use the bar clamp to mark its curves, too. Do not worry about gaps between pieces of the sheathing, because those gaps will allow you to curve the shingles over the ridges just loosely enough. If they are too tight, according to many builders, the ridge will be too sharp to keep the shingles from cracking as you bend them over the ridges.

When you are ready for the shingling, cut your shingle materials into quarter-inch wide strips and use your framing square as an accurate guide. Most tabs on full shingles are a foot wide, with three such tabs apiece, enabling you to get nine quarter-inch shingles from each full shingle material.

The cupola saddle, the square support that attaches the cupola to the roof, is built from the pressure-treated plywood and shaped to fit the angles of the rooftop. With a roof-pitch gauge, cut out the saddle seat on either end of the saddle, then apply the aluminum flashing panels to the saddle sides. Then, after applying roofing cement to the bottom edges of the saddle, attach the saddle to the roof with a pair of 2×2 cleats, using two-inch screws to attach the cleats to the inner saddle sides and three-inch screws to attach the cleats to the roof. Caulk the top edges of the saddle, but leave the lower edges unsealed to drain any water that may get inside the saddle in inclement weather.

Cupola Plans Save You Time

If you do plan to use the cupola for ventilation, cut a hole in the roof inside the saddle. Be careful not to mark or cut the hole to the full size of the saddle because you do not want to weaken the roof’s support of the cupola. If you do not plan to use the cupola for actual ventilation and simply built it for a decorative rooftop ornament, as many homeowners do, you do not have to worry about anything more than just attaching the housing. Or, perhaps, attaching a weather vane or other trimming to the top point of the cupola top.

Cupola PlansBe careful, too, with bringing the housing to the rooftop saddle. Typical cupolas weigh up to eighty pounds. If you do not feel comfortable carrying that up a ladder, think about building a small scaffold to bring it there. Now, just screw the three parts together, caulk any openings, touch up the paint, and admire your handiwork and your new rooftop look. Of course, if you do not feel particularly handy, cupola plans for sale can be found at many home improvement or building centers, too