Mansard Roofs: What Exactly are They?

Mansard, the French and Architecture: Mansard Roofs
4 Reasons Why You Need A Mansard Roof

Arguably one of the most popular roof styles of the seventeenth century, Mansard roofs are very similar to Gambrel roofs. Named after the French architect, Francois Mansart, the designs on whom first made the appearance on Paris hotels, the Mansard roof is ideal for places where you need that extra attic space.

Here is all the essential information that you need to know about Mansard-styled roofs:


The roof type has two slopes with one being shallower than the other one. Technically speaking, a hip-styled roof with two slopes having unequal steepness is a Mansard roof.

In simple words, a roof wherein there are two slopes and the slopes are unequal in their steepness and are present on all four sides is a Mansard roof. The roof is quite similar to hip roofs.

Here is what mansard roofs look like on paper:

mansard roof

And here is how they actually look like:

mansard roof

It can be hard to differentiate between a Gambrel roof and a Mansard roof. Here’s how you can differentiate between the two.

Mansard vs. Gambrel

Both are almost the same except for one thing: a Gambrel roof has vertical gables on either end whereas a Mansard roof does not. The following two images will help you understand the difference in a much better way:

gambrel roof

The difference is pretty obvious. A Gambrel roof does not have vertical slopes on the less wider sides (as depicted in the illustrations) whereas a Mansard roof does.

This one fundamental thing is the technical difference between a Mansard and a Gambrel roof.


There are a couple of reasons why you would want to use a Mansard roof over any other.

  1. More Attic Space
  2. The Beauty
  3. A Historical and Cultural Touch
  4. Better and Efficient Lighting
Attic Space

This is the main purpose of this roof. Mansards roofs are ideal for those who’re looking for some extra attic space. With so much stuff to put around in attics, people often run out of space.

However, Mansard roofs are quite open from the top. Because of this, they allow for ample attic storage. Their unique architectural design ensures maximum space for the attic.

If you’re not planning to make an attic, this would still be a great choice for you if you want your home to be open and “free.”

Mansard roofs are mainly used when large attic space is required. Both Gambrel and Mansard roofs are great choices for maximum attic space.


The design is quite the aesthetic one. Unlike many other roof styles which are boring and dull, this one has a special type of vibe to it that’s hard to explain.

Even though the top is like a slope, the design doesn’t make it look like a barn (unlike Gambrel roofs). The roof goes perfectly well both in urban and suburban areas. However, it might not be the ideal choice for rural areas.

Cultural Touch

The design screams “French.” Everything about the design does so. The roof gives the vibes of the French era – the Second French Empire, to be precise. Even now, the design reflects the taste and culture of the French.

Though not the prettiest in the modern sense, the cultural touch gives them a unique vibe and feel.

If this is your thing, congratulations. This will soon be your most favourite roof design.


Since the top of the roof is almost flat, hanging lights and other things is much easier. Because of the flat design, illumination is great even with a relatively small number of bulbs.

With slop tops, you can’t exactly install a bulb easily. Even when you do, it just doesn’t feel right. Even a few bulbs can make the inside a well-lit area.

However, getting natural sunlight in might be a problem as discussed in the later section.


Like with every other thing, Mansard roofs also have some drawbacks to them. Here are some of the prominent ones.

  1. Poor Drainage
  2. Material Usage
  3. No Room for Window at the Top
Poor Drainage

For areas where it frequently snows (rain is not much of a problem), this isn’t a good roof. Because of it being horizontal at the top and not steep, the snow stays there. The lack of a steep surface causes the snow to accumulate which can cause problems.

All in all, not a good choice for extremely cold areas – especially in snowy areas.

Material Usage

There’s no beating around the bush with this. A decent amount of materials will be spent building this thanks to the two extra vertical gambles on both sides. But, if you’re looking for a roof that will save you some materials, this is not what you want to be using.

Lack of Window at the Top

Since there are vertical gambles even at the shorter sides, you cannot install a window on the top. For people looking for an extra window at the top for better illumination through natural sunlight, you’re better off with Gambrel roofs.

Bottom Line

In a nutshell, Mansard roofs are pretty efficient at providing maximum attic space for a specific area at the cost of money. These roofs can be a bit expensive to build thanks to the presence of slopes on all four sides.

The roof is aesthetic and has quite the cultural and historical value. The French vibe of the roof is immaculate and is unique to only a few roof types with Mansard roofs being one of them.

Overall, this is a great choice for those looking to add some aesthetic value to their houses with a touch of some French culture. However, in cold areas (especially where it rains frequently), this isn’t a good choice because of it being horizontal from the top.

Did you know about the French history of Mansard roofs?

Or are you looking for the upgradation of a roof under which you are sitting right now? Just a click away! check MC roofing expert services and get a quote!


  • March 28, 2022 6:05 pm 0Likes by Lorri

    Wonderful views on that!

  • April 12, 2022 4:58 pm 0Likes by Delmar

    Wonderful views on that!

  • April 12, 2022 11:43 pm 0Likes by Florence

    I was just telling my friend about that.

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