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Saltbox Roofs

A
Saltbox Roof is a gabled roof has asymmetrical roof faces and the
asymmetry produces one facade that is two stories high dropping to a
single story or story and a half on the opposite side of the
building. The design is very
simple, yet provides better thermal insulation and water-proofing
than other roofs. A drawback is the limited amount of available attic
space.

Named after its
resemblance to saltboxes used in Colonial Times, saltbox roofs are
typical of Colonial architecture in New England. Often a rectangular
home was built and the portion was added to the rear of it
afterwards. In fact, the saltbox was the most widely used expansion
of the basic plan in 17th-century New England.

Second U.S. President
John Adams was born and lived his early boyhood in a Saltbox home
that was built in 1650. The shed addition to a basic two-story home
was what made it a saltbox. As with other saltbox homes of that time,
the home was initially one room deep. For centuries English cottages
were only one room deep and as they became financially able to, they
built an addition called a lean-to at the rear of the house.
Saltboxes became common in England by the end of the 1500s. When
colonists came to the New World, they transplanted the cottage
architecture they knew in their homeland.

In Colonial times, the
lower rear portion of the home was often used as a partially enclosed
shed, which was oriented north as a windbreak. These square or
rectangular homes typically have a large central chimney and
large, double-hung windows with shutters. Exterior walls are made of
clapboard or shingles. In the South this style is known as a “cat’s
slide” and was a popular in the 1800s.

A staple of the 17th-century Colonial style, saltbox roofs have a dramatic slope that can be great for stopping water build-up before it starts. Here is some background information on this classic roofing style that might just work for your modern home.

Costs

The cost of installing a saltbox roof depends on a lot of factors, including the type and quality of the materials you choose to construct it, the size of your home and the cost of labor in your area. Get in touch with a local roofer for price quotes and more cost information.

Pros

Saltbox roofs provide better thermal insulation and waterproofing than other roofs.

They are stylish and can work for both a rustic and modern design.

Saltbox roofs allow for easy water run-off from rain and snow.

Cons

Saltbox roofs provide very limited space for an attic.

They are more complicated to build, as the pitch of the roof has to work with the home’s rear walls.

The slope of the saltbox roof means that one interior ceiling must have a slope as well.

Durability

The significant slope of a saltbox roof means water won’t be allowed to pool and eventually damage the roof itself, so it’s considered a durable roofing option for areas prone to rain or snowstorms. The overall durability, however, depends on the quality of the materials used to build the roof.

Maintenance

Always make sure to speak with your contractor about how best to maintain your roof. Significant damage to your roofing structure can be prevented with yearly clean-up and maintenance.

Common Questions and Answers

What are the characteristics of a saltbox roof?

A saltbox roof is a gabled roof that has asymmetrical roof faces. The asymmetry produces one facade that is two stories high, dropping to a single story on the opposite side of the building

History

Named after its resemblance to saltboxes used in Colonial times, saltbox roofs are typical of Colonial architecture in New England. Often, a rectangular home was built and the portion was added to the rear of it afterwards. In fact, the saltbox was the most widely used expansion of the basic plan in 17th-century New England.

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