I am looking to design a cupola to be placed on a new garage with an upstairs family/play room. The cupola will be open to the room below it and I am going to put in four awning windows with remote openers.
Whats the better approach to building it…on the ground and crane it up or build it in place as the roof gets framed? My home sits in a 110 mph wind zone so I want to use threaded s.s rods to bolt the corners to the triple rafters that will be on either sides of the cupola base. Should the base be put in first then the rest of the cupola be dropped in place?
Attached is a couple of cupola pics that I am using for inspiration to give you an idea of what Im looking to do…
I'm not a pro, but I built and installed a cupola just like this on my neighbors house, using this FHB article as a guide.
I built it in three sections, a base, a window center section, and a roof. Then hoisted each section up one by one with a ladder and rope, first attaching the base as you described...
I would frame the entire cupola as part of the roof. You could through bolt the verticals at the corners to doubled up headers. Next frame the window openings like regular walls on top of the headers.
I just do much better work in a decent environment.
I would try to get as much as possible done on the ground and crane it into place.
In the picture there is a center vertical piece in the cupola that looks like a 4 X 4.
You could attach the crane to that on top. Then pull off the bolt and attach your weather vane.
With it on the ground you could weatherize it real well so you wouldn't have to go up there for years.
Here's a cupola I built for my barn about 15 years ago. I built it on the ground in one big piece but if I had it to do over I would have built it in two sections, the base (which is up to the bottom of the window frame) and then the window/roof section.
My barn builder said he could haul it up with manpower and ropes etc.. After much thinking I opted to get a crane in there. I could just see the thing getting all banged up or worse, somebody getting hurt.
I'm glad I did. When the crane had it airborn, it weighted 660 lbs.. Hauling it up manually would have been a disaster, maybe even in two pieces.
But everyone comments on the cupola. Looks great. Sorry the finished photo isn't that clear but it's the best I had.
Edited 11/4/2009 5:53 pm ET by runnerguy
Edited 11/4/2009 5:53 pm ET by runnerguy
Edited 11/4/2009 5:55 pm ET by runnerguy
Edited 11/4/2009 5:56 pm ET by runnerguy
Im curious as to how you fastened the cupola to the roof...and also how has it faired over the past fifteen years. Are there somethings that you would have done differently? How does it behave in high winds (I live but a 15 minute drive to the Atlantic Ocean and I want to make sure that I dont have to worry about a Cat 1 or 2 hurricane taking it down)
It's faired pretty well. Wind force has been no problem and there's been some big winds (Location: Middleburg, VA. Up against the Blue Ridge) I preflashed the thing and we just nailed it in. It's not going anywhere.
Of course, being a barn with the hayloft directly below, ventilation was the primary function. There's two big louvers on each "long bottom" side (doesn't really show up that great in the photos). Wind driven rain comes in thru the louvers but that's ok in a barn.
One thing I would have changed was I built the whole thing out of wood. If I had to do it over all of the trim would be of Azek.
But what ever you do, make it be a feast for the eye.
Very nice barn and cupola.
Here's ours from our garage (when garage was freestanding):View Image
Was built on the ground (out of old growth redwood) and hoisted into place - dropped over a flashed curb that I built on the roof ahead of time (CCA 2 x 6s).
Rule of thumb for size - 1" of width for each 1' of length on ridge.
Nice garage and cupola Jeff. It's great to see some design thought put into "outbuildings".
When I built the barn I noticed that many outbuildings in the area (barns, run in sheds, etc.) looked terrible. It was like that while a lot of thought went into the design of the main house, all of that went out the window when it came to the AG buildings. So I copied the houses' eave details and kept the 12/12 pitch the house has (and with a barn with the hayloft above one wants a steep roof).
Everyone loves it. I had one neighbor copy elements of the barn (with my help and glad to do it) and my barn graced the barn contractors Christmas card for a few years. For a while I had a light shining up into it but got worried about that with all the hay lying around up there.
Putting on the metal roof worked great. I loaded it into the pickup truck and the guy did it in his shop on a rainy day so I got a good deal there. The pickup kind of looked like a SCUD launcher with the cupola in the back resting on the cab at a 30 degree angle.
But like another poster, I'm glad I got the crane. For me too, a wise investment of $200.
The pictures makes me wish more buildings had cupolas or lanterns. They are a real delight to look up at. I like when they are illuminated from inside and they stand out against the sky at night.
Edited 11/7/2009 4:35 am ET by fingersandtoes
Attached are some pictures of a cupola I build for a workshop/airplane hangar in NH. The base is about 8x8, open to below for light and ventilation. I decided to build it as far as I could on the ground and crane it up. Best $200 I ever spent
Thanks for the pic, could you give me some details on how you framed it and how you fastened it to the roof framing? From the pic I see that you hoisted the cupola from an attachment on the peak (weathervane attachment point?)...how did you secure the cupola to the crane line?
Attached are some pics which answer the questions. I framed it like a small building [email protected]". It is about 8x8 with 18" roof overhangs, which allow the awning windows to remain open in a rain.The building is an airplane hangar, about 48x48 with 48 foot span trusses in about 32 feet of the length, 12 foot ceiling. The other end has 8 foot ceiling (workshop area)and a room above. The cupola is over that second floor area and brings in light and air.The cupola sits over a 6x6 foot hole in the roof, supported by double trusses headed off with 2x10s. I too was concerned by wind--the building is in the mountains of New Hampshire--and with the large overhangs, there is a potential for a lot of uplift. I bolted it to the trusses with a lot of Simpson plates and clips on the hipped roof rafters.As I finished it, the local concrete guy was next door doing a foundation, so I got him to crane it up there with his boom crane. I had rigged a wire rope down through a finial hole in the top of the roof and secured it to some temporary cross members. Easy and worked great.
Maggie, nice looking cupola. I like the horizontal proportions. Do you have any photos of the entire building? Preferably under 200K--the dialuppers have trouble with larger images, and even on super high speed the 6meg ones take a while to download--
Thank you. Attached are a few pictures; sorry about the size, I don't have time to compress right now. Most show the building in various stages of construction. The most interesting and challenging thing about any airplane hangar is the door. In my case, I build a one piece hydraulically actuated door, 40 feet wide and about 11 feet tall, shingled like the rest of the sidewalls and almost invisible. I think about 4,000 #. A couple of the pics show it open and closed. It is insulated, weatherstripped and scary!Dick
Very cool! I love the secret door, and the horizontal proportions of the cupola are just right for the building. The way you offset the cupola from the center was daring, but evocative of a church or a ship.
Oops, I didn't realize your first pic was of the whole building:
If you really want 110 MPH wind protection I would run this by an engineer. (it would be required in Florida)
You may find you also need to beef up the trusses. That may only be a couple of 2x4 cross bucks but a board or two can really add a lot of wind resistance.
what is the sheathing under the battens on your nice looking barn?
Thanks for the compliment John.
The barn is a 24'X36' pole structure built on a 12'X12' grid with 6X6 poles on all the intersections of the grid and at the mid points where ever possible.
In the stall areas, horizontal 2X6 T&G kickboards are carried solid up to about 5' high so a horse won't kick a hole the barn(two stalls are on the side facing the photo. The doors have yet to be cut in). And then above that (or everywhere else to the ground where there's not a stall) it's horizontal 2X4's at 16"OC.
Nailed on the outside of this horizontal framework are vertical 1X12's. Smooth on one side and slightly rough on the other. I forget the exact type of species but it was special AG building stuff. The builder bought it in PA and trucked it down (the barn is in VA). I put one coat of stain on it all before install. On the joints went 1X2's of the same material and then I put a final coat of stain.
Kinda cool watching them build it. Like a scene out of "Witness".