Generally pronounced "koo-puh-luh", wood cupolas are a small dome that has sat atop cathedrals, churches, barns, and other public buildings for years. The name actually translates from Latin, meaning "little cupo" or dome. Today, wood cupolas are popular for homes, garages, professional buildings, and many other structures, creating a new and improved look.
Typically, cupolas are made using wood, which is then attached to some type of roof, usually shingle, or metal. In addition, you will find a number of wood cupola designs but most have louvers or small windows that are designed to allow light in while also helping to push hot air out. In other words, you might see someone use a wood cupola on a home, as a means of eliminating some of the heat buildup in the attic. In addition to being functional, wood cupolas also create a look of elegance and sophistication.
As you begin the process of shopping for a cupola, you will find that most are made from wood such as white pine, which handles the outdoor elements well, if sealed properly. In addition, the design of the cupola consists of a "roof", which is typically gorgeous and rich looking copper. To complete the look, you would often see a weathervane added to the top.
If you want something to match with a Cape Cod or colonial home, then you might choose a wood cupola measuring 17x17 inches and 28 inches tall. In this case, the cupola is designed for a various pitch sizes so you want to make sure you know exactly what you need. Painted white with the copper roof, this style is extremely charming and the perfect example of this longstanding American heritage.
Keep in mind that in addition to pine, redwood and poplar are also great choices for outdoor use. However, while white pine is probably the preferred choice, poplar is usually a little less expensive. The nice thing with these wood cupolas is that you can leave them natural or have them stained, or painted. The same is true for the copper roof in that you can allow it to age naturally, use a special chemical to create a patina effect, or use a sealer to keep the copper shiny like a new penny. However, aluminum and wood roofs on the wood cupola are also possibilities although not as popular.
If you have a home or business with a steep pitched roof, you would need to choose a special type of wood cupola to fit, usually 7/12 through 9/12 degree. Another wonderful choice for cupola is the provincial style. This particular design offers graceful lines that add to a home's character. This option is best used for low-pitched roofs, usually ranging between 5/12 and 8/12. Finally, if you prefer to go with the standard type of wood cupola, you would end up with a hexagon or octagon shape, which has a pagoda style roof. As you can imagine, this style is definitely impressive.