Open Door

Open Door
Indianapolis, Indiana

Friday, October 14, 2016

Let's Talk Rooves (or Roofs, It's All the Same to Me)

One of the things that makes Horner House, or any other second empire, so memorable is its mansard roof. So, what is a mansard roof? Technically, according to the dictionary "a roof that has four sloping sides, each of which becomes steeper halfway down." So, what does that really mean? Well, in the case of most second empires, a flat roofed "attic" area with a lower almost vertical secondary roof, leaving a very distinctive look. In our part of the country the flat roof has several options for covering, but that's a blog for another day. These days, the vertical roof also has many more options than it had back when Toad was first built and the only options were shingle or slate.

 Two vertical mansard roofs.

One of fun and distinctive parts of slate roofs are that they get to be more than just functional. The slate itself is large, overlaps, and can be cut into patterns. It can even be cut into different patterns for the same roof. 

 In the upper right corner of this photo is a board covered window in the vertical part of the mansard roof. Running horizontally across the middle of the photo is the metal flashing that has been exposed that lays along the bottom of the the mansard roof. It normally would lay down into the box guttering allowing rain to drain properly. There is one square slate missing which shows just how much of the slates are covered by other slates on a mansard roof. That's a LOT of rock!!!

This slate has fallen from the roof and is missing the corner. Most slate roofs are good for about 75-200 years. The Horner House is approximately 141 years old. We have already been told that our slate has passed it's prime and is in need of replacement.

Here is another photo of a fallen slate. For size comparison there is a concrete block and bricks in the photo. You can also see the area of the slate that has been painted red. This is the only area of the slate that was exposed when it was hanging.
 One last photo shows the three different shapes on Toad Hall. These are achieved with only two shapes of slates. 

 Next time we talk roofs (or rooves) we can talk styles of flat roofs, what replacement options are out there, and since it's October we'll throw in some Halloween Horror and talk cost too.

"If you only dream as high as your roof, then you are limiting yourself to dreaming higher"

-The Horner House Family


  1. I just came across this blog and would love to see some more recent images and status on the project! -- Rachelle Bishop

  2. Thanks for your great info, the article are quiet interesting.I will be waiting for your next post....! Windermere House Blessings

  3. Please is this house still being revived? It looks great but it seems no one is living there. Also most communication stopped 2016?

  4. Please is this house still being revived? It looks great but it seems no one is living there. Also most communication stopped 2016?

  5. Nice, I Have Always Looking For These Type Of Home Renovation Ideas..

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  6. I just drove by this house today and I would LOVE to see more work being done. The back wall looks like it's being held up by a fair amount of wooden posts. I would love to see the inside as well