Cupola F.A.Q.
Frequently Asked Questions about
Cupolas and their Answers

Part One

(jump to Part Two)

The following Cupola F.A.Q. is the result of the many email messages that I have received regarding cupolas and my site in general.  It is now in two parts, having grown too large for a single page.  Please understand that any links that appear on this page are only to assist you in your search for additional information.  They are not meant as an endorsement of any company, product, or service.  Also note that at any given moment, a few of the offsite links found here may be offline.  This is the nature of links, web servers, and the ever changing Internet.  Most bounce back within a day or two.  Cupola periodically verifies and updates its collection of links, so any really dead or broken ones will not hang around indefinitely.

Cupola questions answered on THIS page:

Cupola questions answered on the Next page:

What exactly is a cupola?
Check out the Cupola Definition page for a detailed description of the word and its meaning.  Try the Cupola Picture Gallery to gain an understanding of some of the forms that they may take.  Some of the Building and Landscape galleries also offer pictures of buildings and gardens with cupolas or related structures, including belvederes, widow's walks, lanterns, domes, towers, spires, belfries, steeples, gazebos, and garden follies.  A large number of cupolas may also be found under the State Capitol Building section of this site.  In the future, I may be adding a short cupola history page.

I'm interested in building a cupola or gazebo myself.  Do you offer or sell plans?
No.  Cupola does not offer any cupola construction drawings or plans, just some pictures to inspire you.

Where else may I find cupola or gazebo plans?
One source might be your local builder or architect, although you will find that the conditions under which they will offer cupola planning and design services will vary.  Any competent architectural firm should be able to design one, however.  The ones that follow have claimed special cupola expertise in their online portfolios.  Please note that the listings are for information purposes only, and should not be construed as some kind of endorsement from Cupola.

Classic Colonial Homes.  A company that offers colonial style house plans for sale, many of which feature cupolas.  They also offer custom design services for existing homes, and are based in Leverett, Massachusetts.

Frankfurt Short Bruza.  Architects and engineers of the new dome for the historic Oklahoma State Capitol Building.  They are based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Hoffmann Architects.  Specializes in restoring historic building exteriors, many of which feature prominent cupolas.  They have offices in New York, New York; Hamden, Connecticut; and Arlington, Virginia.

Of course, plans for smaller cupola/ gazebo projects are available from sources other than architects and builders. The do-it-yourselfer might find the following links helpful:

Barn Plans.  Offers several rooftop cupola plans for sale at their website.  Nothing too fancy, just clean and honest designs.  Based in North Bend, Oregon.

Cupola Sundial Construction Plans.  John Carmichael and Dave Bell's inspired website offers a contemporary interpretation of a rare cupola type that features sundials on each face.  The site also offers a fine presentation of sundials and their history.  Based in Tucson, Arizona.

Homestead Design.  Offers a plan for an affordable and easily built cupola.  No frills in this design.  Operates out of Washington state.

Norm Abram's New Yankee Workshop.  Featured projects on this how-to television series included a louvered rooftop cupola and a garden gazebo.  This website offers plans and videos of each.

Sunset Magazine.  Their "Sheds and Garages" book has plans for a cupola project.  They also offer a book called "Patio Roofs and Gazebos", which covers a number of garden gazebo projects.

Swing Plans.  Site offerings include plan for a large, cupola inspired bird feeder.  Based in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

Virginia Decking.  Offers several gazebo plans and kits for sale at their website.  No rooftop cupolas though, just the garden gazebo type.  Located in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

The Wood Store.  Offers plans for a louvered rooftop cupola project from the September 2000 issue of Wood Magazine.

I'd like to purchase a cupola for my house/ garden/ garage/ barn/ other structure.  Where may I buy one?
You might check your local library for their Sweet's Catalog (probably in the reference area).  They have a section on cupola manufacturers, although they tend to run on the utilitarian side.  I have also come across references listed in books with names like the Old House Source Book.  One sometimes will see antique ones for sale on EBay and in architectural salvage stores.  Several sites on the Internet offer prefabricated and/or custom made cupolas:

AA Statuary and Weathervanes Company.  Offers a line of weathervanes and basic, wooden rooftop cupolas at their site.  They are based in Newburgh, New York.

Amish Country Products & More.  Markets a wide selection of handcrafted Amish products, including vinyl sided and copper topped rooftop cupolas, copper weathervanes and finials, lighthouses, birdfeeders and pet food dishes, home and garden accents, and more.  They are based in Lancaster County (Quarryville vicinity), Pennsylvania.

Amish Woodworks.  Offer a variety of classic, prefabricated garden gazebos at their site.  They are shipped out of Binghamton, New York.  Available outside the area in the form of knockdown kits.

Annapolis Weathervanes and Cupolas.  Based in Annapolis, Maryland, this company offers a nice selection of small to medium (not room-sized!) rooftop cupolas made of wood or vinyl plastic.  They also sell weathervanes, finials, and other cupola accessories.

Architectural Depot.  Among this company's extensive architectural offerings is a line of louvered rooftop cupolas, mostly of wooden construction.  Located in Brea, California.

Architectural Fiberglass.  Custom designs and manufactures architectural ornamentation in fiberglass.  Included in its large line of products are domes, rooftop cupolas, and steeples.  Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio.

B&B Sheet Metal.  A long established fabricator of sheet metal cupolas and other metal products.  Offers restoration and custom fabrication services too.  Based in Long Island City, New York.

Bar Harbor Weathervanes and Cupolas.  Sells handcrafted weathervanes and a nice line of basic rooftop cupolas.  Trenton, Maine is their home.

The Barn Pages.  Devoted to the restoration, reuse and adaptive conversion of old barns and barn wood.  Includes a marketplace for the buying and selling of new and used barn parts such as cupolas and weather vanes.

Calgary Cupola & Weathervane.  A friendly company that offers handcrafted wooden rooftop cupolas at great prices.  Models are available in seven sizes.  They also offer some fun cupola mailboxes, fence post cupola birdhouses, and a line of weathervanes.  They are located in Calgary, Alberta (Canada).

Campbellsville Industries.  Offers a good selection of stock cupola and steeple designs.  They also perform custom design and fabrication work, and have experience in restoring and replicating cupolas and steeples on historic public structures.  They are located in Campbellsville, Kentucky.

The Cape Cod Cupola Company.  Offers over 90 different styles of cupolas.  Custom work including weathervanes and finials.  They are based in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts.  In business since 1939.

Cape Cod Weathervane Company.  Carries a wide selection of prefabricated wood and vinyl rooftop cupolas, including the popular Good Directions label.  They also sell handcrafted copper weathervanes, finials, sundials, and other home and garden accessories.  Located in Orleans, Massachusetts.  An outdoor furnishings company that also offers garden gazeboes, wooden rooftop cupolas, and weathervanes.  The cupola lineup suggests they distribute the popular Good Directions line.  Based in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania.

CopperCraft.  Offers a handsome line of prefabricated metal rooftop cupolas.  They also sell a number of other rooftop specialty products like dormers, spires, and cornices.  They are based in Grapevine, Texas.

Copper-Inc.  A wholesale distributor of copper cupolas, finials, weathervanes and other copper based rooftop accessories.  While their site focuses on the builder market, they will sell to the public.  They are located in Dickinson, Texas.

Copper Summit, Inc.  Offers online ordering of unique handmade cupolas, finials, and other copper products for both residential and commercial construction.  Headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Country Cupolas and Weathervanes.  Offers a wide selection of rooftop cupolas in wood, vinyl, and copper in prefabricated kit form.  They also sell weathervanes, finials, and related mounts and accessories.  Located in Fort Loramie, Ohio.

The Country Gentleman.  A catalog site that includes a sizeable line of prefabricated rooftop cupolas and weathervanes among their larger collection of country living products.  Based in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Country Weathervanes   Offers a wide selection of prefabricated rooftop cupolas in wood, vinyl, or copper exteriors, weathervanes, finials and birdfeeders.  Based in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Custom Cupola and Steeple.  Creates both prefabricated and custom made rooftop (and some garden) cupolas, domes, and steeples of exceptional quality, and offers complete design, manufacturing, and installation services for cupolas, domes, steeples, weathervanes, and more.  The company also performs restoration, roofing, and general contracting work.  They are based in Oakville, Ontario (Canada).

Custom Home Accessories.  A reseller of prefabricated wooden or vinyl rooftop cupolas.  They also carry a wide line of finials, weathervanes, mailboxes, custom plaques and address signs, and other house accessories.  They are based in Rancho Cordova, California.

Ron Doe's Restoration/ Cupolas.  Designs and builds custom rooftop cupolas using antique barn board and stained glass.  Also offers building restoration services.  Headquartered in Saco, Maine.

Fiberglass Specialties.  Manufacturer of rooftop cupolas and steeples constructed from fiberglass.  Custom fabrication work available.  Based in Henderson, Texas.

Fiberglass Unlimited.  Offers an extensive collection of rooftop cupolas and church steeples built of fiberglass.  Located in Roanoke, Alabama.

Gazebo Accents.  Offers an exceptionally fine-looking line of garden gazeboes.  They are based in Moreno Valley, California.

Gazebo Depot.  Creators of a classic line of wooden garden gazeboes.  They also offer weathervanes, mail boxes, playhouses, outdoor furniture, and other accessories for outdoor garden rooms.  They are based in Helena, Montana.

The Gazebo Factory.  Specializes in prefabricated garden gazebo kits.  Formerly named Old World Gazebos.  Maintains a showroom in Kingston, Illinois.

Good Directions, Inc.  A North American manufacturer and distributor of rooftop, cupolas and weathervanes to retailers.  When last checked, they did not sell directly to the public, but they offered a consumer catalog that could put you in contact with a local dealer (a few of whom appear as listings on this page).  They are based in Danbury, Connecticut.

Good Directions, Ltd.  Not to be confused with the North American company above, this company builds outdoor clocks, clock towers, and clock-faced cupolas.   They are headquartered in Botley, Hampshire (United Kingdom).

Legends Direct / Legends Lifestyle / AGI Group LLC (formerly HG Lifestyle and Directions for Home and Garden).  Among their expanding group of websites selling home improvement products is one that offers a line of rooftop cupolas constructed of wood (with or without metal cladding), or vinyl.  The designs feature either louvers or windows, copper or wooden roofs, may include weathervanes or finials, and are available in a variety of sizes.  Headquartered in Fenton, Michigan, with branches in Florida and Arizona.

Mahvelous Mailboxes.  Offers an attractive line of wooden or vinyl rooftop cupolas for sale.  Either louvered or windowed, most sport copper roofs and are available in a variety of sizes.  The company also sells an extensive selection of weathervanes, mailboxes, address plaques, doorbells, knockers, and other home accessories.  They are based in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.

The Mailbox Shoppe.  Based in Centerport, New York, it offers several basic rooftop cupola product lines.  It also offers a wide selection of weathervanes and mailboxes.

The Mailbox Works.  Carries a basic line of rooftop cupolas of the louvered, wooden type.  It also sells mailboxes and cast aluminum weathervanes.  Maintains a showroom in Naperville, Illinois.

Metallic Products.  Manufacture a small line of rooftop cupolas built of metal.  Based in Houston, Texas.

Missisquoi Cupolas.  Offers their own handsome line of handcrafted wooden rooftop cupolas, some louvered and others windowed.  Custom sizes and models available on request.  Weathervanes and garden gazeboes are available here too.  Located in St. Alphonse-de-Granby, Quebec (Canada).

MWI Components.  Markets a small line of all steel constructed rooftop cupolas on their website.  Also sells weathervanes.  They are headquartered in Spencer, Iowa.

Old World Distributors.  Carries a line of copper domes and cupolas.  They also sell finials, weathervanes, and other rooftop accessories.  They are based in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Piedmont Fiberglass Inc.  Offers steeples, rooftop cupolas, and other products of fiberglass construction.  They offer custom design services as well.  They are based in Taylorsville, North Carolina.

Ridge Woodworking.  Specializes in custom built wood and vinyl garden gazebos in Pennsylvania and surrounding states.  Based out of Schellsburg, Pennsylvania.

Sam's Gazebos.  Sells a product line of highly customizable, carefully crafted garden gazebos, as well as other landscape accessories like garden arbors and bridges.  Showroom in Gardena, California.

Shawnee Structures.  A storage shed builder based in Bedford, Pennsylvania.  Among their different outbuilding offerings is a rather nice selection of wood and vinyl gazebos.

Skip's Outdoor Accents.  An outdoor accessory retailer whose many offerings include a substantial line of prefabricated gazebos in either wood or vinyl.  Stores in Massachusetts.

SkyArt Weathervanes.  Feature their own handsome line of rooftop cupolas as well as a great selection of arty weathervanes.  Site mentions custom design services available as well.  They are located in Meriden, Connecticut.

Stephenson Cupolas.  Featured on the CW Ohio website, this is another line of basic wooden, louvered, rooftop cupolas.  Much of this site is still under construction.  CW Ohio is based in Conneaut, Ohio.

Superior Fiberglass.  Offers a wide selection of rooftop cupolas and church steeples built of fiberglass.  Based in Jacksonville, Texas.

TA Millwork, LLC.  Based in Wichita, Kansas, this company sells their own brand of wooden rooftop cupolas, or can custom build them to order.

Vixen Hill.  Offers a nice line of gazebos, pavilions, and small garden houses at their site.  They are based in Elverson, Pennsylvania.

The Weather Store.  Offers a nice line of rooftop cupolas, weathervanes, garden ornaments, and weather instruments.  They are located in Sandwich, Massachusetts.

Weathervanes of Maine.  Offers a wide selection of prefabricated rooftop cupolas in wood or vinyl, birdfeeders, finial, and weathervanes.  Custom design services on request.  Maintains a showroom in Wells, Maine, and headquarters (no showroom, pickup only location) in Hermon, Maine.

Weldy Enterprises.  Modular barn kits, rooftop cupolas, and weathervanes are available through their Handi-Klasp division.  They are based in Wakarusa, Indiana.

Woodshop Cupolas.  Offers a fine selection of handcrafted, copper roofed cupolas.  Available in different woods in louvered or windowed designs.  Sister site to Acadia Weathervanes.  Locations in Bar Harbor and Trenton, Maine.

Zack's Workshoppe.  Based in St. Clair Shores, Michigan, this company designs fanciful, custom-made cupolas to suit your needs.  Also carries a line of weathervanes

Where may I purchase a dome?
Included below are some of the companies that offer domes, dome services, or dome like products.

Architectural Fiberglass.  Previously listed under buying cupolas.

Campbellsville Industries.  Previously listed under buying cupolas.

Custom Cupola and Steeple.  Previously listed under buying cupolas.

Fiberglass Specialties.  They offer domes through their custom work.  Previously listed under buying cupolas.

McCarty Domes Inc / Roof Domes LLC.  A designer and manufacturer of pre-engineered dome kits.  Monitor-like cupola kits that may cap the domes are also available here.  Customization services available.  Company seems geared to work directly with architects, builders, and contractors.  Their head office is in Tucson, Arizona.

The Monolithic Dome Institute.  Provides construction expertise and design services in the area of thin shell concrete dome construction.  Headquartered in Italy, Texas.

Old World Distributors.  Previously listed under buying cupolas.

Sierra Stained Glass Studios.  Manufacturers of stunning stained glass domes.  These fanciful lighting elements are recessed into ceilings (or hung from them, inverted), working as art glass laylights.  The company is based in Modesto, California.

The Tile from Spain website.  Hultzen-Maqueda, Ltd., offers unusual ceramic tile domes that are custom designed and built by their team of artisans in Spain.  They maintain sales offices Santa Cruz, California, U.S.A., and in Gójar, Granada, Spain.

Where may I purchase a weathervane or finial?
Many of the companies listed above carry these building products in addition to their cupola and gazebo product lines.  The companies listed below specialize in them.

Acadia Weathervanes.  Designs and sells their own line of handcrafted copper weathervanes.  Also carry weathervanes made by others in different metals.  Sister site to Woodshop Cupolas.  Locations in of Bar Harbor and Trenton, Maine.

Denninger Weather Vane and Finial.  Features a vast selection of these rooftop accessories for sale, each handcrafted by the company's modern day blacksmith.  The company offers historic reproduction or restoration services on these items as well.  They are based in Theodosia, Missouri.

Poetry in the Sky.  Fanciful, custom crafted weathervanes by sculptor David Smith.  This is a very limited production facility, based in Sublime, Texas.

West Coast Weather Vanes.  Specializes in limited edition, handcrafted copper weathervanes.  Select from the large number of designs they post on their site, or commission them to craft something new.  This is a studio of craftsman and artists making their own unique product line.  They are headquartered near Santa Cruz, California.

I have a cupola/ weathervane to sell.  What's it worth and where should I sell it?
Tough questions, and your host here can only offer some suggestions on where to look for answers.  Ebay and The Barn Pages spring to mind as places to get a rough sense of an item's value and maybe as places to sell.  Architectural salvage companies and antique dealers who exhibit an interest may offer other opportunities.

My cupola/ dome/ steeple/ weathervane /spire needs maintenance/ inspection/ restoration.  Where may I find a company that offers these services?
Some of the companies listed earlier on this page offer these services.  Many do not, but they may be able to direct you to someone that does, like a steeplejack, perhaps.  Listed below are companies that have said on their websites that they offer some, if not all, of these services.  Depending on the project, the assistance of an architect, structural engineer, contractor, architectural historian, artisan, or some combination of these, may still be needed.

Campbellsville Industries.  Previously listed under buying cupolas.

CIS Steeplejack.  Offers inspection, repair, and restoration services for steeples, belfries, clock towers, cupolas, and domes across the United States.  Other services relating to these roof structures include consultation, emergency repair work, historic renovation, gilding, new installations, and more.  They are headquartered in Litchfield, Ohio.

Custom Cupola and Steeple.  Previously listed under buying cupolas.

Steeplejacks of America.  A company that specializes in the repair, maintenance, and restoration of church steeples, clock and bell towers, and large cupolas.  Services available across the U.S.  They are based in Strongsville, Ohio.

What is the proper size for a cupola?
This is a design question that defies a simple and straightforward answer.  The answer depends on a number of variables. Aesthetic appeal in terms of the cupola's proportional relationship with its surroundings is of course extremely important. One should also consider: what supports the cupola, how much it weighs, its intended purpose (i.e. as lookout, lantern, ventilation, or simply ornament), and any height or code restrictions that govern its construction.  How it will be built and located in its final position can also affect the answer to this question.  Several of the sites listed above offer general advice in this regard, especially the ones who sell prefabricated cupolas.  But from what I have seen, their advice is based almost solely on basic rules of proportion and little else.  For a more complete answer, especially on a big cupola, you may need to enlist the help of a professional in the building industry, such as an architect, structural engineer, or contractor.

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This page was last updated on 10/20/2014
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