You’ve seen them perched atop pole barns. They look like mini barns on the rooftops of the big barn. Often, they have a weathervane perched on top of them. But what are they and what purpose do they serve besides a “roost” for the rooster on the weathervane? To help you get to know them, here are the top FAQs when it comes to pole barn cupolas.

What Is a Cupola?

The term cupola is Italian and originates from the Latin word for “small cup.” Historically, cupolas were dome-shaped and looked like an upside down cup on top of a building. They were often used to provide a lookout above the rooftop. Additionally, they offered a place for supplemental light and air to enter.

One famous cupola sits atop the Mount Vernon mansion. Not only was it visually appealing with the special dove of peace weathervane that George Washington designed, it was located above the central staircase and had windows that could be opened to create a breeze throughout the mansion.

You aren’t George Washington but you may be building your home and pole barn cupolas are just one option to think about when customizing your pole barn.

Why Were Cupolas Added to Barns?

Cupolas were added to barns for aesthetic and functional purposes. Not only are pole barn cupolas attractive, adding a finished look to a pole barn, they improve airflow and lighting. The windows that were opened and closed to create a breeze in the Mount Vernon version have been replaced by louvers.

These louvers are an added bonus because they are angled in a way that lets air in but keeps rain out – a great benefit for haylofts! The louvers also help keep animals like birds and squirrels from entering and making themselves at home. So ventilation is automatic and not something you’ll have to think about nor open and close tiny windows to regulate. Pole barn cupolas are the perfect weatherproof way to help bring in light and improve ventilation.

Does My Barn Need a Cupola?

Your pole barn’s purpose will help determine if you need to add a cupola. Cupolas are certainly a great addition for ventilation purposes. This means pole barn cupolas are extremely useful for barns that need to be comfortable inside such as workshops and most especially for horse or livestock barns. They help with ventilation which is an important part of heating and cooling a pole barn.

If you are planning a horse barn or other type of livestock barn but you have other ventilation options planned, cupolas are very helpful not necessary. Windows, doors and continuous ridge vents will aid in overall ventilation. Although cupolas certainly help complete the look and add charm to your barn no matter what its function will be.

Can My DIY Pole Barn Include a Cupola?

The short answer is: absolutely! Whether your barn needs a cupola for the ventilation and additional light they offer, or you simply want the traditional look of a pole barn cupola as your “crowning glory,” there is a cupola that is right for your project. DIY offers several sizes of cupolas: 24”, 36” and 48”. And, yes, you can add the rooster on top if that is your desire as the weathervane.

Weathervanes are not only a way to add a touch of class to pole barn cupolas; they really do serve a purpose. This instrument tells which way the wind is blowing and is very helpful when trying to optimize the natural cross breeze for ventilation purposes in the summer, or keeping your pole barn warm in cold winter weather.

Like weathervanes but not a fan of roosters?  DIY offers an assortment of weathervanes to personalize your building. There are many custom options to choose from to make your pole barn your own.

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