Gable roofs, with their often severe peaks and sharp angles, add a striking touch to any home or business. That touch can become even more eye-catching when gable decorations are added to the mix. Roof gable decorations were once very useful, but their purpose has shifted over the years. This does not mean they are still not popular or available in a host of styles that range from the old-fashioned to the contemporary.
Roof gable decorations can be traced back to ancient Greek and Roman times. The gable is the triangular piece of wall that fills in the space where the sides of the roof meet, called the tympanum by the Greeks and Romans. They used the tympanum as a showcase for artwork, including carvings, stonework or statuettes. Some evidence of this still remains in the Greek Parthenon. In addition to ornamentation, the building's function would sometimes be labeled in the tympanum, be it an academy, stadium or temple.
Some stores or other buildings may still use gable decorations to announce the type of business therein, but the main function of the roof gable decoration has been for ornamentation. Since the gable roof is often striking on its own, builders or homeowners often forego the roof gable decorations altogether, opting for cleaner, minimalistic lines. The roof will still function sans the decorations, but it will lack that small detail that can really add pizazz.
Wood is a very common material used for gable roof decorations, although it's known to rot, buckle or otherwise get destroyed up on a rooftop fully exposed to the elements. A sturdier material for roof gable decorations would be polyurethane or PVC, tough plastic material, which can be painted to resemble wood if desired. Gable decorations are usually triangular to fit snugly in the peak, but they don't have to be. Different dimensions and angles are available to fit a variety of roofs. Most gable decorations come in white, but they can be painted with exterior paints to match any color scheme.
Roof gable decorations are available in an array of different styles and designs. Those with a more traditional home may wish to opt for simple borders with a few line designs or scrolls. Victorian homes, well-known for their gable roofs, may do well with décor that resembles lace or doily edges or a particular style that resembles a sunrise specifically called Victorian. Those wanting an extremely eye-catching decoration can go for the fancier, busier scrolls, dragons, shields, sunrises, crosses or other images that make up the overall piece. Some companies will custom make gable decorations if none are available to fit a particular fancy.
Gable decorations can add a unique touch to an already unique home. They can also set a home apart in a row of similar looking houses. Some gable decorations are confined to the area just below the roof's peak, which gives the home an immediate focal point. Other gable décor runs the full length of the roof edge, turning the roof into a decorative frame for the gabled side of the home. Gable decorations are reminiscent of old-fashioned coziness or can even be likened to the elaborate and fanciful touches found in fairy tales or on a holiday gingerbread house.
- Photo Credit Illustration of gable decoration by Ryn Gargulinski
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