If you recently read my article about the roof..

…there are still more design subjects related to this important architectural element that need to be mentioned and you might be interested!

One important thing, is to have a slope on your roof. I talked about the correct slope, but not why having a slope.


First, Costa Rica is a country located right in the tropics. This means it is expected to rain 8 months a year. All that water collected by your roof needs to be removed, otherwise that retained water will give an opportunity to humidity and mold to take action causing severe damages to most common used construction materials. Either if it’s wood, concrete or metal, at some point corrosion or rot will appear as time goes by.
This doesn’t mean you cannot have a flat roof. You can certainly have one, but for smaller areas and making sure to have at least  3% to 5% slope. This slope is almost imperceptible to the human eye, but you are still directing your water to a gutter or directly to a rain garden below.

House design using a 20% slope, please also note how all walls are protected by shadows projected by eaves 

This is a flat roof in Dana Point, CA. Note all that water left on the roof. In Costa Rica, that would be a problem.

Another interesting fact on this subject is how to select the correct materials for an eave cover. One simple, efficient, easy to install material is PVC. The idea of using a hose to clean your eaves is just great! No plagues, no moisture, no maintenance at all! Watch the difference!

PVC eaves versus probably low quality gypsum. House in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.

An important roof element that will provide a lot of natural light and ventilation is the use of clerestories and zenith windows. If designed correctly you can reflect light or add dramatic reflected shadows on specific areas. According to the Green Building Institute, it is a very useful strategy specially for schools.
In Casa SIH, under construction now, these roof elements our lowering my client’s electric bill and giving a unique feature to this residence that is to have the opportunity to let all that costarican greenery come into the house.

Columns slightly hold the roof structure. Zenith windows let more natural air and light into the house.




Clerestories work as air outlets. All the heat and fug will come out. This strategy is very common to be used on stair shafts.

And finally, roofs are an excellent place to locate solar panels. In the tropics, the roof is the element that collects more heat and radiation on a house or building. Good for the solar panels, not for your interiors!

Solar Panels collect all that sun radiation and turn into into alternative energy.

Check the roof article here

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