. . Construction . .
How I Build
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Roofing Materials
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Roof Lines
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Insect Screening
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Shipping Preparation
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Cupola School
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How I build

There are two facts that I must receive from the Customer to build the handcrafted cupola or sell from inventory. I need to know roof "slope" and secondly, how far I should go in final finishing (painting and roofing). 

Your "slope" knowledge is required to cut the saddle notch in the cupola base that will match to your existing or planned roof. Secondly I  will build the matching slope on the cupola cap. However, having said that, the minimum slope that will be put on the Calgary Cupola roof  is a 5/12, in that I have found anything in a shallower slope just does not look right.


There are generic components in manufacturing the cupolas that I am able to perform in anticipation of your order. I have been working to build an  inventory of these components to speed the  product to you, once your decision to purchase has been made.

The base on the Super Estate and Estate cupola is constructed from crezon, an exterior plywood (3/8") used in exterior signs with a smooth finished surface like MDF (multi density fiber board). I can also make it from Louisiana Pacific's LP board, that has a wood grain pattern, and excellent for exterior applications. 

#62 Super Estate with an under the roof electric light and Lexan panels.
I no longer offer the Lexan panels in the regular cupolas - Lexan offered in the gazebo cupola.

The base for the Large Garage, Garage, Small Garage and Garden cupola is constructed from appearance grade Canadian SPF (spruce, pine, fir) solid wood.  The four base sides are square on my cupolas. Rather than limiting Customers to the standard square sizes, I am able to accept special orders for non-square cupolas.

In constructing louver panels, louvers are cut  from planks. Louvers are planned and sanded to a paint grade finish. Louvers with excessive knots are culled. Louver ends are brushed with Franklin’s Titebond II premium exterior wood glue, then placed in one of the jigs. Corner posts are added to the jig. Pressure is applied to the joints, the square is confirmed, then brad nails are shot home. Panels cure overnight to ensure they remain solid and square.

Four louver panels and the four base sides are cemented with LePages’ Bulldog PL Premium adhesive. The four panels are strapped together. The adhesive expands to fill voids and then cures rock hard in four days! 

The photo to the right shows the Estate Cupola (36" square) in three completed components, before the louver assembly and base assembly are joined, and roof on top. The completed roof cap (48" square) is standing on edge, hiding the roof top but displaying the trim underside. 

The cupola roof is built starting with a square plate of 1/2" recycled fir G2S plywood. A trim rectangle is glued and screwed on the underside. The truss system having the appropriate slope is glued and screwed to the topside. Four triangles of 1/2" recycled fir G2S plywood, are screwed to the truss system to complete the roof. 

Note that a 2x2 beam is fastened between the two saddle ends of the base. A lag screw is centered on the beam (with two in the Estate cupolas). The lag screw will bring tension between the cupola base and the structure roof, thereby pulling the cupola base firmly down onto the roof structure, ensuring the cupola is secure. 

For installation on the Customer's structure roof peak, the lag screw will be turned through the existing structure's roofing material  and continue biting underneath into the blocking between trusses. For the second step in the Customer's installation, the Customer will screw the underside cap trim to the four top end vertical corners of the base, completing the installation.





The completed Calgary Cupola Estate (#38E) ready for paint. It measures approximately three foot square at the trim line on the base, three feet height and slightly less than four feet at the cupola roof drip line. I can ship painted or bare wood like you see.

Should the Customer decide on purchasing a copper weathervane, we will build an internal socket to anchor the vertical weathervane's steel rod. An early decision on the weathervane is required to ensure we have built the socket and that the ornament is enroute to us.

Top of page | How we build | Steps |Painting | Roofing materials | Roof lines | Insect screening | Shipping Preparation | Cupola School |Installation


Painting is a four-coat sanding and paint process. I use an airless sprayer, applying two latex prime coats, and two finish coats of premium white latex. 

#100 Small Garage painted white



Should a customer request a special paint color as the final coat, we request the Customer obtain colour codes and product information from a national paint supplier, or Home Depot. We will paint using their latex offerings. There is a cost premium for a custom colour - #70 Large Garage ( right).


Top of page | How we build | Steps |Painting | Roofing materials | Roof lines | Insect screening | Shipping Preparation | Cupola School |Installation

Roofing materials

Roof coverings can be asphalt shingling, western red cedar shingling, and copper.  The left photo shows the cedar roofed #47 Estate Cupola  before local delivery and installation. 


Asphalt shingling is by IKO or EMCO that are distributed throughout the USA and Canada. Please advise us on the manufacturer's colour code/name. A small 2" sample sent with your payment is recommended. Roofing prices are quoted for the standard 20/25 year three tab shingle with black felt underlay. 


I have not been using metal drip edging and the price does not include that. To be most pleasing for the eye, we scale back the normal 5 " shingling course to 4" or 4 ". To the right is #56 Garage being black asphalt shingled.




The copper roofed  #59 Estate that was sent to Red Springs, North Carolina.

 Top of page | How we build | Steps |Painting | Roofing materials | Roof lines | Insect screening | Shipping Preparation | Cupola School | Installation

Roof lines

The cottage style is the only roof offered in the Calgary Cupola. I previously offered the gable and gambrel roofs but no longer do so.

Cottage roof line

Gambrel roof line
(extra charge applies)

Gable roof line
(extra charge applies)

Top of page | How we build | Steps |Painting | Roofing materials | Roof lines | Insect screening | Shipping Preparation | Cupola University | Installation

Insect screening

There are two approaches to insect screening for those who have a concern. My shop has screening only over the opened asphalt roof to keep out debris and insects. This insect screening is the size/footprint of the Garage Cupola.   (I have opened the asphalt roof to allow ventilation of the attic space - one of the two reasons for a cupola. Air coming out of our attic is generally 110 degrees Fahrenheit on a warm day.)

On the right, cupola #36E, I have wrapped screening on the inside of the painted louver panels, securing with wood striping and staples. This was done where there was a concern of insects building a nest inside the cupola base. There is a small premium for insect screening that varies on cupola size.

Top of page | How we build | Steps |Painting | Roofing materials | Roof lines | Insect screening | Shipping Preparation | Cupola School | Installation

Shipping preparation

Orders being shipped naturally require secure packaging. The Super Estate Cupola will be sent in a custom 3/8" plywood crate. 

For the others, a corrugated carton is used for the base, with the roof in a second package, either wrapped into a pyramid using a recycled corrugated sheet, or a corrugated box. 

Customers ordering the two Estate cupolas are able to ship a second cupola inside the base for no increase in the shipping premium. You should consider two cupolas from me. You should also consider the Fence Post Cupola Birdhouse and weathervanes. Weathervanes and birdhouses are  shipped free of charge with a cupola order. 

Orders to the USA require US customs clearance that we handle on your behalf.  

#60SE crated for Export to Florida. The cupola roof is a the bottom, and the base on top.
The special ordered cedar #60 Super Estate for Punta Gorda, Florida.
Cedar with Lexan plexiglass, in a 4/12 pitch, with internal light fixture.

The 250 pound cupola & crate (#60SE) loaded on the truck for drop off at the transport depot.

Top of page | How we build | Steps |Painting | Roofing materials | Roof lines | Insect screening | Shipping Preparation | Cupola School | Installation

Cupola School

I have had customers who wanted to construct their own cupolas. That is fine - come on over.  While we cannot give a price break on a build-your-own cupola, we can give you the satisfaction that you have assembled your own project. In preparation for project day, we will get  key components prepared and concurrently build and assemble together. I will tailor the project to your ability and level of interest.

Work in progress -#31Garage cupola - friends Deanna & Bill Bergman of Calgary

 Calgary Cupola Garage #31G Calgary

Top of page | How we build | Steps |Painting | Roofing materials | Roof lines | Insect screening | Shipping Preparation | Cupola School | Installation

Installation Steps

1. Confirm your slope. (Slope was determined when your cupola was ordered. "Slope" knowledge is required to cut the saddle notch in the cupola base that will match your existing or planned roof.) Confirm that the structure roof slope and underside of the cupola base slope are similar.

2. Shingle the cupola roof while on the ground. Don't do this up on the roof as it is dangerous and creates unnecessary traffic on the roof. Remember to protect the painted cupola roof underside by using a cushion or drop cloth. Remember to take that cloth onto the roof for resting the cupola roof between steps. 

3. Install your weathervane rod. (Save the NSEW directionals and ornament installation as the last step when the cupola roof is is up on the cupola base.)

4. Determine where the cupola should go on the ridge. Take the base of the cupola to the ridge. Place in the desired location. Confirm the location is the appearance you want. Maybe you also have to temporarily put the roof on the cupola to get the full look you need to confirm the location. 

Front or middle? The "Installation Committee" makes the final placement decision.

5. Once the location is determined, concurrently  put your level on the top of the base and adjust the cupola sitting on the ridge. Adjust until the cupola is level, and not rocking on the roof. Perhaps a side or corner will require a scrap shim, or two, to get to that level, solid state. Lag screw the cupola to the roof, having the lag screw bite into the concealed blocking on the underside of the ridge. Tension the lag screw to have the cupola beam pull down a little, to have the cupola seated tight to the roof. Confirm the cupola is still level. You may have to back off the cupola, reseat, adjust shims and then retighten the lag screw. Reconfirm the cupola base is level. Confirm the cupola base feels solid to the roof before proceeding.

6. Place the cupola roof on the cupola base. Screw the eight (8x)  #2 square (#2 Robertson) underside screws on the underside cupola roof trim,  into the top posts of the base.

7. Mount your weathervane NSEW directionals and ornament as the final step.

Installation with the Customer of # 55 Large Garage cupola

Top of page | How we build | Steps |Painting | Roofing materials | Roof lines | Insect screening | Shipping Preparation | Cupola School | Installation

Last updated:
  16 January 2017

Please visit our photo gallery of completed cupola projects.

For inquiries or orders, please complete the on-line cupola design and order form or contact:

Mark Soehner 
Calgary Cupola & Weathervane
96 Havenhurst Crescent SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada  T2V 3C5
(403) 630-0968 Cellular, 
(403) 259-5571 Home office, Workshop & voice mail

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