May, 2013

Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Architectural Styles



Last month, we briefly introduced the topic of architectural styles as it related to building and roof shapes. This month we will discuss chimneys and dormers, which are just two features that make a home distinctive.


Chimneys and dormers can form architectural focal points of a home as well. They may be located around the perimeter of the building or on the interior. Chimneys can be small or very large. Multiple chimneys are often arranged in a symmetrical pattern (for example, at either end of the ridge on a gable house). Chimneys can be various shapes and are often a different material than the exterior wall surfaces. Decorative pots on chimney tops can be part of the visual appeal of a home.



Photo above: The masonry pattern on this chimney may be
considered an architectural focal point


Dormers can be various shapes and sizes. They may be decorative, or they may define living space by providing light, ventilation or more headroom for top floors. There may be one dormer or several. Common dormer shapes include gable, shed, hip, flat, eyebrow, segmental (shallow slope), arched (steep slope) and inset. Dormers often, but not always, include windows.



Photo above: Gable dormers are one of the most common dormer types

Chimneys and dormers, as well as last month's topic of roof shapes, are just a few of the many features that make a home distinctive, such as the style of windows, doors and columns. In the ASHI@HOME training program, we explore general architectural categories. Examples of these may be Ancient classical, Renaissance classical or Spanish style. Recognizing the style of a home can be helpful for home inspectors, giving them a better understanding of the structural elements involved in the construction of that home. 

About ASHI@Home

This article is from the ASHI@Home education system, a comprehensive distance-learning program developed by Carson Dunlop with ASHI. Individual modules are approved for ASHI CE credits. Choose the printed version or the online learning program. Call 800-268-7070, Ext. 251, to learn more.