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August 25, 2018

Don’t Drown the Pizza Man!

No one likes a soggy pizza. But many homeowners don’t realize that their house might be preventing them from enjoying that fresh-out-of-the-oven pizza delivery. Let me explain.

Imagine a rainy Friday night. Too tired to make dinner, you order a pizza delivered – happens to the best of us. But the doorbell never rings. An hour later, you check online to see that the pizza is still “out for delivery”. What gives? If you had this elevation flaw on your house, the pizza delivery guy/gal either gave up or was knocked to the ground by the wall of water streaming off the roof above the front door! Or, more likely, you open the door to a soaking wet delivery person who is surely expecting a hefty tip – maybe even a reference for a promotion. Naturally, the homeowner is oblivious to the issue since they enter their home via the comforts of an automatic garage door opener.

Why We Have Roofs

Shedding water is the primary function of our roofs, right? But the direction in which that water sheds is equally as important. Water should always be diverted away from doors – both for people and for water proofing.

I’m not talking about those lame “roof diverts” that only divert water in a light drizzle. In Florida, we get big rains and we get them often – “toad stranglers” is what my friend calls them. No, I’m talking about actual roof forms to that can take multiple Floridian thunderstorms day-in and day-out!

The Gable Solution

To divert water away from the front door, I like a gable roof form. Not only does this shed the water properly, but it also calls attention to the most important element on the front of the home: The front door!

Let’s take a look at an example of gables gone wrong. Here, not only is there no gable over the front door, the gables at either side of the front door are diverting water right onto the front entry! Imagine the volume of water! If you squint at the elevations, the front door disappears. Go ahead, try it! Instead, your eye is drawn to the largest gable on the front of the house – over the garage!

Power to the People

Who buys a house? People or cars? Don’t worry, this is not a trick question. The people do! That’s why I prefer to put the people first on the front elevation. I like centering a gable element over the front door to call attention to it. Even in a narrow 40’ elevation (yellow house below), notice how the gable and the window above are centered on the front door? Not only will the pizza delivery guy find the front door, he will actually be able to ring the doorbell on a rainy day.

Alternative Solution

“Not so fast” you say! What if the house you’re building has only hip roofs and no gables. I find these roof forms often with Mediterranean, Coastal and French Country elevation styles. In this case, you would simply add a raised hip element to both highlight the entry and divert the water.

The next time you are looking at your front elevations, consider how your roof sheds water. Your pizza man will thank you!

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This post was written by Housing Design Matters