How to Replace a Mansard Style Roof

People often choose to replace roofs due to water leaks or because the expected lifespan of 15-20 years has expired.

Mansard roofs are elegant but challenging to work on.Mansard roofs are elegant but challenging to work on.
Mansard roofs are particularly difficult to work on because of the steeply pitched sides. A safe and easy approach is to use ladder jacks -- a scaffold system which uses two extension ladders and a movable platform. Pump jacks can also be set up -- a simple scaffold system using two 4 by 4 inch posts that are mounted onto the house face. For larger projects, some prefer a standard scaffold system. In any case, guard rails are a safety necessity.

Check the local building department to see if a permit is required before beginning work. Order a dumpster and have it placed close to the building if possible so old material can be thrown directly into it. Cover grass and shrubs with drop cloths.

Attach safety belts to something solid at the highest level of the roof, such as a chimney. Set up ladder jacks so the ladder tops rise well above the contact point of the roof. Use roofing pry-bars to remove all the old shingles, felt paper and nails.

Check for any water damaged wood and replace it. Apply roofing cement on top the nail heads to prevent rust. If you've chosen to modify the roof design, consult the new architectural drawings for the structural details and remodel as necessary.

Nail down any vents and metal flashing in any roof valleys before applying the roofing under lament. Peel and lay down an adhesive wrap barrier, such as the Grace brand "Ice and Water Shield." If you want to save money, use basic roofing felt paper on the side faces of the roof, which is less prone to leakage than the top.

Nail on the roof shingles with roofing nails beginning with the bottom edge and work your way up. Lay the top sheet of asphalt roofing on last.

Things You Will Need

  • Dumpster
  • Drop cloth
  • Ladders
  • Scaffolding
  • Tool belt
  • Roofing nails
  • Lumber
  • Under lament
  • Asphalt paper
  • Shingles


  • Heavier shingles are higher quality. A hoisting wheel or an electric lift for the materials will make the project safer and easier. For smaller, decorative mansard roof elements, such as a cupola, it's easier to build a replacement unit on the ground and install it with a boom lift.


  • Roofing work can be dangerous, especially if your mind wanders and you become careless.

About the Author

Rick Warden writes on a wide variety of subjects. He has served as a freelance English editor and writer at "Eurasian Chemical Market Magazine," and his articles are featured at Faithful News and Revelife, among other online publications. Warden graduated from the Cooper Union School of Architecture, earning a Bachelor of Architecture degree.