Cupolas are becoming popular additions to post frame buildings. From small garden sheds to large shomes® they can be found everywhere! The primary question that many of our customers have is deciding which model, how many, and what size is appropriate for their post frame structure.

Original Purpose of the Cupola:

Cupolas date back to the 8th century Islamic architecture. These first cupolas were placed atop minarets, were large and sometimes ornate structures with one or more balconies from which the daily call to prayer would be announced. On old barns, cupolas helped keep barn air moving to reduce lingering smells, hot air, and stuffiness. These building accessories were designed in a way to keep rain and bad weather out while still providing ventilation and natural light. Today, the primary purpose of the cupolas used on most post frame buildings is to enhance exterior aesthetics and set the building apart from others.

How do I Know What Size of Cupola My Building Needs?

A general rule of thumb for choosing the right size cupola for your building is to allow 1.25 inches of cupola for every foot of building width. For example, if your building is 24 feet wide, your cupola should be at least 30 inches wide. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, and you can also consider your personal taste when choosing a size:

Building Height

Two-story or taller buildings may need a larger cupola, or 1.5 inches per foot of roof. 

Low-pitched roofs may look better with smaller cupolas, while steeper roofs may need an extended base for stability.

Building Length

Buildings longer than 48 feet may need multiple cupolas to break up the space.

Building Proportions

Wider buildings may benefit from wider cupolas, while the proportions of your building overall can help you determine the right size.

Personal Preference

You can also choose a size based on your personal taste.


Sizing table can be found:

How many cupolas should I install on my building?

This is largely a matter of personal preference but the final look should appear balanced and symmetrical. Using the table above (see building length), an example 100’ building would call for approximately 2 cupolas. Depending on the building width, we’d expect to see most buildings of this size have either 36”x36” or 48”x48” cupolas. It’s even common to put one 48”x48” in the center, flanked on each side by a 36”x36”. Further, it works well to install either glass, lights and/or a larger weathervane on the center/larger cupola if you choose this configuration.

What will it cost and is it worth it?

Cupolas certainly add to the cost of a building and it can certainly add up as you go with large size, quantity and/or features. We urge people to invest the extra money in their building to get the outcome they want and will be happy with long term. Cupolas, when done correctly, can add tremendous cosmetic appeal to the building and make it stand out. There’s value in doing so. Although you will always need a firm quote, a rough budgetary figure of between $1,000-2,000 (installed price, depending on size/options) per cupola is generally a good starting point.

Cupola Options:

  • A large variety of glass, wall, and roof designs
  • A large variety of weathervanes
  • Clapboard Base.
  • Copper and Colored Louvers
  • Hinged Window
  • Painted Cupolas
  • Board “N” Batten Base
  • Base and Crown Molding
  • Lantern Mount and Light Socket
  • Flashing Kit

Cupola Fun Facts:

  • Brunelleschi’s Dome in Florence, Italy is believed to have the largest cupola in the world.
  • Another well-known example of fine cupola art can be found atop the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy.

Additional information on cupolas can be found at: