What is a clerestory roof? Benefits of Adding a Clerestory Roof to Your Property

Roofs speak volumes about the overall height of the house and also the aesthetic appeal relating to it. Some residents of the house would like their roof as low as possible to keep up with the maintenance and to repress the heat spread in the house. 

But some prefer their roof to be as tall and extended as possible to let the breathing space be quite large and also to allow heat and air inside. There are particular designs for such roofs as per your preferences, and one such popular design is the Clerestory roof design, which has windows attached to the roofline, making the space look more spacious and airy and allowing ventilation and heat inside. 

Read the article further to gain an overall idea about Clerestory roofs, their pros and cons, how to fix them, and the shortcomings and benefits arising from the installation of such roof designs. 

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What is a Clerestory Roof Design?

A clerestory roof is a design of and for a roof where a vertical wall is attached to the roof with a row of windows on the roof line and panel. This roof has a lot of purpose, with ventilation being the main purpose of this design of roof. It features two slope sides, with one being on top and the other one having a row of windows. 

Natural light, ventilation, and sounds are easy to get through this type of roof, making it a lucrative option for people who are living in the countryside or who want to be with nature.

Considering the advantages, it has its own disadvantages as well. Though it may enhance the appeal of the house, it requires heavy maintenance, and there may be issues with privacy as well. 

The Pros and Cons of Clerestory Roofs


  • Increased natural light: Clerestory windows are fixed on the roofline, offering adequate natural light to the room.
  • Privacy: As the Clerestory roof design is made in such a manner that the windows are fixed along the roofline, there is enough space or shade for privacy rather than the light or transparency being apparent to see from anywhere. 
  • Solar heat gains: Homes or people residing in cold areas can make use of this design to enhance their solar heat gains if fixed on the northern side. 
  • Ventilation and aesthetics: Modern homes often overlook the benefits of ventilation or windows in the houses, making it hard to breathe and being dependent on artificial breathers. This type of roof offers ventilation and lets you breathe fresh air while also adding an aesthetic appeal to the house. 


  • Maintenance upkeep: With a row of windows fixed on the roofline, the maintenance of the windows becomes harder as it is necessary for the mechanism to work swiftly to cater to the residents. 
  • Window coverings: During tough times, and with the windows being rare-manufactured products, it might be hard to find apt window coverings, and to keep up with the air leaks or repairs, it becomes harder. 
  • Heat escapes: Unless the windows are air-tight, the what or wind escapes if not functioned properly. 

How to Build a Clerestory Roof

How to Build a Clerestory Roof

The above link can help in providing more insights into building a clerestory roof, with proper measures and procedures to be followed step by step.

The roof can be constructed based on the structure of the roof, the age and sturdy standard of the building, and other considerations.

If you are trying to do a DIY project to install, it is preferred that you not do this on your own, as it requires more time and the necessary knowledge of the roofs and installation before getting into the construction. 

Why People Want a Clerestory Roof

Clerestory roofs are often preferred by people because of their characteristics of providing natural light and ventilation rather than using fans or lights, thereby saving power usage and utility bills.

With the windows situated on the roofline up high, it brings in natural light to the room, dismissing the use of any lights in the room, and with natural air and breeze coming into the room, it becomes a good place to sunbathe and also store products in warehouses or business enterprises. 

What are the benefits and possible issues with a clerestory roof?

Benefits of a Clerestory Roof:

  • Free up space: As the windows are kept high, the walls at eye level can be free of space to utilize besides fixing windows on them. As the placement of windows moves on and the place remains free, you can hang artwork, use furniture, or hang hangings to use the space.
  • Natural light: Clerestory roofs are popular designs that are well suited for spaces or houses that have attics or high roofs, making the room light up in natural light. Better than the light coming from the windows at eye level, the windows that are above our heads provide enough lighting for the space for mobility. 
  • Privacy: The space of the Clerestory roof is open and sort, but it is also safe as the sunlight falls from a different angle. The windows are set up so high in a place where outsiders are not able to see inside. 
  • Aesthetics: It improves the aesthetic value of the building, making it more appealing to the space you are in, and with good ventilation and light, it becomes a good source to use for sale later. 

Possible issues: 

  • Too much light: Considering that the Clerestory roofs are designed to let light in, sometimes it becomes so bright that artificial lights are not needed. If there is a heat wave or heavy sun during a day, it becomes hard for the residents to get to the space, as it brings in more glare and heat to the area. 
  • Heat escapes: As the roofs are set higher with windows higher near the roof line, the heat escapes quickly, making the room look dark before sunset. Compared to a regular ceiling and roof, this Clerestory roof is prone to bad utility in cold times, as the electricity bills may increase with regular use of lights and power. 
  • Upkeep and maintenance: This is one of the major disadvantages and possible issues of a clerestory roof. To clean, repair, and maintain the windows is a hard thing enough, but when it is situated high up near the roof, the materials required to get there and clean the windows and spaces nearby make the task more arduous than necessary. 

What’s the Difference Between a Roof Monitor and a Clerestory Roof?

To understand the difference, it is necessary to understand each term’s design to gain a better understanding. 

Roof monitors are structures that are built on a raised surface on a double-sloped roof. It can vary in different shapes and sizes and more often it is seen on top of the house, looking like miniature buildings. 

On the other hand, a clerestory roof is a single structure or a single design that is constructed on a short vertical wall aligned with two rope slopes. Both have the common factor of having windows but have differences in designs. 

Both have the common goal of giving a modern and contemporary look to the overall appeal of the house. The clerestory roof adds height to the roof, drawing attention to the roof of the house. 

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