Feels Like Home // Overhangs

One of the most welcoming features of a home can be it's roof giving it a sense of protection. Depending on windows, it is also a vital part of how comfortable the home is on the inside.

via  Heliotrope Architects  in Seattle WA

via Heliotrope Architects in Seattle WA

also via  Heliotrope Architects  in Seattle WA

also via Heliotrope Architects in Seattle WA

via energy.gov

via energy.gov

When planned correctly, there are many benefits to having an overhang on your home. In fact, if you are planning a passive solar home the overhang is a crucial part of controlling the temperature of the home. The goal is to block the summer sun and let in the winter sun.*

Overhang Vs No Overhang

The above photos are an example of what a roof or overhang can do. On the left are some apartments here in San Luis Obispo. The overhangs provide protection from a summer sun.

The roofs on the tract homes in the photo on the right don't extend and there are no overhangs. I imagine those rooms get very warm, especially if that wall is west facing.

Imagine the photo on the left with no overhangs. It would seem less inviting and more exposed. On the flip side, imagine the homes on the right with an extended roof to protect the windows on top, and some overhangs to protect the first story windows and back door. 


Having a protected entrance is welcoming to guests and helpful for rainy days when you are unlocking your door with an armload of groceries or kids. 

via  Remodelista  ( this  is my favorite post from Remodelista, the home is perfection.)

via Remodelista (this is my favorite post from Remodelista, the home is perfection.)


An overhang large enough to give you a shaded and protected outdoor living spaces significantly increases your quality of life.  But perhaps you don't have much overhang on your home and moving really isn't an option. There are solutions to this problem. If you have a yard or patio you can add a detached shade structure. The one below is a good example of situating the structure to allow morning sun but blocking the heat of the afternoon with the way the wooden slats are positioned.  I would definitely drink my morning coffee here. 

If you have a large set of windows without protection facing the West you may feel the afternoon heat beyond your comfort. Don't go out and buy a stock striped and scalloped canvas awning just yet. A simple addition to that wall can provide relief while still looking great. 

Available at  Wayfair.com 

Available at Wayfair.com 

Because our family rents, we aren't able to build any type of overhangs. The solution we've used in our backyard is a sail shade. We bought ours at our local hardware store for $30. It's has worked great, protects our kids while the play outside in the sun and certainly makes our outdoor space more welcoming. 

via  HGTV

via HGTV

*If you are building a home or searching for a home, consider the amount of windows on a west or east facing wall. A well designed home for comfort will have the longest wall with windows facing the south and the shortest wall facing the west and east. If you must have west or east facing windows (as many do here in California to optimize their view of the ocean,) then consider the overhang and how that will help.