Have you ever looked up and wondered why the homes in Bermuda all have stepped roofs? There’s a very good reason for it.
Stepped roofing, along with brightly coloured exteriors and flared out stairways, are all defining features of Bermudian architecture. The homes are almost as iconic as the pink sand beaches and pristine bays on the island.
So how did Bermuda get its archetypal style?
Stepped Roofing Is A Matter of Island Survival
Well, that might be a tad dramatic, but essentially, it’s true we need those roofs for our island’s water supply. The only natural source of freshwater to be found on the island is rainwater. The stepped roofing is designed to slow down the flow of rainfall and direct as much rainwater as possible into storage tanks.
This is the best roofing to collect rainwater. In fact, it is now written into Bermuda law that every new home must contain eight gallons of rain barrel storage per square foot of roofing, effectively making this technique required by law. So if your roof has sprung a leak, you’d best call in a specialist Bermudan roofer.
What makes the roofs even more special is the fact that they are made out of limestone. And the reason for that leads us to our next point…
No huffing and puffing will blow Bermuda’s houses down! Hurricanes are a fact of Bermudan life. Early Bermudian settlers learned hard and fast that investing in study walls and roofs was essential in order to withstand the occasional tropical cyclone. As a result, most are made from local, solid limestone. By law, homes must be built to withstand wind speeds of at least 100 mph (160km/h).
Cheery Pastel Palette
So far, we’ve discussed the functionality of Bermudian architecture, but the pastel-coloured exteriors of Bermudian homes are purely aesthetic.
Traditionally, lime and water were mixed to create a whitewash, to which dyes were added. This explains the muted pastel palette. Over the years, homeowners have continued to respect the tradition of painting their homes in similar hues, though there is no law requiring it. Bermudans can paint their homes whatever colour they wish, and some homeowners choose more vibrant tones. Whatever their colour, Bermuda’s homes are as cheery and joyful as ever, reflecting the spirit of their occupants.
Welcoming Arms Lead You Home
Many of Bermuda’s homes have a flight of stairs leading up to their front doors. In more traditional examples of Bermudan architecture, the stairs flare out at the bottom. After a long day at work, the limestone bannisters give the illusion of a pair of arms, outstretched and awaiting an embrace – which is why they are known as “welcoming arms”.
I’m sure you’ve already taken notice of Bermuda’s unique and beautiful architecture. After reading this blog, we hope you appreciate it all-the-more. And the next time you take cover from a heavy storm, you can be reassured that you have the best roof over your head.