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HIP Home > Tips > Architectural Tips >

Salt Box

New England style

The saltbox house simply says "New England." Today this popular style exists all over the country, but it's still a symbol of the New England states where it originated. The style dates back to the colonial era and is recognized by its characteristic uneven roof, with one side larger and more slanted than the other. This feature was designed so the deeper incline faced the heavy New England snowfalls.

Taking care of the fireplace

Most saltbox houses have one or more fireplaces. This charming feature can be a treasure or a hazard; it's up to you. If you use the fireplace, even a few times each season, you need to have your chimney cleaned. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, chimney fires account for more deaths and more building damage than any other fires caused by home heating.

The sooty deposits inside the chimney igniting cause chimney fires. Even if the chimney fire doesn't spread to the attic or roof, it can cause structural damage in the chimney itself and cause dangerous fumes to back up into your home. A reputable chimney-cleaning firm will not only clean out the hazardous deposits, but also inspect the structural integrity of the chimney itself.

Roof concerns

Another area of concern for owners of saltbox homes is the roof. Look at your roof after the first snowfall. If there are areas of uneven snow melt, especially at the joint where the brick of the chimney meets the shingles, you've got heat loss problems. The cause is probably gaps or damage in the interior insulation layer.
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