A Guide to Decorative Finials and Ridge Crests

by | Nov 3, 2017 | Design

The finial (or spire) and ridge crest represent two of the most popular decorative elements that can be added to our specialty line of custom glass enclosures and additions. As used in architecture, the finial is usually affixed to the apex of domes, roof elements, or gables. The resulting effect is a peak that emphasizes the vertical dimension of the structure. By contrast, although ridge cresting can introduce height to a structure, it does so along the entire length of a ridged architectural element. Depending on the location and design of your glass structure, finials, ridge crests, or both can be wonderful options.

In this article, we’ll look at a few examples of finials and ridge crests in order to give you a sense of how they look in the field. Our goal is always to ensure that you receive the home transformation of your dreams.


Decorative Finials


The finial typically serves to accent the top of a structure. Consisting of a base component and a spire component, the origins of the decoration go back to Greek and Roman culture. Finials are also seen in temples throughout Asian architecture. But the modern finial really exploded in popularity throughout the Renaissance and Victorian eras. The Victorians used a variety of finial spire styles including but not limited to the sphere, the spike, the fleur-de-lys, and the crown. These elements would be added to the tops of orangeries and conservatories resulting in an impressive appearance. Let’s take a look at a few examples:


A panel of three decorative finial silhouettes which depict classic styles with triangular bases, spherical midsections, and pointed spires

Here we see three finial styles using the classic ball and spire design.
Triangular base elements are very popular.

A panel of three decorative finial silhouettes which depict columnar or rectangular bases

This set of finials features rectangular or columnar base elements.
As decorative elements, finials are available in virtually any style.
Finials can be added to conservatories, greenhouses, orangeries, and other glass structures.

A panel of three decorative finial silhouettes including a New England ball and dome, a spiked dome, and a modified crescent resembling a chess piece

This set of finials features a New England ball and dome, a spiked dome, and a modified crescent.
Finials can be constructed out of copper, steel, aluminum, or even wood and glass!

A photo taken of a colonial orangery located in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts in which a decorative finial can be seen adorning the custom glass roof

This colonial orangery located in Shrewsbury, MA features a hip-style skylight and finial.
The pairing of old world design with modern construction is gorgeous.

A photo of a custom glass conservatory built by Sunspace Design in Rye, New Hampshire depicting a bold decorative finial atop an angular glass roof

This New Hampshire glass conservatory designed and constructed by Sunspace features a lovely finial.
The bold spike and sphere create a classic look.


Decorative Ridge Crests


Like the finial, an architectural ridge crest is a design feature intended to heighten and dramatize the already impressive visual look of your brand new glass structure. But unlike the finial, ridge cresting emphasizes the linearity of your structure. As an ornamental ridge-cap, the ridge crest is usually fixed atop the ridge of a pitched roof. Although lacking the intense vertical peak of the finial, there’s still a great diversity of styles available to interested customers. Each peak in a ridge crest reinforces the overall pattern, which can be comprised of multiple simple arcs, fleurs-de-lys, spikes, or other shapes. Here are some examples of ridge crests employed in Sunspace Design’s New England construction projects to date:

A photo of a starburst ridge pattern on a black aluminum greenhouse constructed in the very heart of Boston, Massachusetts

This stunning starburst pattern ridge crest was part of a greenhouse we built in Boston, MA.
Nestled in the heart of Beacon Hill, this custom glass greenhouse impresses onlookers.

A photo of a Weston, Massachusetts glass enclosure with a long, decorative ridge crest casting a lovely shadow at sunset

Sunspace crewmen are still hard at work finishing this new glass enclosure in Weston, MA.
he finial and ridge crest located centrally along the roof create a gorgeous effect. Check out that shadow!

A close-up photo of a decorative ridge crest casting a slight reflection on to the spans of glass in a custom Sunspace Design glass roof

Ridge crests like these can be introduced to a large number of the projects we complete.
Interested? Contact us and ask about our options. Your goals are our goals.

No matter what your stylistic preferences may be, Sunspace Design is capable of delivering exactly what you’re dreaming of. Are you ready to let the light in by transforming your family home with one of our custom glass designs? Wait no longer. Call Sunspace Design at 1-800-350-2505, write us at info@sunspacedesign.com, or submit a contact request. We’ll get back to you right away.

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