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Architectural Terms & Definitions

Discover everything about the main architectural terms in our glossary and take the opportunity to find out how Millhawlk can help you

What is Overhang in construction?

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What is Overhang in construction?

An overhang in construction refers to a protruding structure that extends beyond the edge of a building or structure. This architectural feature serves both functional and aesthetic purposes, providing shade, protection from the elements, and visual interest to a building.

Types of Overhangs

There are several types of overhangs commonly used in construction, including eaves, canopies, awnings, and balconies. Each type of overhang serves a specific purpose and can be customized to suit the design and functionality requirements of a building.

Benefits of Overhangs

Overhangs play a crucial role in energy efficiency by providing shade to windows and walls, reducing the need for air conditioning in hot climates. They also protect the exterior of a building from water damage, prolonging its lifespan and reducing maintenance costs.

Design Considerations

When incorporating overhangs into a building design, architects must consider factors such as the orientation of the building, the angle of the sun, and the local climate. Properly designed overhangs can maximize natural light, ventilation, and thermal comfort within a building.

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Materials and Construction

Overhangs can be constructed using a variety of materials, including wood, metal, glass, and concrete. The choice of materials depends on factors such as durability, cost, and aesthetic preferences. Proper installation and maintenance are essential to ensure the longevity and performance of an overhang.

Challenges and Solutions

One common challenge with overhangs is the risk of water infiltration and moisture damage. Proper flashing, drainage systems, and waterproofing techniques can help mitigate these risks and ensure the structural integrity of the overhang. Regular inspections and maintenance are also key to preventing issues.

Overhangs in Modern Architecture

In modern architecture, overhangs are often used as a design element to create dynamic and visually striking facades. Cantilevered overhangs, in particular, have become popular for their dramatic appearance and structural innovation, allowing for larger spans and creative forms.

Sustainability and Overhangs

Overhangs play a significant role in sustainable design by reducing energy consumption, minimizing heat gain, and promoting natural ventilation. Green building standards often require the incorporation of overhangs and other passive design strategies to enhance the environmental performance of a building.

Future Trends

As technology and materials continue to advance, the design and construction of overhangs are likely to evolve. Innovations such as smart shading systems, self-adjusting overhangs, and biophilic design principles are shaping the future of overhangs in architecture, offering new possibilities for energy-efficient and aesthetically pleasing buildings.


In conclusion, overhangs are a versatile and essential element in construction, providing both functional and aesthetic benefits to buildings. By understanding the principles of overhang design, architects and builders can create sustainable, efficient, and visually appealing structures that enhance the built environment.

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