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Cupola Installation Method – With Cross Brace

Requires internal cupola access

Note: Installation is easier with two people.

This is the principal mounting method for most cupola applications. The majority of cupolas have a cross brace as a structural support onto which the spire (vertical installation rod) can be mounted using a cupola flange.


Cupola Flange
Click To Enlarge

The ideal time to install the rod is when the cupola is being installed. If the weathervane is going onto an existing cupola, you can usually do one of the following:

  • unscrew the roof
  • unscrew one of the louvers
  • come up through the attic for access inside the cupola

If you are in construction now, we can send out the installation hardware as soon as the order has been placed. It can then be installed prior to the roof being sealed off. The sculpture piece and remaining components will follow when completed to slide down over the already installed weathervane installation rod (spire).

Cross section view of Cupola

Cross Section of Cuploa
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IMPORTANT: In order to send you the correct length spire (vertical installation rod), we need to know the internal distance from the cross brace inside the cupola to the peak of the cupola to assure the correct amount of spire sticks out the top of the cupola to receive the vane sculpture and its components. Please see red section of rod in Cross-Section View of Cupola above.

Tools and supplies recommended for installing your weather vane:

  • Drill with a long shanked bit the same diameter as the vane’s spire (vertical installation rod)
  • Level
  • Medium sized Phillips screwdriver
  • Heavy grease (a small tub is included in the price and is sent out with the finished sculpture piece)
  • Roof Caulk
  • Compass

Instructions for installing your weathervane using the Cupola Installation Method:

1. Using your level to determine verticality, drill the appropriate sized hole through the peak of the cupola. The hole size will be determined by measuring the largest diameter of the rod we send you for your weather vane.


Different Diameter Weathervane Spires
( Vertical Installation Rods)
Click image to enlarge

West Coast Weather Vanes offers different diameter installation rods. The diameter selected depends on the following:

  • the weathervane’s size
  • the sculpture piece design
  • the potential for high winds

Relatively heavy sculpture pieces (3-D weather vanes, for example) may require a larger diameter installation rod than their swell bodied or silhouette style counterparts.

Finally, if the weather vane is to be installed in a high wind location, a mountain top or directly along the coast, we can upgrade the weather vane to a bigger diameter rod to help compensate for occasional increased wind load.

2. The vertical rod lowers down inside the cupola until it meets the cross brace (See Cross Section View drawing of Cupola – above). THIS ROD MUST BE PLUMB IN ORDER FOR THE WEATHER VANE SCULPTURE PIECE TO TURN FREELY IN THE WIND (See Figure #2 below). NEVER TUG OR PULL ON SPIRE (vertical installation rod).

(Note: the rod itself does not turn, only the sculpture piece.)

Figure 1: Installed rod sticking up out of cupola
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Figure 2: Using level to make sure rod is plumb
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3. The cupola flange is screwed to the top of the cross brace and receives the base of the vertical rod.


Cupola Flange
Click To Enlarge

4. Tighten the setscrew in the cupola flange to secure the rod firmly in place.
5. Caulk around secured spire (vertical installation rod) to seal the hole.
6. Assemble ring, globes and directionals on spire (vertical installation rod)

Figure 3: Assembling Harness
Click image to enlarge

Overhead view of interlocking directionals
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  • Slide brass ring on spire. Allow it to slide to bottom of rod. Do not tighten yet.
  • Slide on large globe. Allow it to gently slide to the bottom of the rod. Do not tighten yet.
  • Slide on interlocked brass directionals and lower carefully to bottom of rod and rest gently on top of globe without denting. Do not tighten yet. (See photos below for assembly)
  • If rod diameter does not reduce at the top, slide second brass ring to bottom of rod. Do not tighten yet. (Note: If rod does narrow at the top, disregard this step.)
  • Gently slide on smaller copper globe. Note: If installed rod is narrower at the top, your small copper globe will have larger and smaller diameter holes drilled into it. Position globe so large holed end slides on first. The small hole will come to rest where the rod flares out.

Note: Some weathervane designs come with the smaller copper globe attached to the sculpture piece. If this is the case with yours, skip last two steps mentioned above.

7. Coat the section of the spire (vertical installation rod) that will be covered by the vane sculpture piece with grease (Use small tub of grease included with weathervane).

8. Optional Security Device Installation (skip this step if your vane does not have a security device)

Note: The security device is physically attached to the weathervane sculpture piece and must be added at the time the weathervane is being constructed. It cannot be added after the weathervane has shipped.

Double Click to enlarge

Standard Security Device Assembly:

  • Locate security ring in small parts box.
  • Holding the weathervane sculpture piece upside down, dab grease inside mounting tube, push down one pivot ball, then add more grease. Note: The remaining steel ball is a spare in case you drop the first one during the installation.
  • Before sliding the weather vane over the vertical installation rod, back off but don’t remove set screw(s) and align the security ring just below the copper mounting tube that extends down out of the weathervane sculpture piece. Make sure security ring’s arm(s) are positioned around the ring soldered to the bottom of the copper weathervane mounting tube. (See above). Don’t bend arm(s).
  • Hold your finger over the base of the tube containing the steel ball to keep it from falling out and slide the vane over the top of vertical stainless steel installation rod and gently slide sculpture down. Note: If your stainless steel rod is beveled and reduced from ¾” (1.9 cm) to 3/8” (.95 cm) for the top 10” (25 cm), check to see that the vane clears the beveled section of the spire. If it does not, add the second chrome pivot ball and check again.
  • Tighten security device set screw(s).
  • Turn weathervane to see that it is not rubbing on the security ring.

9. Insert ONE steel ball into the mounting tube at the base of the weather vane sculpture piece.

Figure 3: Assembling Harness
Click image to enlarge
(The remaining steel balls are spares in case you drop the first one during the installation.)

Holding your finger over the base of the sculpture piece tube containing the steel ball carefully transfer the vane over the top of spire (vertical installation rod). Then gently slide sculpture down.

Note: If your stainless steel rod reduces from ¾” (1.9 cm) to 3/8” (.95 cm) on the top 10” (25 cm) of your rod, check to see that the vane clears the beveled reducer section of the spire. If not, add a second ball bearing and check again.

10. Now slide harness components detailed in #5 above into place and tighten with a screwdriver. See image below for suggested proportions. Use your compass to orient the brass directional letter N to true north. (Depending on how accurate you want your Directionals to be, please see our Magnetic Declination webpage for details on how to precisely orient the directional letters.)

Correct Harness Assembly & Placement
Directionals are interlocked
Click image to enlarge
Incorrect Harness Assembly & Placement
Directionals are not interlocked
Click image to enlarge