What is a Cheneau?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2019
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A cheneau is a kind of gutter-eave ornamental structure. In some cases, the cheneau refers only to the piece of cornice, or exterior top molding, that supports a gutter spout. In other cases, the word is used for a piece that includes part of the gutter structure tied into the cornice.

A cornice is an exterior molding or other linear design that runs along a building. Classic architecture includes various types of cornice including a wall cornice or cornicione that runs along a wall. An “eave-cornice” runs under the eave of a roof, and this is the type of structure that typically includes a cheneau. Cornice design is also sometimes used in a pediment, a structure under a gable.

The kinds of structures that architects refer to as cheneaus are often more ornamental than what would typically be included in modern American design. In the twentieth century, decorative items like the cheneau gave way to a more spare design built for functionality. The cheneau does combine function with style, but the elaborate kinds of cheneau images that Web users can find in online dictionaries are overwhelmingly dated, and the products of a historic building style. Some kinds of roof designs will still include cheneaus, but the ancient practice, for example, of building human or animal likenesses into these decorative items is a rare practice in modern architecture.


Looking at the various styles of cheneaus on historic homes does give modern property owners some ideas for making a newer home look authentically classic. Even if the property owner doesn’t choose to include a classic cheneau, the gutter and eave styles are instructive for a specialized kind of architectural design. Learning more about these classic building terms can give a property owner more inspiration in terms of the options that he or she will use to make a house or other building look unique and interesting to visitors. In terms of choosing designs for gutters and spouts, it always helps to include attention to the materials that will be used for these systems, so that the designs chosen will complement the natural advantages of different materials like copper, aluminum, or other conduit options.


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