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What Is a Turret On a House?

What Is a Turret On a House?

Different houses have different architectural features. What is a turret on a house? Is it different from a tower?

A turret is a part of a house that looks like a tower but doesn’t go all the way down to the ground. Turrets are common on medieval castles and Victorian houses. 

Read on to learn more about turrets on homes and if they might be a good fit for you!

What is a Turret on a House? 

A turret is a small tower-like structure attached to a building. Many people think of turrets as towers, like on medieval castles. However, many houses with decorative turrets were built much more recently. 

Many older and larger homes in Britain and the United States have turrets. Turrets on castles are made of stone, and turrets on houses are usually wood or brick

Turrets Were Originally Defensive 

Turrets were originally defensive structures that were part of stone forts and castles. A turret lets you see people from a long way away, farther than from the top of the wall. A turret was a safe place to look out of the castle. 

Turrets Were Originally Defensive 

Turrets were also useful in castle sieges. You could shoot arrows out of the small slits in a turret while being reasonably safe from enemy missiles.

If someone shot an arrow at a turret, it would quite likely not go through one of the small slits. 

Turrets stopped being useful in wars when castles stopped being useful in wars. As cannons became more common and powerful, stone walls and towers stopped being effective.

However, many castles with turrets are still standing today. 

Are Turrets the Same as Towers?

Turrets are not the same as towers and are not a type of tower. A tower goes all the way to the ground. 

A turret, on the other hand, is supported by the walls of the castle or house. Special architectural techniques are used to make sure the turret won’t collapse. 

Many Turrets Were Renovated

After turrets were no longer militarily useful, they were often changed to ordinary rooms. Sometimes, the narrow arrow slits were replaced by large windows. 

However, large changes were not always possible. You could not do too much damage to the structure of a turret without making it collapse.

Architectural design requires giving turrets a lot of support, or they will fall off the building. 

Turrets for Decoration

By the 1800s, turrets had long ago stopped being built as defensive structures. However, they made a comeback in that century. Many Victorian homes and other buildings have turrets for decorative purposes. 

Turrets were popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Queen Anne revival style was a popular late Victorian and Edwardian architectural style that often included turrets.

The style began in Britain and quickly spread to the United States. 

When many people think of Victorian architecture, they think of the Queen Anne revival style. The style was for the rich, who often used turrets to make their homes look somewhat like castles.

Turrets are of different shapes – round, octagons, hexagons, or square. 

What is the Definition of a Turret

Modern Decorative Turrets

Modern turrets do more than look great from the outside. Turrets were originally lookout posts, and a lot of turrets on Victorian or later homes work the same way.

A turret is often a circular room with lots of windows, where you can look outside in any direction. 

Depending on your location, this can be a spectacular view. Even if you can only look around your neighborhood from a turret, it is still good to have a circular room with windows where you can see in any direction. 

Octagon-Shaped Turrets

Many wooden turrets are octagon-shaped because it is not easy to build circular turrets using wooden frames. Octagon-shaped turrets are much less complicated to build.

You can make an octagon-framed turret look reasonably circular if you prefer a circular look. 

Small to Elaborate Turrets

With enough money, you can build very large and elaborate decorative turrets. For example, there could be an actual tower surrounded by smaller turrets. A rich person can make their house stand out by adding turrets and towers.

A turret might also be found on a relatively ordinary home. There might be a small turret at the side of a home that you can look out of. A small turret in the right spot can make an otherwise ordinary house look impressive. 

Turrets and Balconies

Some balconies are partly enclosed by turrets, sheltering them from the weather. This can prevent weather-related damage and make the balcony usable when there is wind or rain. 

Do Turrets Need Maintenance?

Just like other parts of your house, turrets cost money to maintain. If you are planning to add a turret to your home, consider the cost of maintenance. 

Key Takeaways to Turrets on Houses

Turrets are decorative tower-like structures on houses. In medieval times, turrets were defensive. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many houses were built with decorative turrets.

Turrets are not the same as towers. Turrets are supported by the walls of the building, while towers go all the way to the ground. 

There are still many homes in Britain and the United States that have decorative turrets. In Europe, especially Britain and France, there are lots of castles with defensive turrets.

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.