Few touches immediately impact a room like natural light. Added natural light does more than just make rooms warm and cozy. It can also increase the curb appeal of a home.
But what happens when the style of your house makes it difficult to bring natural light to all of your rooms? Cape Cod style houses, for example, often don’t have a full second story. In other situations, a remodeling job might look to turn a windowless attic into a new living area.
That’s when dormers are a good solution. Dormers are small additions often used to add usable space in a loft and create window openings in a roof plane. Dormers are mostly small in total area but can provide additional square footage as one of the central elements of a loft project. While they may not always feature a window, the term "dormer" is commonly used to indicate a "dormer window."
Typically (but not always) small, dormers can add those few additional square feet of area you need to make your loft exactly how you want it. Maybe it's a basic doghouse dormer that brings some additional light and a view. Maybe it's a shed dormer that opens extra room for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that adds style to your home’s outside while creating additional space indoors. Dormers are a great remedy for space-challenged areas.
What are the styles?
There are many different styles of dormers. American homes mostly fall into two common types, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being built. While the type of a dormer can often determine what space is available for a window, most dormer styles can use any type of window. Here’s a look at the most recognized dormer styles and the window types ideal for each:
A basic and relatively small architectural element from the outside, a doghouse dormer (also known as a gabled dormer) can offer extra light and space inside a loft area. Found on many styles of homes, the front of a gabled dormer can be identified by a mini-roof that rises to form a point at the top. It creates the appearance of a traditional doghouse. Inside the home, a doghouse dormer can offer additional functionality, such as a space right for a built-in seat or storage.
Ideal window type: Due to their unique shape, gabled dormers often require a specialty window or awning window.
Hip Roof Dormer
Found frequently on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style homes, hip roof dormers are made of three converging roof sides with a window in the front. Although the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer decrease some of the space inside the house, this style brings better defense against high winds.
Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are frequently found in hip roof dormers, matching the traditional look of the architectural style. Depending on the size of the dormer, many windows can be installed.
Much like the doghouse dormer, this dormer gets its name from having a shape similar to a garden shed. With a flat roof that slopes down at slightly less of an angle than the rest of the building’s roof, shed dormers are often found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.
Ideal window type: Due to the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to add many windows. Casement and double hung windows are often found added to shed dormers.
Where the shed dormer can add the most added area in a house, the eyebrow dormer is built mainly for decorative purposes or creating alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer offers no sides and is highlighted by a curved roof that gives this dormer its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque design styles often add eyebrow dormers.
Ideal window type: Eyebrow dormers can vary from house to house, so the type of window will alter to meet the specific look. Custom-designed or curved windows are commonly the ideal choices for this kind of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows offer your home more than just curb appeal. If planning dormers to increase space in your home, make sure to review the same features you would prioritize for when purchasing other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.
To discover more about the best window for a new dormer or consider a replacement window for your existing dormer, talk to a Pella® professional today!