Few things immediately change a room like natural light. Improving natural light does more than just make your home welcoming and cozy. It can also improve the curb appeal of a home.
But what options do homeowners have when the style of your house makes it difficult to add natural light to all of your rooms? Cape Cod style houses, for example, often don’t have a full second story. In other cases, a remodeling job might plan to turn a windowless attic into a new living space.
That’s where dormers are useful. Dormers are small additions often used to bring usable space in a loft and create window options 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 usually used to refer to a "dormer window."
Typically (but not always) small, dormers can create those few additional square feet of area you need to make your home exactly how you planned it. Maybe it's a simple doghouse dormer that brings some additional light and a view. Maybe it's a shed dormer that creates extra space for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that adds style to your home’s outside while creating additional space internally. Dormers are a great solution for space-challenged areas.
What are the styles?
There are many different variations of dormers. American homes often fall into two common styles, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being built. While the style of a dormer can often decide what space fits a window, most dormer styles can use any style of window. Here’s a look at the most frequently used dormer styles and the window types ideal for each:
A modest and relatively minor architectural element from the outside, a doghouse dormer (also known as a gabled dormer) can add extra light and space inside a loft area. Common on many styles of houses, the front of a gabled dormer can be identified by a mini-roof that rises to end in a point at the top. It creates the look of a traditional doghouse. Inside the house, a doghouse dormer can create additional functionality, such as a space suited 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 commonly on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style houses, hip roof dormers are built with three converging roof sides with a window in the front. While the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer take away some of the space inside the house, this style provides better defense against weather.
Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are often found in hip roof dormers, pairing with the traditional look of the architectural style. Depending on the size of the dormer, numerous windows can be placed.
Just as with the doghouse dormer, this style gets its name from having a form similar to a garden shed. With a flat roof that slopes down at slightly less of an angle than the rest of the house’s roof, shed dormers are frequently found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.
Ideal window type: With the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to place numerous windows. Casement and double hung windows are commonly found installed on shed dormers.
Though the shed dormer can bring the most added area in a house, the eyebrow dormer is used mainly for decorative purposes or creating alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer has no sides and features a curved roof that gives this dormer its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque design styles commonly use eyebrow dormers.
Ideal window type: Eyebrow dormers can vary from house to house, so the type of window will alter to meet the specific needs. Custom-designed or curved windows are frequently the ideal choices for this kind of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows offer your home more than just curb appeal. If placing dormers to increase space in your house, make sure to consider the same features you would identify for when purchasing other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.
To learn more about the best window for a new dormer or look for a replacement window for your existing dormer, call a Pella® professional today!