Few things immediately influence a room like natural light. Added natural light does more than just make living spaces welcoming and cozy. It can also increase the curb appeal of a home.
But what options do homeowners have when the style of your house makes it more challenging to bring natural light to all of your rooms? Cape Cod style homes, for example, often don’t have a full second story. In other homes, a remodeling job might aim to turn a windowless attic into a new living room.
That’s where dormers are a good solution. Dormers are small additions often used to add usable space in a loft and create window options in a roof plane. Dormers are mostly small in total area but can result in additional square footage as one of the primary elements of a loft project. While they may not always include a window, the term "dormer" is regularly used to refer to a "dormer window."
Typically (but not always) small, dormers can add those few additional square feet of area you need to make your home exactly how you planned 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 space for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that adds style to your home’s exterior while creating additional space indoors. Dormers are a great idea 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 created. While the style of a dormer can often dictate what space fits a window, most dormer styles can use any type of window. Here’s a look at the most common dormer styles and the window types to use for each:
A modest and relatively smaller architectural element from the outside, a doghouse dormer (also known as a gabled dormer) can bring extra light and space inside a loft area. Found on many styles of dwellings, the front of a gabled dormer appears as a mini-roof that rises to form a point at the top. It creates the look of a traditional doghouse. Inside the structure, 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 specific 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 room, this style offers better defense against the elements.
Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are most commonly found in hip roof dormers, pairing with the traditional look of the architectural style. Depending on the size of the dormer, many windows can be placed.
Similar to the doghouse dormer, this type receives its name from having a form similar to a garden shed. With a flat roof that slopes forward at slightly less of an angle than the rest of the house’s roof, shed dormers are commonly found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.
Ideal window type: Due to the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to place many windows. Casement and double hung windows are commonly found placed in shed dormers.
While the shed dormer can bring the most room in a home, the eyebrow dormer is used mainly for decorative purposes or creating alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer offers no sides and features a curved roof that gives the style its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque architectural styles commonly use eyebrow dormers.
Ideal window type: Eyebrow dormers can be unique from house to house, so the type of window will alter to meet the specific look. Custom-designed or curved windows are often the suitable choices for this type of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows bring your home more than just curb appeal. If adding dormers to improve space in your room, make sure to review the same features you would find important for when investing in 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, talk to a Pella® professional today!