Few touches immediately change a room like natural light. Improving natural light does more than just make your home inviting and cozy. It can also increase the curb appeal of a home.
But what can you do when the style of your house makes it difficult to get natural light to all of your rooms? Cape Cod style builds, 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 area.
That’s where dormers are useful. Dormers are small additions frequently used to increase usable space in a loft and create window space in a roof plane. Dormers are often small in total area but can provide additional square footage as one of the primary elements of a loft remodel. While they may not always contain a window, the term "dormer" is usually used to describe a "dormer window."
Typically (but not always) small, dormers can create those few additional square feet of area you need to make your room exactly how you want it. Maybe it's a simple doghouse dormer that brings some additional light and a view. Maybe it's a shed dormer that provides extra space for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that enhances your home’s exterior while creating additional space indoors. Dormers are a great solution for space-challenged areas.
What are the styles?
There are many different variations of dormers. American homes mostly fall into two common designs, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being added. While the shape of a dormer can often decide what space is available for a window, most dormer styles can handle any style of window. Here’s a look at the most recognized 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 bring extra light and space inside a loft area. Seen on many styles of houses, the front of a gabled dormer can be identified by a mini-roof that rises to create 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 right for a built-in seat or storage.
Ideal window type: Due to their specific shape, gabled dormers often are best suited with a specialty window or awning window.
Hip Roof Dormer
Found frequently on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style houses, hip roof dormers are made of three converging roof sides with a window in the front. Though the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer impact some of the space inside the house, this style provides 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 added.
Much like the doghouse dormer, this style receives 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 building’s roof, shed dormers are often found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.
Ideal window type: Because of the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to place numerous windows. Casement and double hung windows are frequently found added to shed dormers.
While the shed dormer can add the most added area in a house, the eyebrow dormer is used mainly for decorative purposes or developing alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer has no sides and consists of a curved roof that gives this dormer its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque home styles commonly add 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 style. Custom-designed or curved windows are often the best choices for this kind of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows offer your home more than just curb appeal. If planning dormers to add space in your home, make sure to look at the same features you would prioritize for when investing in other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.
To learn more about the right window for a new dormer or find a replacement window for your existing dormer, talk to a Pella® professional today!