Few things immediately change a room like natural light. Added natural light does more than just make your home warm 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 more challenging 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 homes, a remodeling job might plan to turn a windowless attic into a new living space.
That’s when dormers are useful. Dormers are small additions frequently used to increase usable space in a loft and create window openings in a roof plane. Dormers are usually small in total area but can provide additional square footage as one of the main elements of a loft conversion. While they may not always feature a window, the term "dormer" is regularly used to refer to a "dormer window."
Typically (but not always) small, dormers can create those few additional square feet of space you need to make your room 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 provides extra room for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that adds style to your home’s curb appeal while creating additional space inside. Dormers are a great remedy for space-challenged areas.
What are the styles?
There are many different types of dormers. American homes tend to fall into two common designs, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being built. While the type of a dormer can often determine what space can hold a window, most dormer styles can include any type of window. Here’s a look at the most recognized dormer styles and the window types best suited 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. Found on many styles of homes, the front of a gabled dormer appears as a mini-roof that rises to create a point at the top. It creates the shape of a traditional doghouse. Inside the home, 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 need a specialty window or awning window.
Hip Roof Dormer
Found frequently on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style buildings, 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 room, 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.
Similar to the doghouse dormer, this style gets its name from having a form similar to a garden shed. With a flat roof that slopes downward at slightly less of an angle than the rest of the home’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 add numerous windows. Casement and double hung windows are often found placed in shed dormers.
While the shed dormer can bring the most added area in a home, the eyebrow dormer is built mainly for decorative purposes or building alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer offers no sides and is highlighted by a curved roof that gives the style its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque home styles frequently feature 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 often the best choices for this style of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows offer your home more than just curb appeal. If adding dormers to increase space in your house, make sure to look at the same features you would identify for when purchasing other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.
To discover more about the perfect window for a new dormer or look for a replacement window for your existing dormer, talk to a Pella® professional today!