Few touches immediately impact a room like natural light. Increasing natural light does more than just make living spaces warm and cozy. It can also improve the curb appeal of a home.
But what happens when the style of your house makes it harder 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 space.
That’s why dormers are helpful. Dormers are small additions frequently 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 contain a window, the term "dormer" is commonly used to describe a "dormer window."
Typically (but not always) small, dormers can provide those few additional square feet of freedom you need to make your room exactly how you envision 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 area for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that embellishes 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 often fall into two common styles, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being created. While the shape of a dormer can often dictate what space can hold a window, most dormer styles can include any type 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 bring extra light and space inside a loft area. Found on many styles of homes, the front of a gabled dormer looks like a mini-roof that rises to end in a point at the top. It creates the shape 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 particular shape, gabled dormers often are best suited with a specialty window or awning window.
Hip Roof Dormer
Found often 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 take away some of the space inside the room, this style brings better defense against high winds.
Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are frequently found in hip roof dormers, pairing with the traditional look of the home’s style. Depending on the size of the dormer, multiple windows can be added.
Much like the doghouse dormer, this type takes its name from having a look 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 commonly found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.
Ideal window type: Because of the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to add multiple windows. Casement and double hung windows are frequently found installed on shed dormers.
While the shed dormer can add the most room in a home, the eyebrow dormer is added mainly for decorative purposes or developing alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer provides no sides and features 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 be unique 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 style of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows bring your home more than just curb appeal. If placing dormers to increase space in your home, 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 learn more about the best window for a new dormer or look for a replacement window for your existing dormer, get in touch with a Pella® professional today!