Few additions immediately change a room like natural light. Added natural light does more than just make living spaces warm and cozy. It can also impact 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 houses, for example, often don’t have a full second story. In other homes, a remodeling job might look to turn a windowless attic into a new living space.
That’s when dormers are helpful. Dormers are small additions commonly used to increase usable space in a loft and create window options in a roof plane. Dormers are usually small in total area but can provide additional square footage as one of the primary 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 add those few additional square feet of freedom you need to make your home exactly how you want it. Maybe it's a modest 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 exterior while creating additional space inside. Dormers are a great idea for space-challenged areas.
What are the styles?
There are many different types of dormers. American homes tend to fall into two common styles, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being added. While the shape of a dormer can often determine what space can hold a window, most dormer styles can use any type of window. Here’s a look at the most frequently used 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 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 shape of a traditional doghouse. Inside the home, a doghouse dormer can bring additional functionality, such as a space ideal for a built-in seat or storage.
Ideal window type: Due to their particular shape, gabled dormers often require 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 home, this style offers better defense against high winds.
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, numerous windows can be installed.
Much like the doghouse dormer, this dormer takes its name from having a look 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 frequently found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.
Ideal window type: With the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to install multiple windows. Casement and double hung windows are frequently found added to shed dormers.
Though the shed dormer can add the most room in a home, the eyebrow dormer is used mainly for decorative purposes or building alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer provides no sides and is highlighted by 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 differ from house to house, so the type of window will alter to meet the specific style. Custom-designed or curved windows are frequently 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 house, make sure to look at the same features you would identify 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 find a replacement window for your existing dormer, call a Pella® professional today!