Few touches immediately influence a room like natural light. Improving natural light does more than just make your home inviting and cozy. It can also improve the selling price of a home.
But what happens when the style of your house makes it harder to bring natural light to all of your rooms? Cape Cod style builds, for example, often don’t have a full second story. In other situations, a remodeling job might aim to turn a windowless attic into a new living room.
That’s where dormers are helpful. Dormers are small additions frequently used to bring usable space in a loft and create window openings in a roof plane. Dormers are often small in total area but can provide additional square footage as one of the central elements of a loft conversion. While they may not always contain a window, the term "dormer" is regularly used to indicate a "dormer window."
Typically (but not always) small, dormers can provide those few additional square feet of area you need to make your loft 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 opens extra space for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that embellishes your home’s outside 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 tend to fall into two common styles, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being added. While the style of a dormer can often dictate what space can hold a window, most dormer styles can include any style of window. Here’s a look at the most recognized dormer styles and the window types best suited 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. Seen on many styles of houses, the front of a gabled dormer appears as a mini-roof that rises to end in a point at the top. It creates the shape of a traditional doghouse. Inside the house, 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 particular shape, gabled dormers often are best suited with a specialty window or awning window.
Hip Roof Dormer
Found commonly on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style buildings, hip roof dormers consist of three converging roof sides with a window in the front. Though 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 frequently found in hip roof dormers, matching the traditional look of the architectural style. Depending on the size of the dormer, many windows can be placed.
Much like the doghouse dormer, this type gets its name from having a shape similar to a garden shed. With a flat roof that slopes forward 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: With the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to add many windows. Casement and double hung windows are frequently found placed in shed dormers.
Where the shed dormer can create the most added area in a house, the eyebrow dormer is used mainly for decorative purposes or building alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer offers no sides and features a curved roof that gives it 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 frequently the ideal choices for this kind of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows bring your home more than just curb appeal. If adding dormers to increase space in your house, make sure to consider the same features you would prioritize for when buying 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, call a Pella® professional today!