Few touches immediately impact a room like natural light. Added natural light does more than just make rooms inviting and cozy. It can also impact the curb appeal of a home.
But what options do homeowners have when the style of your house makes it difficult 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 cases, a remodeling job might plan to turn a windowless attic into a new living space.
That’s when dormers are a good solution. Dormers are small additions frequently used to add 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 conversion. While they may not always include 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 home exactly how you planned it. Maybe it's a modest doghouse dormer that brings some additional light and a view. Maybe it's a shed dormer that opens extra area 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 often fall into two common types, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being created. While the shape of a dormer can often dictate what space fits a window, most dormer styles can include any design of window. Here’s a look at the most frequently used 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. Common on many styles of houses, the front of a gabled dormer appears as a mini-roof that rises to create a point at the top. It creates the appearance of a traditional doghouse. Inside the house, a doghouse dormer can bring 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. Although the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer impact some of the space inside the house, this style brings better defense against the elements.
Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are frequently 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 style receives 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 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 install numerous windows. Casement and double hung windows are often found added to shed dormers.
Where the shed dormer can bring the most room in a home, the eyebrow dormer is used mainly for decorative purposes or creating alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer provides no sides and features a curved roof that gives it its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque architectural styles commonly use 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 look. Custom-designed or curved windows are commonly the best choices for this type of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows provide your home more than just curb appeal. If placing dormers to add space in your home, make sure to review the same features you would find important for when buying other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.
To discover more about the best window for a new dormer or find a replacement window for your existing dormer, talk to a Pella® professional today!