Few things immediately impact a room like natural light. Increasing natural light does more than just make rooms warm and cozy. It can also improve the curb appeal of a home.
But what can you do when the style of your house makes it more challenging 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 cases, a remodeling job might aim to turn a windowless attic into a new living space.
That’s where dormers are a good solution. Dormers are small additions often used to increase 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 main elements of a loft project. While they may not always include a window, the term "dormer" is commonly used to refer to a "dormer window."
Typically (but not always) small, dormers can create those few additional square feet of area you need to make your loft 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 provides extra space 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 solution 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 fits a window, most dormer styles can include any type of window. Here’s a look at the most common dormer styles and the window types ideal for each:
A simple 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 homes, the front of a gabled dormer appears as a mini-roof that rises to end in a point at the top. It creates the look of a traditional doghouse. Inside the home, a doghouse dormer can create additional functionality, such as a space ideal for a built-in seat or storage.
Ideal window type: Due to their specific shape, gabled dormers often require a specialty window or awning window.
Hip Roof Dormer
Found often on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style buildings, hip roof dormers consist of three converging roof sides with a window in the front. While the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer decrease some of the space inside the home, this style provides better defense against high winds.
Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are often 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.
Just as with the doghouse dormer, this type receives its name from having a form similar to a garden shed. With a flat roof that slopes down 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 multiple windows. Casement and double hung windows are commonly found added to shed dormers.
Though the shed dormer can add the most space in a living space, 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 this dormer its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque design styles commonly feature eyebrow dormers.
Ideal window type: Eyebrow dormers can differ from house to house, so the type of window will alter to meet the specific look. 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 planning dormers to increase space in your room, make sure to look at the same features you would find important for when investing in other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.
To learn more about the right window for a new dormer or look for a replacement window for your existing dormer, get in touch with a Pella® professional today!