Few additions immediately change a room like natural light. Improving 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 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 homes, a remodeling job might plan to turn a windowless attic into a new living space.
That’s when dormers are helpful. Dormers are small additions commonly used to bring 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 central elements of a loft project. While they may not always include a window, the term "dormer" is usually used to describe a "dormer window."
Typically (but not always) small, dormers can add those few additional square feet of area you need to make your loft exactly how you planned it. Maybe it's a basic doghouse dormer that brings some additional light and a view. Maybe it's a shed dormer that provides extra area for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that enhances your home’s exterior while creating additional space internally. Dormers are a great idea 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 created. While the type of a dormer can often decide what space fits a window, most dormer styles can include any style of window. Here’s a look at the most common dormer styles and the window types ideal for each:
A basic 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 appears as a mini-roof that rises to end in a point at the top. It creates the appearance of a traditional doghouse. Inside the home, 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 specific shape, gabled dormers often need a specialty window or awning window.
Hip Roof Dormer
Found often on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style houses, hip roof dormers are built with 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 home, this style offers better defense against weather.
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, many windows can be placed.
Similar to the doghouse dormer, this style 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 frequently 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 added to shed dormers.
While the shed dormer can bring the most space in a house, the eyebrow dormer is added mainly for decorative purposes or building alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer offers no sides and consists of a curved roof that gives it its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque design styles frequently use eyebrow dormers.
Ideal window type: Eyebrow dormers can vary from house to house, so the type of window will alter to meet the specific look. Custom-designed or curved windows are frequently the suitable choices for this kind of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows bring your home more than just curb appeal. If placing dormers to increase space in your room, make sure to review the same features you would prioritize for when buying other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.
To find out more about the best window for a new dormer or look for a replacement window for your existing dormer, talk to a Pella® professional today!