Few touches immediately change a room like natural light. Increasing natural light does more than just make living spaces inviting and cozy. It can also increase the curb appeal of a home.
But what options do homeowners have when the style of your house makes it harder to bring 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 plan to turn a windowless attic into a new living space.
That’s when dormers are a good solution. Dormers are small additions often 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 result in additional square footage as one of the primary elements of a loft project. While they may not always feature a window, the term "dormer" is commonly used to refer to a "dormer window."
Typically (but not always) small, dormers can provide those few additional square feet of freedom you need to make your room 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 opens extra room for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that adds style to your home’s curb appeal while creating additional space inside. Dormers are a great solution for space-challenged areas.
What are the styles?
There are many different variations of dormers. American homes mostly 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 decide what space is available for a window, most dormer styles can handle any style of window. Here’s a look at the most recognized dormer styles and the window types ideal for each:
A simple and relatively small 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 dwellings, the front of a gabled dormer can be identified by a mini-roof that rises to create a point at the top. It creates the look of a traditional doghouse. Inside the house, a doghouse dormer can offer 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 are best suited with a specialty window or awning window.
Hip Roof Dormer
Found commonly on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style homes, hip roof dormers are made of three converging roof sides with a window in the front. Although the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer take away some of the space inside the house, this style brings better defense against the elements.
Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are often found in hip roof dormers, reflecting the traditional look of the house’s style. Depending on the size of the dormer, multiple windows can be added.
Similar to the doghouse dormer, this style takes 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 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 multiple windows. Casement and double hung windows are often found added to shed dormers.
Though the shed dormer can add the most added area in a living space, the eyebrow dormer is added mainly for decorative purposes or developing alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer provides no sides and consists of a curved roof that gives it its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque architectural 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 style. Custom-designed or curved windows are often the ideal choices for this kind of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows offer your home more than just curb appeal. If planning dormers to improve space in your home, make sure to consider the same features you would prioritize for when purchasing other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.
To discover more about the right window for a new dormer or find a replacement window for your existing dormer, call a Pella® professional today!