Few touches immediately influence a room like natural light. Increasing natural light does more than just make living spaces inviting and cozy. It can also impact the selling price 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 aim to turn a windowless attic into a new living area.
That’s when dormers are a good solution. Dormers are small additions frequently used to bring usable space in a loft and create window openings in a roof plane. Dormers are mostly small in total area but can create additional square footage as one of the central 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 add those few additional square feet of space you need to make your room exactly how you want it. Maybe it's a simple doghouse dormer that brings some additional light and a view. Maybe it's a shed dormer that provides extra room for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that embellishes your home’s exterior while creating additional space internally. Dormers are a great remedy 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 built. While the style of a dormer can often dictate what space fits a window, most dormer styles can use any design of window. Here’s a look at the most recognized dormer styles and the window types to use for each:
A simple and relatively small architectural element from the outside, a doghouse dormer (also known as a gabled dormer) can offer extra light and space inside a loft area. Common on many styles of houses, the front of a gabled dormer looks like a mini-roof that rises to form a point at the top. It creates the look 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 are made of three converging roof sides with a window in the front. While the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer take away some of the space inside the home, this style offers better defense against weather.
Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are often found in hip roof dormers, matching the traditional look of the home’s style. Depending on the size of the dormer, numerous windows can be added.
Just as with the doghouse dormer, this dormer takes 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: Because of the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to add many windows. Casement and double hung windows are commonly found added to shed dormers.
Where the shed dormer can create the most room in a house, the eyebrow dormer is used mainly for decorative purposes or creating alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer has no sides and features a curved roof that gives this dormer its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque architectural styles frequently 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 suitable choices for this kind of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows provide your home more than just curb appeal. If placing dormers to improve space in your house, make sure to consider the same features you would prioritize for when investing in 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!