Few touches immediately impact a room like natural light. Improving natural light does more than just make rooms 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 more challenging to add natural light to all of your rooms? Cape Cod style homes, 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 area.
That’s when dormers are useful. Dormers are small additions frequently used to increase usable space in a loft and create window options 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 contain a window, the term "dormer" is regularly used to describe a "dormer window."
Typically (but not always) small, dormers can provide those few additional square feet of area you need to make your loft exactly how you want it. Maybe it's a basic 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 exterior while creating additional space internally. Dormers are a great solution for space-challenged areas.
What are the styles?
There are many different types of dormers. American homes mostly fall into two common styles, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being created. While the style of a dormer can often dictate what space fits a window, most dormer styles can include any style of window. Here’s a look at the most frequently used 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 bring extra light and space inside a loft area. Seen on many styles of homes, the front of a gabled dormer looks like a mini-roof that rises to end in a point at the top. It creates the appearance 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 unique shape, gabled dormers often need a specialty window or awning window.
Hip Roof Dormer
Found frequently 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 decrease some of the space inside the room, this style brings better defense against weather.
Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are frequently found in hip roof dormers, reflecting the traditional look of the home’s style. Depending on the size of the dormer, multiple windows can be placed.
Much like the doghouse dormer, this dormer takes its name from having a shape 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 commonly found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.
Ideal window type: Due to the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to place numerous windows. Casement and double hung windows are often found installed on shed dormers.
Where the shed dormer can create the most room in a house, the eyebrow dormer is used mainly for decorative purposes or developing 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 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 look. Custom-designed or curved windows are often the best choices for this kind of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows provide your home more than just curb appeal. If planning dormers to increase space in your house, make sure to consider the same features you would identify for when buying other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.
To find out more about the perfect window for a new dormer or consider a replacement window for your existing dormer, talk to a Pella® professional today!