Few touches immediately impact a room like natural light. Added natural light does more than just make living spaces welcoming and cozy. It can also impact the curb appeal of a home.
But what happens when the style of your house makes it harder to get natural light to all of your rooms? Cape Cod style homes, for example, often don’t have a full second story. In other situations, a remodeling job might aim to turn a windowless attic into a new living area.
That’s where dormers are helpful. 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 remodel. While they may not always include a window, the term "dormer" is commonly used to indicate a "dormer window."
Typically (but not always) small, dormers can provide those few additional square feet of area you need to make your room 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 opens extra space for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that embellishes your home’s outside while creating additional space inside. Dormers are a great idea for space-challenged areas.
What are the styles?
There are many different variations of dormers. American homes mostly fall into two common designs, 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 to use for each:
A simple 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. Seen on many styles of homes, the front of a gabled dormer appears as a mini-roof that rises to form a point at the top. It creates the appearance of a traditional doghouse. Inside the house, a doghouse dormer can bring additional functionality, such as a space right 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 commonly on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style houses, hip roof dormers are made of three converging roof sides with a window in the front. Though the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer impact some of the space inside the room, this style brings better defense against the elements.
Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are most commonly found in hip roof dormers, pairing with the traditional look of the house’s style. Depending on the size of the dormer, multiple windows can be placed.
Just as with the doghouse dormer, this type gets its name from having a form 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 placed in shed dormers.
While the shed dormer can bring the most room in a living space, the eyebrow dormer is built mainly for decorative purposes or creating alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer has no sides and is highlighted by a curved roof that gives the style its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque architectural styles frequently add 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 commonly the suitable choices for this style of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows bring your home more than just curb appeal. If placing dormers to add space in your house, make sure to review the same features you would find important for when purchasing other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.
To find out 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!