Few things immediately change a room like natural light. Improving natural light does more than just make living spaces inviting and cozy. It can also improve the curb appeal of a home.
But what can you do 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 look to turn a windowless attic into a new living room.
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 create additional square footage as one of the central elements of a loft remodel. While they may not always feature a window, the term "dormer" is usually used to describe a "dormer window."
Typically (but not always) small, dormers can create those few additional square feet of freedom you need to make your home exactly how you planned it. Maybe it's a simple doghouse dormer that brings some additional light and a view. Maybe it's a shed dormer that creates 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 remedy for space-challenged areas.
What are the styles?
There are many different types of dormers. American homes mostly fall into two common types, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being built. While the style of a dormer can often decide what space can hold a window, most dormer styles can handle any design of window. Here’s a look at the most common dormer styles and the window types ideal for each:
A modest and relatively smaller architectural element from the outside, a doghouse dormer (also known as a gabled dormer) can offer extra light and space inside a loft area. Seen on many styles of houses, 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 appearance of a traditional doghouse. Inside the structure, 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 specific shape, gabled dormers often require a specialty window or awning window.
Hip Roof Dormer
Found commonly on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style homes, 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 high winds.
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 installed.
Just as with the doghouse dormer, this style takes 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 home’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 add multiple windows. Casement and double hung windows are often found installed on shed dormers.
Though the shed dormer can add the most space in a living space, the eyebrow dormer is built mainly for decorative purposes or developing alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer provides no sides and features a curved roof that gives the style its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque architectural styles commonly feature eyebrow dormers.
Ideal window type: Eyebrow dormers can vary from house to house, so the type of window will alter to meet the specific needs. Custom-designed or curved windows are commonly the ideal choices for this style of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows bring your home more than just curb appeal. If planning dormers to increase space in your room, make sure to consider the same features you would identify for when purchasing other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.
To learn more about the best window for a new dormer or find a replacement window for your existing dormer, get in touch with a Pella® professional today!