Few additions immediately impact a room like natural light. Added natural light does more than just make rooms welcoming and cozy. It can also improve the selling price of a home.
But what happens when the style of your house makes it more challenging 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 situations, a remodeling job might look to turn a windowless attic into a new living space.
That’s when dormers are useful. 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 provide additional square footage as one of the central elements of a loft project. While they may not always include 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 envision it. Maybe it's a basic doghouse dormer that brings some additional light and a view. Maybe it's a shed dormer that creates extra space 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 idea for space-challenged areas.
What are the styles?
There are many different variations of dormers. American homes often fall into two common designs, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being built. While the shape of a dormer can often decide what space is available for a window, most dormer styles can handle any type of window. Here’s a look at the most common dormer styles and the window types ideal 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. Found on many styles of houses, the front of a gabled dormer looks like a mini-roof that rises to create 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 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 often on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style houses, 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 decrease some of the space inside the home, this style provides better defense against weather.
Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are most commonly found in hip roof dormers, reflecting the traditional look of the architectural style. Depending on the size of the dormer, many windows can be placed.
Similar to the doghouse dormer, this style gets 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 building’s roof, shed dormers are frequently found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.
Ideal window type: Due to the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to add many windows. Casement and double hung windows are often found added to 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 creating alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer offers no sides and features a curved roof that gives it its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque architectural styles often 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 needs. Custom-designed or curved windows are often the suitable choices for this kind of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows provide your home more than just curb appeal. If adding dormers to add space in your room, 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 learn more about the best window for a new dormer or look for a replacement window for your existing dormer, get in touch with a Pella® professional today!