Few additions immediately change a room like natural light. Added natural light does more than just make rooms 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 more challenging to bring natural light to all of your rooms? Cape Cod style homes, for example, often don’t have a full second story. In other cases, a remodeling job might plan to turn a windowless attic into a new living space.
That’s why dormers are useful. Dormers are small additions commonly used to bring usable space in a loft and create window space in a roof plane. Dormers are usually small in total area but can result in additional square footage as one of the primary elements of a loft remodel. While they may not always feature a window, the term "dormer" is usually 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 planned it. Maybe it's a modest doghouse dormer that brings some additional light and a view. Maybe it's a shed dormer that creates extra room for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that embellishes your home’s curb appeal while creating additional space indoors. Dormers are a great solution 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 created. While the style of a dormer can often decide what space can hold 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 small architectural element from the outside, a doghouse dormer (also known as a gabled dormer) can add 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 end in a point at the top. It creates the shape of a traditional doghouse. Inside the home, a doghouse dormer can offer 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 frequently on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style houses, hip roof dormers are built with three converging roof sides with a window in the front. Though the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer decrease some of the space inside the home, this style provides better defense against high winds.
Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are frequently found in hip roof dormers, matching the traditional look of the house’s style. Depending on the size of the dormer, numerous windows can be added.
Much like the doghouse dormer, this dormer takes its name from having a look similar to a garden shed. With a flat roof that slopes down 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 many windows. Casement and double hung windows are frequently found placed in shed dormers.
While the shed dormer can create the most room in a living space, the eyebrow dormer is added mainly for decorative purposes or creating alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer has no sides and consists of a curved roof that gives the style 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 often the suitable choices for this style of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows provide your home more than just curb appeal. If placing dormers to add space in your room, make sure to look at the same features you would find important for when buying other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.
To learn more about the perfect window for a new dormer or look for a replacement window for your existing dormer, get in touch with a Pella® professional today!