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Finding the Right Window for Your Home's Dormer

Finding the Right Window for Your Home's Dormer

Few additions immediately impact a room like natural light. Added natural light does more than just make rooms warm and cozy. It can also improve the resale value of a home.

But what can you do when the style of your house makes it difficult 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 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 often 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 main 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 create those few additional square feet of area 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 space for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that adds style to your home’s curb appeal while creating additional space inside. Dormers are a great solution for space-challenged areas.

What are the styles?

There are many different variations of dormers. American homes tend to fall into two common designs, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being created. While the shape of a dormer can often decide what space can hold a window, most dormer styles can handle any style of window. Here’s a look at the most common dormer styles and the window types ideal for each:

Gabled/Doghouse Dormer

A basic and relatively small architectural element from the outside, a doghouse dormer (also known as a gabled dormer) can bring 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 homes, hip roof dormers are built with three converging roof sides with a window in the front. While 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 often found in hip roof dormers, reflecting the traditional look of the house’s style. Depending on the size of the dormer, numerous windows can be installed.

Shed Dormer

Much like the doghouse dormer, this dormer gets 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 house’s roof, shed dormers are often 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 installed on shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

Where the shed dormer can create the most space in a living space, the eyebrow dormer is used 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 home styles often use eyebrow dormers.

Ideal window type: Eyebrow dormers can vary from house to house, so the type of window will alter to meet the specific look. Custom-designed or curved windows are commonly the suitable choices for this type of dormer.

Dormer additions and dormer windows provide your home more than just curb appeal. If adding dormers to increase space in your room, make sure to look at the same features you would identify 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 consider a replacement window for your existing dormer, talk to a Pella® professional today!

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