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 curb appeal of a home.
But what options do homeowners have when the style of your house makes it difficult to add 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 room.
That’s when dormers are a good solution. Dormers are small additions frequently used to increase usable space in a loft and create window options in a roof plane. Dormers are often small in total area but can provide additional square footage as one of the central elements of a loft conversion. While they may not always include a window, the term "dormer" is commonly used to describe 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 want it. Maybe it's a simple 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 adds style to 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 styles of dormers. American homes mostly fall into two common styles, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being created. While the shape of a dormer can often dictate what space fits a window, most dormer styles can use 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 minor 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 create additional functionality, such as a space ideal for a built-in seat or storage.
Ideal window type: Due to their particular shape, gabled dormers often need a specialty window or awning window.
Hip Roof Dormer
Found often on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style houses, hip roof dormers consist of three converging roof sides with a window in the front. While the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer take away some of the space inside the house, this style brings better defense against high winds.
Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are often found in hip roof dormers, pairing with the traditional look of the architectural style. Depending on the size of the dormer, many windows can be placed.
Just as with the doghouse dormer, this style takes its name from having a look similar to a garden shed. With a flat roof that slopes downward at slightly less of an angle than the rest of the house’s roof, shed dormers are frequently found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.
Ideal window type: With the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to add many windows. Casement and double hung windows are frequently found installed on shed dormers.
While the shed dormer can create the most added area in a home, the eyebrow dormer is used mainly for decorative purposes or developing alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer offers no sides and is highlighted by a curved roof that gives the style its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque home styles frequently add eyebrow dormers.
Ideal window type: Eyebrow dormers can be unique from house to house, so the type of window will alter to meet the specific look. Custom-designed or curved windows are frequently the suitable choices for this type of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows bring your home more than just curb appeal. If planning dormers to add space in your house, make sure to look at the same features you would prioritize for when investing in other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.
To discover more about the perfect window for a new dormer or find a replacement window for your existing dormer, call a Pella® professional today!