Few things immediately influence a room like natural light. Added natural light does more than just make your home welcoming and cozy. It can also increase the curb appeal of a home.
But what options do homeowners have when the style of your house makes it harder to get natural light to all of your rooms? Cape Cod style houses, for example, often don’t have a full second story. In other homes, a remodeling job might aim to turn a windowless attic into a new living area.
That’s why dormers are helpful. Dormers are small additions frequently used to add 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 primary elements of a loft remodel. While they may not always include a window, the term "dormer" is usually used to indicate a "dormer window."
Typically (but not always) small, dormers can create those few additional square feet of space you need to make your home exactly how you want it. Maybe it's a modest doghouse dormer that brings some additional light and a view. Maybe it's a shed dormer that provides extra room for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that adds style to your home’s curb appeal while creating additional space internally. Dormers are a great remedy 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 built. While the shape of a dormer can often decide what space can hold a window, most dormer styles can handle any type of window. Here’s a look at the most frequently used dormer styles and the window types to use for each:
A modest and relatively smaller architectural element from the outside, a doghouse dormer (also known as a gabled dormer) can bring extra light and space inside a loft area. Found on many styles of dwellings, the front of a gabled dormer looks like a mini-roof that rises to form a point at the top. It creates the appearance of a traditional doghouse. Inside the house, a doghouse dormer can create additional functionality, such as a space right 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 frequently on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style buildings, 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 room, this style offers better defense against the elements.
Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are most commonly found in hip roof dormers, reflecting the traditional look of the home’s style. Depending on the size of the dormer, multiple windows can be placed.
Similar to the doghouse dormer, this style receives its name from having a form 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 often found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.
Ideal window type: Because of the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to install many windows. Casement and double hung windows are often found placed in shed dormers.
Though the shed dormer can create the most room in a home, the eyebrow dormer is used mainly for decorative purposes or creating alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer offers no sides and consists of a curved roof that gives it 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 commonly the ideal choices for this style of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows provide your home more than just curb appeal. If adding dormers to add space in your home, make sure to consider 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!