Few additions immediately change a room like natural light. Improving natural light does more than just make your home inviting and cozy. It can also impact the resale value of a home.
But what can you do when the style of your house makes it harder 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 homes, a remodeling job might aim to turn a windowless attic into a new living area.
That’s where dormers are helpful. Dormers are small additions often used to bring 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 primary elements of a loft project. While they may not always include a window, the term "dormer" is usually used to refer to a "dormer window."
Typically (but not always) small, dormers can add those few additional square feet of space you need to make your loft exactly how you planned it. Maybe it's a simple 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 exterior while creating additional space internally. Dormers are a great idea for space-challenged areas.
What are the styles?
There are many different styles of dormers. American homes often fall into two common styles, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being created. While the type of a dormer can often decide what space can hold a window, most dormer styles can include any design of window. Here’s a look at the most frequently used dormer styles and the window types to use for each:
A basic 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. Seen on many styles of homes, the front of a gabled dormer appears as a mini-roof that rises to form a point at the top. It creates the look of a traditional doghouse. Inside the house, a doghouse dormer can offer additional functionality, such as a space ideal for a built-in seat or storage.
Ideal window type: Due to their unique shape, gabled dormers often are best suited with a specialty window or awning window.
Hip Roof Dormer
Found commonly on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style buildings, 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 take away some of the space inside the house, this style provides better defense against high winds.
Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are most commonly found in hip roof dormers, pairing with the traditional look of the home’s style. Depending on the size of the dormer, numerous windows can be installed.
Similar to the doghouse dormer, this dormer 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 frequently found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.
Ideal window type: Because of the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to place many windows. Casement and double hung windows are commonly found added to shed dormers.
Where the shed dormer can add the most room in a home, the eyebrow dormer is used mainly for decorative purposes or developing alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer has no sides and consists of a curved roof that gives it its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque design 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 often the best choices for this kind of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows provide your home more than just curb appeal. If planning dormers to increase space in your room, make sure to review the same features you would identify for when buying other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.
To find out more about the right window for a new dormer or find a replacement window for your existing dormer, talk to a Pella® professional today!