Few things immediately change a room like natural light. Improving 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 difficult to bring natural light to all of your rooms? Cape Cod style houses, 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 area.
That’s why dormers are a good solution. Dormers are small additions commonly 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 main elements of a loft remodel. While they may not always contain a window, the term "dormer" is commonly 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 want it. Maybe it's a basic doghouse dormer that brings some additional light and a view. Maybe it's a shed dormer that provides extra area for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that enhances your home’s exterior while creating additional space internally. Dormers are a great solution for space-challenged areas.
What are the styles?
There are many different types of dormers. American homes mostly fall into two common designs, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being built. While the style of a dormer can often decide what space can hold a window, most dormer styles can include any type of window. Here’s a look at the most frequently used dormer styles and the window types ideal for each:
A basic and relatively minor architectural element from the outside, a doghouse dormer (also known as a gabled dormer) can offer extra light and space inside a loft area. Seen on many styles of houses, the front of a gabled dormer can be identified by 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 offer additional functionality, such as a space ideal for a built-in seat or storage.
Ideal window type: Due to their specific shape, gabled dormers often need a specialty window or awning window.
Hip Roof Dormer
Found commonly on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style houses, hip roof dormers consist of three converging roof sides with a window in the front. Although the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer impact some of the space inside the room, this style brings better defense against high winds.
Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are frequently 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 placed.
Similar to the doghouse dormer, this dormer takes its name from having a shape similar to a garden shed. With a flat roof that slopes forward 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 add multiple windows. Casement and double hung windows are often found added to shed dormers.
Though the shed dormer can create the most room in a living space, the eyebrow dormer is added mainly for decorative purposes or developing alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer has no sides and features a curved roof that gives it its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque home styles commonly use eyebrow dormers.
Ideal window type: Eyebrow dormers can differ from house to house, so the type of window will alter to meet the specific style. Custom-designed or curved windows are frequently the ideal choices for this kind of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows provide your home more than just curb appeal. If placing dormers to increase space in your room, make sure to consider the same features you would identify for when purchasing other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.
To discover 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!