Few additions immediately influence a room like natural light. Increasing natural light does more than just make rooms warm and cozy. It can also increase the curb appeal of a home.
But what happens when the style of your house makes it difficult to bring 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 space.
That’s where dormers are helpful. Dormers are small additions often used to add usable space in a loft and create window space in a roof plane. Dormers are mostly small in total area but can create additional square footage as one of the central elements of a loft remodel. While they may not always contain a window, the term "dormer" is usually used to describe a "dormer window."
Typically (but not always) small, dormers can create those few additional square feet of area you need to make your loft exactly how you envision 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 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 types 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 style of a dormer can often dictate what space can hold a window, most dormer styles can handle any design of window. Here’s a look at the most recognized dormer styles and the window types ideal for each:
A modest 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 appears as a mini-roof that rises to form a point at the top. It creates the shape of a traditional doghouse. Inside the house, 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 require a specialty window or awning window.
Hip Roof Dormer
Found frequently on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style buildings, hip roof dormers are made of three converging roof sides with a window in the front. Although the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer decrease some of the space inside the room, 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, numerous windows can be placed.
Much like the doghouse dormer, this type gets 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 home’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 multiple windows. Casement and double hung windows are commonly found added to shed dormers.
Where the shed dormer can add the most added area in a home, the eyebrow dormer is built mainly for decorative purposes or developing alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer provides no sides and is highlighted by a curved roof that gives it its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque home styles frequently 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 commonly the suitable choices for this type of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows offer your home more than just curb appeal. If placing dormers to improve space in your home, make sure to review 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, get in touch with a Pella® professional today!