Finding the Right Window for Your Home's Dormer
Few additions immediately impact a room like natural light. Improving natural light does more than just make your home warm and cozy. It can also increase the curb appeal of a home.
But what happens when the style of your house makes it more challenging 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 homes, a remodeling job might plan to turn a windowless attic into a new living space.
That’s when dormers are useful. Dormers are small additions commonly used to add usable space in a loft and create window options in a roof plane. Dormers are mostly small in total area but can result in additional square footage as one of the central elements of a loft project. While they may not always include a window, the term "dormer" is regularly 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 planned it. Maybe it's a basic doghouse dormer that brings some additional light and a view. Maybe it's a shed dormer that creates extra space for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that embellishes your home’s curb appeal while creating additional space inside. Dormers are a great solution for space-challenged areas.
What are the styles?
There are many different styles of dormers. American homes tend to fall into two common styles, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being added. While the shape of a dormer can often decide what space fits 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 best suited for each:
A simple and relatively small architectural element from the outside, a doghouse dormer (also known as a gabled dormer) can add extra light and space inside a loft area. Found 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 shape of a traditional doghouse. Inside the home, 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 need a specialty window or awning window.
Hip Roof Dormer
Found frequently on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style homes, hip roof dormers are built with three converging roof sides with a window in the front. Though the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer decrease some of the space inside the house, this style provides better defense against weather.
Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are most commonly found in hip roof dormers, pairing with the traditional look of the house’s style. Depending on the size of the dormer, multiple windows can be added.
Just as with the doghouse dormer, this style gets 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 building’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 placed in shed dormers.
Where the shed dormer can create the most space in a living space, the eyebrow dormer is built mainly for decorative purposes or creating alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer offers no sides and is highlighted by a curved roof that gives this dormer its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque architectural styles often add eyebrow dormers.
Ideal window type: Eyebrow dormers can vary from house to house, so the type of window will alter to meet the specific needs. Custom-designed or curved windows are frequently 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 improve space in your home, make sure to consider the same features you would find important for when buying other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.
To learn more about the right window for a new dormer or consider a replacement window for your existing dormer, call a Pella® professional today!