Few things immediately impact a room like natural light. Increasing natural light does more than just make living spaces warm and cozy. It can also increase the curb appeal of a home.
But what happens when the style of your house makes it harder to add natural light to all of your rooms? Cape Cod style builds, for example, often don’t have a full second story. In other situations, a remodeling job might look to turn a windowless attic into a new living room.
That’s why dormers are helpful. Dormers are small additions often used to increase usable space in a loft and create window options in a roof plane. Dormers are usually 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 usually used to indicate a "dormer window."
Typically (but not always) small, dormers can create those few additional square feet of area you need to make your room exactly how you want it. Maybe it's a simple doghouse dormer that brings some additional light and a view. Maybe it's a shed dormer that creates extra room for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that embellishes your home’s curb appeal while creating additional space indoors. Dormers are a great solution for space-challenged areas.
What are the styles?
There are many different styles of dormers. American homes often fall into two common designs, 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 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 small architectural element from the outside, a doghouse dormer (also known as a gabled dormer) can offer extra light and space inside a loft area. Common on many styles of dwellings, the front of a gabled dormer looks like a mini-roof that rises to end in a point at the top. It creates the shape of a traditional doghouse. Inside the structure, a doghouse dormer can create 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 are best suited with a specialty window or awning window.
Hip Roof Dormer
Found frequently 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 decrease some of the space inside the home, this style offers better defense against weather.
Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are frequently found in hip roof dormers, reflecting the traditional look of the architectural style. Depending on the size of the dormer, numerous windows can be installed.
Just as with the doghouse dormer, this style takes its name from having a form similar to a garden shed. With a flat roof that slopes down 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: With the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to install numerous windows. Casement and double hung windows are often found added to shed dormers.
While the shed dormer can bring the most room in a house, the eyebrow dormer is added mainly for decorative purposes or developing alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer has no sides and is highlighted by a curved roof that gives the style its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque design 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 frequently the best choices for this kind of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows bring your home more than just curb appeal. If adding dormers to increase space in your home, make sure to consider the same features you would prioritize for when purchasing other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.
To learn more about the right window for a new dormer or find a replacement window for your existing dormer, call a Pella® professional today!