Few things immediately influence a room like natural light. Increasing natural light does more than just make rooms welcoming and cozy. It can also improve the resale value of a home.
But what options do homeowners have when the style of your house makes it harder to get natural light to all of your rooms? Cape Cod style houses, for example, often don’t have a full second story. In other cases, a remodeling job might look to turn a windowless attic into a new living room.
That’s when dormers are useful. Dormers are small additions commonly used to bring usable space in a loft and create window space in a roof plane. Dormers are usually small in total area but can result in additional square footage as one of the main elements of a loft conversion. 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 home 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 provides extra room for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that enhances your home’s curb appeal while creating additional space internally. Dormers are a great remedy for space-challenged areas.
What are the styles?
There are many different types of dormers. American homes often fall into two common types, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being added. While the style of a dormer can often dictate what space is available for a window, most dormer styles can include any type of window. Here’s a look at the most recognized dormer styles and the window types to use for each:
A modest 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. Seen on many styles of dwellings, the front of a gabled dormer appears as a mini-roof that rises to end in 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 often on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style houses, 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 impact some of the space inside the house, this style offers better defense against weather.
Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are often found in hip roof dormers, pairing with the traditional look of the house’s style. Depending on the size of the dormer, many windows can be placed.
Much like the doghouse dormer, this type takes its name from having a form similar to a garden shed. With a flat roof that slopes forward at slightly less of an angle than the rest of the home’s roof, shed dormers are commonly 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 frequently found installed on shed dormers.
Though the shed dormer can bring the most added area in a living space, the eyebrow dormer is built mainly for decorative purposes or building alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer provides no sides and features a curved roof that gives the style its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque architectural styles often feature 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 ideal choices for this type of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows bring your home more than just curb appeal. If placing dormers to add space in your house, 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, talk to a Pella® professional today!