Few things immediately change a room like natural light. Improving natural light does more than just make your home warm and cozy. It can also increase the resale value of a home.
But what options do homeowners have when the style of your house makes it difficult to get 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 why dormers are useful. Dormers are small additions often used to add usable space in a loft and create window openings 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 conversion. While they may not always include 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 freedom you need to make your room 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 room for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that enhances your home’s curb appeal while creating additional space indoors. Dormers are a great idea for space-challenged areas.
What are the styles?
There are many different types of dormers. American homes mostly fall into two common styles, 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 use any style of window. Here’s a look at the most frequently used dormer styles and the window types best suited for each:
A modest and relatively small architectural element from the outside, a doghouse dormer (also known as a gabled dormer) can bring extra light and space inside a loft area. Seen on many styles of homes, the front of a gabled dormer can be identified by a mini-roof that rises to end in 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 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 often on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style buildings, hip roof dormers consist of three converging roof sides with a window in the front. Although the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer take away some of the space inside the room, this style provides better defense against high winds.
Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are frequently 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.
Just as with the doghouse dormer, this dormer gets 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 house’s roof, shed dormers are commonly found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.
Ideal window type: Because of the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to place numerous windows. Casement and double hung windows are often found installed on shed dormers.
Though the shed dormer can add the most room in a home, the eyebrow dormer is added mainly for decorative purposes or creating alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer offers no sides and features a curved roof that gives the style its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque architectural styles frequently use eyebrow dormers.
Ideal window type: Eyebrow dormers can be unique from house to house, so the type of window will alter to meet the specific look. Custom-designed or curved windows are frequently the best choices for this style 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 look at the same features you would identify for when buying other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.
To learn more about the perfect window for a new dormer or consider a replacement window for your existing dormer, call a Pella® professional today!