Few touches immediately impact a room like natural light. Added 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 more challenging to add natural light to all of your rooms? Cape Cod style homes, for example, often don’t have a full second story. In other cases, a remodeling job might aim to turn a windowless attic into a new living space.
That’s why dormers are helpful. Dormers are small additions commonly used to bring usable space in a loft and create window space in a roof plane. Dormers are often 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 contain a window, the term "dormer" is regularly used to refer to a "dormer window."
Typically (but not always) small, dormers can create those few additional square feet of freedom you need to make your loft exactly how you envision 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 embellishes your home’s exterior 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 mostly fall into two common styles, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being created. While the type of a dormer can often determine what space fits a window, most dormer styles can use any type of window. Here’s a look at the most frequently used dormer styles and the window types to use for each:
A modest and relatively smaller architectural element from the outside, a doghouse dormer (also known as a gabled dormer) can offer extra light and space inside a loft area. Found on many styles of houses, the front of a gabled dormer appears as a mini-roof that rises to end in a point at the top. It creates the appearance of a traditional doghouse. Inside the structure, a doghouse dormer can bring additional functionality, such as a space right 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 buildings, hip roof dormers consist of three converging roof sides with a window in the front. While the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer decrease some of the space inside the home, this style provides better defense against the elements.
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, numerous windows can be added.
Much like the doghouse dormer, this dormer gets its name from having a shape similar to a garden shed. With a flat roof that slopes down 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: Due to the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to install numerous windows. Casement and double hung windows are often found placed in shed dormers.
Where the shed dormer can bring the most added area in a house, the eyebrow dormer is added mainly for decorative purposes or creating alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer provides no sides and features a curved roof that gives it its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque architectural styles frequently add 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 needs. Custom-designed or curved windows are often the ideal choices for this style of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows bring your home more than just curb appeal. If placing dormers to add space in your room, make sure to consider the same features you would find important for when investing in other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.
To find out more about the best window for a new dormer or find a replacement window for your existing dormer, get in touch with a Pella® professional today!