Few additions immediately influence a room like natural light. Added natural light does more than just make living spaces inviting and cozy. It can also increase the selling price of a home.
But what options do homeowners have when the style of your house makes it difficult to bring natural light to all of your rooms? Cape Cod style builds, for example, often don’t have a full second story. In other homes, a remodeling job might look to turn a windowless attic into a new living space.
That’s where dormers are useful. Dormers are small additions often used to increase usable space in a loft and create window space in a roof plane. Dormers are often small in total area but can provide additional square footage as one of the primary elements of a loft conversion. While they may not always contain a window, the term "dormer" is usually used to refer to a "dormer window."
Typically (but not always) small, dormers can provide those few additional square feet of space you need to make your home exactly how you envision it. Maybe it's a modest doghouse dormer that brings some additional light and a view. Maybe it's a shed dormer that opens extra area for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that embellishes your home’s exterior while creating additional space indoors. Dormers are a great remedy for space-challenged areas.
What are the styles?
There are many different variations 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 style of a dormer can often determine what space can hold a window, most dormer styles can handle any style of window. Here’s a look at the most common dormer styles and the window types best suited for each:
A simple and relatively smaller 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 appearance of a traditional doghouse. Inside the structure, a doghouse dormer can create additional functionality, such as a space ideal 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 commonly on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style homes, hip roof dormers are built with three converging roof sides with a window in the front. While the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer impact some of the space inside the home, this style brings better defense against high winds.
Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are often found in hip roof dormers, pairing with the traditional look of the home’s style. Depending on the size of the dormer, many windows can be placed.
Just as with the doghouse dormer, this type takes its name from having a shape similar to a garden shed. With a flat roof that slopes forward at slightly less of an angle than the rest of the building’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 multiple windows. Casement and double hung windows are often found added to shed dormers.
Though the shed dormer can bring the most room in a home, the eyebrow dormer is used mainly for decorative purposes or developing alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer has no sides and features a curved roof that gives it its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque home styles commonly add eyebrow dormers.
Ideal window type: Eyebrow dormers can differ from house to house, so the type of window will alter to meet the specific look. Custom-designed or curved windows are commonly the suitable choices for this type of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows provide your home more than just curb appeal. If planning dormers to increase space in your house, make sure to consider the same features you would identify 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, call a Pella® professional today!