Few additions immediately impact a room like natural light. Added natural light does more than just make rooms inviting and cozy. It can also improve the resale value of a home.
But what can you do when the style of your house makes it more challenging 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 situations, a remodeling job might aim to turn a windowless attic into a new living area.
That’s where dormers are helpful. Dormers are small additions frequently used to add usable space in a loft and create window options 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 remodel. While they may not always include a window, the term "dormer" is usually used to describe 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 want it. Maybe it's a modest doghouse dormer that brings some additional light and a view. Maybe it's a shed dormer that provides extra space for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that enhances 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 built. While the type 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 basic and relatively minor 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 looks like a mini-roof that rises to create 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 ideal for a built-in seat or storage.
Ideal window type: Due to their specific shape, gabled dormers often need a specialty window or awning window.
Hip Roof Dormer
Found commonly on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style buildings, hip roof dormers are made of three converging roof sides with a window in the front. Though the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer decrease some of the space inside the room, this style offers better defense against the elements.
Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are most commonly found in hip roof dormers, matching the traditional look of the home’s style. Depending on the size of the dormer, numerous windows can be added.
Much like the doghouse dormer, this dormer 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 often found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.
Ideal window type: Because of the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to install many windows. Casement and double hung windows are often found installed on shed dormers.
Where the shed dormer can add the most room in a living space, the eyebrow dormer is used mainly for decorative purposes or developing alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer has no sides and consists of a curved roof that gives the style its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque design styles commonly feature eyebrow dormers.
Ideal window type: Eyebrow dormers can vary from house to house, so the type of window will alter to meet the specific needs. Custom-designed or curved windows are often the best choices for this style of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows offer your home more than just curb appeal. If adding dormers to improve space in your room, 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 find out more about the perfect window for a new dormer or find a replacement window for your existing dormer, talk to a Pella® professional today!