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Finding the Right Window for Your Home's Dormer

Finding the Right Window for Your Home's Dormer

Few things immediately change a room like natural light. Added natural light does more than just make rooms inviting and cozy. It can also impact the selling price of a home.

But what can you do when the style of your house makes it harder to add natural light to all of your rooms? Cape Cod style builds, for example, often don’t have a full second story. In other cases, a remodeling job might plan to turn a windowless attic into a new living area.

That’s why dormers are helpful. Dormers are small additions often used to increase usable space in a loft and create window options in a roof plane. Dormers are usually small in total area but can create additional square footage as one of the central elements of a loft conversion. While they may not always include 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 space you need to make your room 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 area for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that embellishes your home’s outside 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 tend to fall into two common types, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being built. While the type of a dormer can often dictate what space fits a window, most dormer styles can include any design of window. Here’s a look at the most common dormer styles and the window types to use for each:

Gabled/Doghouse Dormer

A basic and relatively minor architectural element from the outside, a doghouse dormer (also known as a gabled dormer) can offer extra light and space inside a loft area. Seen on many styles of houses, the front of a gabled dormer can be identified by 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 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 need 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. Though the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer impact some of the space inside the room, this style offers better defense against the elements.

Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are frequently found in hip roof dormers, matching the traditional look of the architectural style. Depending on the size of the dormer, many windows can be placed.

Shed Dormer

Just as with the doghouse dormer, this type gets its name from having a look similar to a garden shed. With a flat roof that slopes down at slightly less of an angle than the rest of the building’s roof, shed dormers are frequently found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.

Ideal window type: Due to the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to place many windows. Casement and double hung windows are commonly found added to shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

Where the shed dormer can create the most room in a house, the eyebrow dormer is built mainly for decorative purposes or building alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer provides no sides and consists of a curved roof that gives this dormer its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque home styles often add eyebrow dormers.

Ideal window type: Eyebrow dormers can vary from house to house, so the type of window will alter to meet the specific style. Custom-designed or curved windows are often the suitable choices for this kind of dormer.

Dormer additions and dormer windows provide your home more than just curb appeal. If planning dormers to improve space in your house, make sure to look at the same features you would identify for when investing in other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.

To learn more about the perfect window for a new dormer or find a replacement window for your existing dormer, get in touch with a Pella® professional today!

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