Few things immediately influence a room like natural light. Increasing natural light does more than just make rooms inviting and cozy. It can also increase the resale value of a home.
But what happens when the style of your house makes it more challenging to get natural light to all of your rooms? Cape Cod style houses, 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 area.
That’s why dormers are useful. Dormers are small additions frequently used to bring usable space in a loft and create window space in a roof plane. Dormers are usually small in total area but can provide 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 commonly used to describe a "dormer window."
Typically (but not always) small, dormers can create those few additional square feet of area you need to make your loft exactly how you envision 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 embellishes your home’s exterior 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 often fall into two common types, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being built. While the style of a dormer can often determine what space is available for a window, most dormer styles can include any design of window. Here’s a look at the most recognized dormer styles and the window types to use for each:
A basic and relatively minor architectural element from the outside, a doghouse dormer (also known as a gabled dormer) can add 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 create a point at the top. It creates the appearance of a traditional doghouse. Inside the house, 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 are best suited with a specialty window or awning window.
Hip Roof Dormer
Found frequently on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style homes, hip roof dormers are made of 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 room, this style offers 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 home’s style. Depending on the size of the dormer, many windows can be installed.
Just as with the doghouse dormer, this style takes its name from having a look 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: With the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to add numerous windows. Casement and double hung windows are often found added to shed dormers.
Though the shed dormer can create the most room in a house, the eyebrow dormer is used mainly for decorative purposes or building alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer provides no sides and is highlighted by a curved roof that gives it its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque architectural styles often feature 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 offer your home more than just curb appeal. If planning dormers to improve space in your room, make sure to review the same features you would prioritize for when investing in 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, call a Pella® professional today!