Few additions immediately change a room like natural light. Increasing natural light does more than just make living spaces welcoming and cozy. It can also impact the selling price of a home.
But what options do homeowners have when the style of your house makes it harder to bring natural light to all of your rooms? Cape Cod style homes, 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 helpful. Dormers are small additions frequently used to add 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 remodel. While they may not always contain 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 space 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 adds style to your home’s outside while creating additional space inside. Dormers are a great remedy for space-challenged areas.
What are the styles?
There are many different styles of dormers. American homes mostly fall into two common designs, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being added. While the type of a dormer can often dictate what space is available for a window, most dormer styles can handle any type of window. Here’s a look at the most frequently used dormer styles and the window types to use for each:
A basic and relatively small 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 can be identified by a mini-roof that rises to end in a point at the top. It creates the shape of a traditional doghouse. Inside the house, a doghouse dormer can offer 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 often on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style houses, 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 home, this style provides better defense against the elements.
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, numerous windows can be added.
Much like the doghouse dormer, this style receives 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 house’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 often found added to shed dormers.
While the shed dormer can bring the most room in a home, the eyebrow dormer is used mainly for decorative purposes or creating 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 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 style. Custom-designed or curved windows are often the ideal choices for this type of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows provide your home more than just curb appeal. If planning dormers to add space in your house, make sure to review the same features you would prioritize for when buying other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.
To discover more about the perfect window for a new dormer or look for a replacement window for your existing dormer, talk to a Pella® professional today!