Few additions immediately change a room like natural light. Improving natural light does more than just make your home inviting and cozy. It can also impact the resale value of a home.
But what happens when the style of your house makes it more challenging to add 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 space.
That’s why dormers are useful. Dormers are small additions frequently used to add usable space in a loft and create window openings in a roof plane. Dormers are usually small in total area but can result in additional square footage as one of the primary elements of a loft conversion. While they may not always include a window, the term "dormer" is regularly used to describe a "dormer window."
Typically (but not always) small, dormers can provide 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 opens extra space 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 often fall into two common designs, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being added. While the style of a dormer can often dictate what space can hold a window, most dormer styles can handle any type of window. Here’s a look at the most common dormer styles and the window types to use for each:
A simple and relatively smaller 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 houses, 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 home, a doghouse dormer can offer 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 often on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style homes, hip roof dormers are made of three converging roof sides with a window in the front. Although 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 frequently found in hip roof dormers, reflecting the traditional look of the house’s style. Depending on the size of the dormer, many windows can be placed.
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 down at slightly less of an angle than the rest of the building’s roof, shed dormers are often 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 placed in shed dormers.
While the shed dormer can add the most room in a house, the eyebrow dormer is added mainly for decorative purposes or developing alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer offers no sides and features a curved roof that gives this dormer its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque architectural styles frequently 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 style. Custom-designed or curved windows are commonly the best choices for this type of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows offer your home more than just curb appeal. If adding dormers to improve space in your home, make sure to consider 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, call a Pella® professional today!