Few things immediately influence a room like natural light. Improving natural light does more than just make living spaces welcoming and cozy. It can also improve the selling price of a home.
But what options do homeowners have when the style of your house makes it more challenging to add 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 look to turn a windowless attic into a new living space.
That’s where dormers are a good solution. Dormers are small additions frequently 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 provide 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 regularly used to indicate a "dormer window."
Typically (but not always) small, dormers can provide those few additional square feet of freedom you need to make your home 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 opens extra room for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that adds style to 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 tend to fall into two common styles, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being built. While the shape of a dormer can often dictate what space fits 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 best suited for each:
A simple 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. Seen on many styles of houses, the front of a gabled dormer appears as a mini-roof that rises to end in a point at the top. It creates the appearance of a traditional doghouse. Inside the house, 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 specific shape, gabled dormers often require a specialty window or awning window.
Hip Roof Dormer
Found commonly on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style buildings, hip roof dormers are built with three converging roof sides with a window in the front. Although the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer take away some of the space inside the house, this style brings better defense against the elements.
Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are often 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.
Much like the doghouse dormer, this dormer receives its name from having a look similar to a garden shed. With a flat roof that slopes downward 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 place many windows. Casement and double hung windows are commonly found added to shed dormers.
While the shed dormer can add the most room in a house, the eyebrow dormer is built mainly for decorative purposes or creating alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer offers no sides and is highlighted by a curved roof that gives it its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque architectural styles commonly use eyebrow dormers.
Ideal window type: Eyebrow dormers can differ from house to house, so the type of window will alter to meet the specific look. Custom-designed or curved windows are commonly the best choices for this type of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows bring your home more than just curb appeal. If adding dormers to increase space in your house, make sure to review the same features you would find important for when buying other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.
To find out more about the perfect window for a new dormer or consider a replacement window for your existing dormer, call a Pella® professional today!