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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. Improving natural light does more than just make your home warm and cozy. It can also increase the selling price of a home.

But what options do homeowners have when the style of your house makes it more challenging to bring 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 aim to turn a windowless attic into a new living space.

That’s where 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 often 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 contain a window, the term "dormer" is usually 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 home exactly how you envision it. Maybe it's a modest doghouse dormer that brings some additional light and a view. Maybe it's a shed dormer that opens extra area for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that adds style to your home’s outside while creating additional space indoors. Dormers are a great solution for space-challenged areas.

What are the styles?

There are many different variations 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 decide what space can hold a window, most dormer styles can use any type of window. Here’s a look at the most recognized dormer styles and the window types to use for each:

Gabled/Doghouse Dormer

A simple and relatively smaller 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 appears as a mini-roof that rises to form a point at the top. It creates the shape of a traditional doghouse. Inside the structure, a doghouse dormer can bring additional functionality, such as a space suited for a built-in seat or storage.

Ideal window type: Due to their unique shape, gabled dormers often require a specialty window or awning window.

Hip Roof Dormer

Found often on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style buildings, hip roof dormers are made of 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 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 house’s style. Depending on the size of the dormer, many windows can be added.

Shed Dormer

Similar to the doghouse dormer, this style takes its name from having a form 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 commonly found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.

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

Eyebrow Dormer

Where the shed dormer can create the most added area in a home, the eyebrow dormer is used mainly for decorative purposes or developing alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer has no sides and features a curved roof that gives this dormer its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque home styles frequently add 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 often the suitable choices for this style of dormer.

Dormer additions and dormer windows bring your home more than just curb appeal. If adding dormers to add space in your room, make sure to consider the same features you would identify for when purchasing 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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