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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 living spaces warm and cozy. It can also impact the curb appeal of a home.

But what happens when the style of your house makes it harder 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 homes, a remodeling job might plan to turn a windowless attic into a new living space.

That’s when dormers are useful. Dormers are small additions frequently used to add usable space in a loft and create window options in a roof plane. Dormers are often small in total area but can create additional square footage as one of the primary elements of a loft project. While they may not always include a window, the term "dormer" is regularly used to refer to a "dormer window."

Typically (but not always) small, dormers can add those few additional square feet of area you need to make your room exactly how you planned 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 space for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that embellishes your home’s curb appeal while creating additional space inside. Dormers are a great remedy for space-challenged areas.

What are the styles?

There are many different types of dormers. American homes tend to fall into two common designs, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being created. While the shape of a dormer can often decide what space can hold a window, most dormer styles can include any design of window. Here’s a look at the most frequently used dormer styles and the window types best suited for each:

Gabled/Doghouse Dormer

A basic and relatively minor architectural element from the outside, a doghouse dormer (also known as a gabled dormer) can bring extra light and space inside a loft area. Found on many styles of dwellings, the front of a gabled dormer looks like a mini-roof that rises to create a point at the top. It creates the shape of a traditional doghouse. Inside the home, a doghouse dormer can offer additional functionality, such as a space suited 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 commonly 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 decrease some of the space inside the room, this style brings better defense against weather.

Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are most commonly 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 installed.

Shed Dormer

Much like the doghouse dormer, this type takes its name from having a shape 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 commonly 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 installed on shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

While the shed dormer can bring the most added area in a home, the eyebrow dormer is used mainly for decorative purposes or building alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer has no sides and consists of a curved roof that gives this dormer its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque home styles often feature eyebrow dormers.

Ideal window type: Eyebrow dormers can vary from house to house, so the type of window will alter to meet the specific needs. Custom-designed or curved windows are frequently the best choices for this kind of dormer.

Dormer additions and dormer windows provide your home more than just curb appeal. If placing dormers to increase space in your room, make sure to consider the same features you would prioritize for when purchasing other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.

To learn more about the best 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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