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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 impact a room like natural light. Increasing natural light does more than just make rooms warm and cozy. It can also impact the selling price of a home.

But what can you do when the style of your house makes it difficult 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 aim to turn a windowless attic into a new living space.

That’s when dormers are helpful. Dormers are small additions often used to increase usable space in a loft and create window options in a roof plane. Dormers are mostly small in total area but can provide additional square footage as one of the main elements of a loft conversion. 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 create those few additional square feet of area you need to make your room exactly how you want 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 room for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that enhances your home’s curb appeal while creating additional space indoors. Dormers are a great solution for space-challenged areas.

What are the styles?

There are many different types of dormers. American homes often fall into two common types, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being created. While the shape of a dormer can often determine what space can hold a window, most dormer styles can use any style of window. Here’s a look at the most frequently used dormer styles and the window types ideal 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 bring 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 create a point at the top. It creates the shape of a traditional doghouse. Inside the home, 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 unique shape, gabled dormers often need a specialty window or awning window.

Hip Roof Dormer

Found commonly on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style homes, hip roof dormers are built with three converging roof sides with a window in the front. While the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer impact some of the space inside the room, this style provides better defense against high winds.

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, numerous windows can be added.

Shed Dormer

Just as with the doghouse dormer, this dormer receives 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 frequently found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.

Ideal window type: Because of the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to install multiple windows. Casement and double hung windows are frequently found added to shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

Though the shed dormer can create the most added area in a living space, the eyebrow dormer is built mainly for decorative purposes or building alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer provides no sides and is highlighted by a curved roof that gives this dormer its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque design styles frequently use 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 look. Custom-designed or curved windows are often the ideal choices for this kind of dormer.

Dormer additions and dormer windows bring your home more than just curb appeal. If planning 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 right window for a new dormer or consider a replacement window for your existing dormer, talk to a Pella® professional today!

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