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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. Increasing natural light does more than just make your home warm and cozy. It can also improve the resale value of a home.

But what options do homeowners have when the style of your house makes it difficult to get natural light to all of your rooms? Cape Cod style homes, for example, often don’t have a full second story. In other cases, a remodeling job might plan to turn a windowless attic into a new living room.

That’s when dormers are helpful. Dormers are small additions frequently used to add usable space in a loft and create window options in a roof plane. Dormers are usually small in total area but can result in 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 usually used to indicate a "dormer window."

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

What are the styles?

There are many different variations of dormers. American homes often fall into two common styles, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being created. While the type of a dormer can often decide what space fits a window, most dormer styles can handle any design of window. Here’s a look at the most common dormer styles and the window types to use for each:

Gabled/Doghouse Dormer

A simple 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. Common on many styles of dwellings, the front of a gabled dormer looks like a mini-roof that rises to end in a point at the top. It creates the appearance of a traditional doghouse. Inside the home, a doghouse dormer can create additional functionality, such as a space right for a built-in seat or storage.

Ideal window type: Due to their particular shape, gabled dormers often are best suited with a specialty window or awning window.

Hip Roof Dormer

Found commonly on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style houses, hip roof dormers consist 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 room, this style brings better defense against high winds.

Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are frequently found in hip roof dormers, matching the traditional look of the home’s style. Depending on the size of the dormer, multiple windows can be installed.

Shed Dormer

Similar to the doghouse dormer, this dormer receives 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 home’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 numerous windows. Casement and double hung windows are frequently found installed on shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

Though the shed dormer can bring the most space in a living space, the eyebrow dormer is added mainly for decorative purposes or creating alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer provides no sides and consists of a curved roof that gives the style its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque home styles often 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 needs. Custom-designed or curved windows are commonly the suitable choices for this kind of dormer.

Dormer additions and dormer windows provide your home more than just curb appeal. If planning dormers to add space in your home, make sure to look at the same features you would find important for when investing in 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, get in touch with a Pella® professional today!

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