Few touches immediately influence a room like natural light. Increasing natural light does more than just make living spaces welcoming and cozy. It can also increase the resale value of a home.
But what options do homeowners have 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 homes, a remodeling job might plan to turn a windowless attic into a new living space.
That’s where dormers are helpful. Dormers are small additions frequently used to increase usable space in a loft and create window space in a roof plane. Dormers are often small in total area but can result in additional square footage as one of the central elements of a loft remodel. While they may not always contain a window, the term "dormer" is regularly used to describe a "dormer window."
Typically (but not always) small, dormers can create those few additional square feet of freedom you need to make your home 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 provides extra space for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that adds style to your home’s exterior while creating additional space indoors. Dormers are a great remedy for space-challenged areas.
What are the styles?
There are many different styles of dormers. American homes mostly fall into two common types, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being built. While the style of a dormer can often decide what space is available for a window, most dormer styles can handle any design of window. Here’s a look at the most recognized dormer styles and the window types best suited for each:
A basic and relatively small 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 homes, the front of a gabled dormer can be identified by a mini-roof that rises to form a point at the top. It creates the look of a traditional doghouse. Inside the house, 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 unique shape, gabled dormers often require a specialty window or awning window.
Hip Roof Dormer
Found frequently 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 take away some of the space inside the home, this style brings better defense against the elements.
Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are frequently found in hip roof dormers, pairing with the traditional look of the home’s style. Depending on the size of the dormer, multiple windows can be added.
Just as with the doghouse dormer, this style gets its name from having a look 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 often found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.
Ideal window type: With the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to install multiple windows. Casement and double hung windows are often found added to shed dormers.
While the shed dormer can add the most room in a home, the eyebrow dormer is built mainly for decorative purposes or creating alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer offers no sides and consists of a curved roof that gives it its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque home 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 needs. Custom-designed or curved windows are frequently the suitable choices for this type of dormer.
Dormer additions and dormer windows provide your home more than just curb appeal. If adding dormers to add space in your room, make sure to review the same features you would find important for when purchasing other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.
To find out more about the perfect window for a new dormer or find a replacement window for your existing dormer, call a Pella® professional today!