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Finding the Right Window for Your Home's Dormer

Finding the Right Window for Your Home's Dormer

Few touches immediately influence a room like natural light. Added natural light does more than just make rooms warm and cozy. It can also improve the curb appeal of a home.

But what can you do when the style of your house makes it harder to add 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 look to turn a windowless attic into a new living area.

That’s where dormers are a good solution. 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 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 commonly used to describe a "dormer window."

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

What are the styles?

There are many different types of dormers. American homes tend to fall into two common types, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being created. While the type of a dormer can often determine what space can hold a window, most dormer styles can handle any type of window. Here’s a look at the most frequently used 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 add extra light and space inside a loft area. Found on many styles of homes, the front of a gabled dormer appears as a mini-roof that rises to create a point at the top. It creates the look of a traditional doghouse. Inside the house, a doghouse dormer can bring 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 need a specialty window or awning window.

Hip Roof Dormer

Found often on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style houses, hip roof dormers are made of three converging roof sides with a window in the front. Although the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer decrease some of the space inside the house, this style offers better defense against the elements.

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

Shed Dormer

Much like the doghouse dormer, this style gets 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 often found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.

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

Eyebrow Dormer

Though the shed dormer can add the most added area in a home, the eyebrow dormer is used 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 architectural styles often use eyebrow dormers.

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

Dormer additions and dormer windows bring your home more than just curb appeal. If adding dormers to improve space in your house, make sure to look at 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 right window for a new dormer or look for a replacement window for your existing dormer, talk to a Pella® professional today!

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