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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 impact a room like natural light. Improving natural light does more than just make living spaces inviting and cozy. It can also impact the resale value of a home.

But what can you do when the style of your house makes it more challenging to bring natural light to all of your rooms? Cape Cod style builds, for example, often don’t have a full second story. In other situations, a remodeling job might look to turn a windowless attic into a new living room.

That’s why dormers are helpful. Dormers are small additions often used to add usable space in a loft and create window space 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 feature a window, the term "dormer" is commonly used to refer to a "dormer window."

Typically (but not always) small, dormers can create those few additional square feet of space you need to make your loft exactly how you planned it. Maybe it's a simple doghouse dormer that brings some additional light and a view. Maybe it's a shed dormer that creates extra room for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that embellishes your home’s curb appeal 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 often fall into two common styles, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being built. While the type of a dormer can often determine what space fits a window, most dormer styles can handle any style of window. Here’s a look at the most recognized dormer styles and the window types ideal for each:

Gabled/Doghouse Dormer

A modest 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 homes, the front of a gabled dormer appears as a mini-roof that rises to form a point at the top. It creates the shape of a traditional doghouse. Inside the house, a doghouse dormer can offer 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 made of three converging roof sides with a window in the front. Although the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer take away some of the space inside the house, this style offers better defense against high winds.

Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are most commonly found in hip roof dormers, matching the traditional look of the architectural style. Depending on the size of the dormer, numerous windows can be installed.

Shed Dormer

Much like the doghouse dormer, this dormer 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 home’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 place multiple windows. Casement and double hung windows are often found added to shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

Where the shed dormer can bring the most added area in a living space, the eyebrow dormer is built mainly for decorative purposes or developing alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer has no sides and features 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 needs. Custom-designed or curved windows are often the ideal choices for this type of dormer.

Dormer additions and dormer windows bring your home more than just curb appeal. If placing dormers to add space in your house, make sure to look at the same features you would identify for when purchasing other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.

To find out 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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