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Finding the Right Window for Your Home's Dormer

Finding the Right Window for Your Home's Dormer

Few additions immediately influence a room like natural light. Increasing natural light does more than just make your home welcoming and cozy. It can also impact the selling price of a home.

But what happens when the style of your house makes it difficult to add natural light to all of your rooms? Cape Cod style houses, 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 a good solution. Dormers are small additions commonly used to increase usable space in a loft and create window openings in a roof plane. Dormers are usually small in total area but can create 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 usually used to indicate a "dormer window."

Typically (but not always) small, dormers can create those few additional square feet of area you need to make your home 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 creates extra room for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that adds style to your home’s outside 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 built. While the shape 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 common dormer styles and the window types to use for each:

Gabled/Doghouse Dormer

A basic 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 houses, the front of a gabled dormer appears as a mini-roof that rises to create a point at the top. It creates the shape of a traditional doghouse. Inside the house, 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 particular shape, gabled dormers often require a specialty window or awning window.

Hip Roof Dormer

Found often on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style buildings, hip roof dormers are built with three converging roof sides with a window in the front. Although the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer impact 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, pairing with the traditional look of the house’s style. Depending on the size of the dormer, many windows can be placed.

Shed Dormer

Much like the doghouse dormer, this style gets its name from having a look similar to a garden shed. With a flat roof that slopes downward 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: Due to the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to add many windows. Casement and double hung windows are commonly found placed in shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

Where the shed dormer can add the most added area 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 features a curved roof that gives the style its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque design styles often add eyebrow dormers.

Ideal window type: Eyebrow dormers can differ 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 placing dormers to improve space in your home, make sure to look at the same features you would prioritize for when buying other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.

To find out more about the best window for a new dormer or find a replacement window for your existing dormer, talk to a Pella® professional today!

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