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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. Increasing natural light does more than just make rooms inviting and cozy. It can also increase the selling price of a home.

But what options do homeowners have when the style of your house makes it more challenging 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 situations, a remodeling job might look to turn a windowless attic into a new living space.

That’s why dormers are helpful. Dormers are small additions commonly 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 central elements of a loft remodel. While they may not always feature a window, the term "dormer" is usually used to describe a "dormer window."

Typically (but not always) small, dormers can add those few additional square feet of space you need to make your room exactly how you want it. Maybe it's a basic doghouse dormer that brings some additional light and a view. Maybe it's a shed dormer that opens extra room for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that embellishes 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 often fall into two common types, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being created. While the shape of a dormer can often decide what space fits a window, most dormer styles can use any style of window. Here’s a look at the most recognized dormer styles and the window types to use for each:

Gabled/Doghouse Dormer

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. Common on many styles of dwellings, the front of a gabled dormer looks like a mini-roof that rises to create a point at the top. It creates the look of a traditional doghouse. Inside the structure, 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 specific shape, gabled dormers often are best suited with a specialty window or awning window.

Hip Roof Dormer

Found frequently on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style homes, hip roof dormers consist 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 home, this style offers better defense against the elements.

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

Shed Dormer

Much like the doghouse dormer, this style takes 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 building’s roof, shed dormers are often found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.

Ideal window type: Because of the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to add numerous windows. Casement and double hung windows are commonly found installed on shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

Though the shed dormer can bring the most space in a house, the eyebrow dormer is used mainly for decorative purposes or developing alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer provides no sides and features a curved roof that gives it its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque architectural 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 needs. Custom-designed or curved windows are frequently the best choices for this style of dormer.

Dormer additions and dormer windows provide your home more than just curb appeal. If adding dormers to increase 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 discover more about the right window for a new dormer or consider a replacement window for your existing dormer, talk to a Pella® professional today!

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