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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 change a room like natural light. Added natural light does more than just make your home warm 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 bring 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 area.

That’s why dormers are helpful. Dormers are small additions frequently used to increase usable space in a loft and create window openings in a roof plane. Dormers are often small in total area but can result in 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 usually used to refer to a "dormer window."

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

What are the styles?

There are many different styles of dormers. American homes often fall into two common designs, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being added. 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 common dormer styles and the window types to use 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 dwellings, the front of a gabled dormer appears as a mini-roof that rises to end in a point at the top. It creates the appearance of a traditional doghouse. Inside the home, a doghouse dormer can bring 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 require a specialty window or awning window.

Hip Roof Dormer

Found often on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style buildings, 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 room, this style brings better defense against weather.

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

Just as with the doghouse dormer, this dormer takes 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 commonly found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.

Ideal window type: Because of the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to install numerous windows. Casement and double hung windows are frequently found added to shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

Where the shed dormer can create the most room in a home, the eyebrow dormer is added mainly for decorative purposes or developing alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer has no sides and is highlighted by a curved roof that gives it its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque home styles frequently add 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 often the ideal choices for this kind of dormer.

Dormer additions and dormer windows offer your home more than just curb appeal. If placing dormers to improve space in your room, make sure to review the same features you would identify for when buying 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, get in touch with a Pella® professional today!

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