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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 change a room like natural light. Improving natural light does more than just make your home welcoming and cozy. It can also impact the curb appeal of a home.

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

That’s why dormers are a good solution. Dormers are small additions often used to increase usable space in a loft and create window space in a roof plane. Dormers are usually 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 include a window, the term "dormer" is usually used to describe a "dormer window."

Typically (but not always) small, dormers can provide those few additional square feet of area you need to make your home exactly how you envision it. Maybe it's a basic 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 outside while creating additional space indoors. Dormers are a great idea for space-challenged areas.

What are the styles?

There are many different variations of dormers. American homes often fall into two common types, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being added. While the type of a dormer can often dictate what space fits 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 best suited 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. Found on many styles of houses, the front of a gabled dormer can be identified by a mini-roof that rises to create a point at the top. It creates the shape of a traditional doghouse. Inside the home, a doghouse dormer can offer 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 houses, hip roof dormers are made of three converging roof sides with a window in the front. While the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer decrease some of the space inside the house, this style provides 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, numerous windows can be installed.

Shed Dormer

Similar to the doghouse dormer, this type receives its name from having a shape similar to a garden shed. With a flat roof that slopes down at slightly less of an angle than the rest of the home’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 add numerous windows. Casement and double hung windows are commonly found added to shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

While the shed dormer can add the most added area in a home, the eyebrow dormer is used mainly for decorative purposes or building alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer offers no sides and consists of 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 needs. Custom-designed or curved windows are commonly the ideal choices for this type of dormer.

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

To learn more about the best 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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