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

But what happens 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 cases, a remodeling job might aim to turn a windowless attic into a new living room.

That’s where dormers are helpful. Dormers are small additions frequently used to add usable space in a loft and create window options 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 project. While they may not always contain a window, the term "dormer" is regularly used to describe a "dormer window."

Typically (but not always) small, dormers can provide those few additional square feet of freedom you need to make your room exactly how you envision it. Maybe it's a simple doghouse dormer that brings some additional light and a view. Maybe it's a shed dormer that opens extra space for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that adds style to your home’s exterior while creating additional space indoors. Dormers are a great solution for space-challenged areas.

What are the styles?

There are many different variations of dormers. American homes mostly fall into two common styles, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being created. While the style of a dormer can often determine what space can hold a window, most dormer styles can use any design of window. Here’s a look at the most recognized dormer styles and the window types ideal 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 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 shape 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 particular shape, gabled dormers often need a specialty window or awning window.

Hip Roof Dormer

Found frequently on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style homes, 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 room, this style offers better defense against the elements.

Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are often found in hip roof dormers, matching the traditional look of the home’s style. Depending on the size of the dormer, multiple windows can be added.

Shed Dormer

Just as with the doghouse dormer, this type receives its name from having a shape similar to a garden shed. With a flat roof that slopes downward 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 place numerous windows. Casement and double hung windows are commonly found added to shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

While the shed dormer can bring the most added area in a living space, the eyebrow dormer is added mainly for decorative purposes or developing alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer offers no sides and features a curved roof that gives it its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque home styles commonly use eyebrow dormers.

Ideal window type: Eyebrow dormers can vary from house to house, so the type of window will alter to meet the specific style. Custom-designed or curved windows are commonly the suitable choices for this kind of dormer.

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

To find out 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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