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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. Increasing natural light does more than just make your home inviting and cozy. It can also impact the resale value of a home.

But what can you do when the style of your house makes it more challenging 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 homes, a remodeling job might plan to turn a windowless attic into a new living area.

That’s when dormers are a good solution. Dormers are small additions commonly used to add 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 primary elements of a loft remodel. 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 simple doghouse dormer that brings some additional light and a view. Maybe it's a shed dormer that provides extra space 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 remedy for space-challenged areas.

What are the styles?

There are many different types of dormers. American homes tend to fall into two common styles, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being built. While the style of a dormer can often determine what space is available for 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 ideal for each:

Gabled/Doghouse Dormer

A simple and relatively minor architectural element from the outside, a doghouse dormer (also known as a gabled dormer) can add extra light and space inside a loft area. Seen 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 suited for a built-in seat or storage.

Ideal window type: Due to their unique shape, gabled dormers often require a specialty window or awning window.

Hip Roof Dormer

Found often 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 decrease some of the space inside the room, this style brings better defense against high winds.

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

Shed Dormer

Just as with the doghouse dormer, this dormer receives 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 house’s roof, shed dormers are frequently found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.

Ideal window type: Due to the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to place multiple windows. Casement and double hung windows are frequently found installed on shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

While the shed dormer can create the most space in a home, the eyebrow dormer is used mainly for decorative purposes or creating alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer offers no sides and is highlighted by a curved roof that gives it its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque architectural styles commonly use 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 frequently the best choices for this type of dormer.

Dormer additions and dormer windows bring your home more than just curb appeal. If placing dormers to improve space in your house, make sure to look at the same features you would identify 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 look for a replacement window for your existing dormer, get in touch with a Pella® professional today!

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