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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 influence a room like natural light. Added 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 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 space.

That’s where dormers are a good solution. Dormers are small additions commonly used to bring usable space in a loft and create window options in a roof plane. Dormers are mostly small in total area but can provide additional square footage as one of the main 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 create those few additional square feet of area you need to make your home 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 space for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that embellishes your home’s outside while creating additional space internally. Dormers are a great idea for space-challenged areas.

What are the styles?

There are many different types of dormers. American homes often fall into two common styles, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being built. While the shape of a dormer can often dictate what space fits 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 basic and relatively smaller architectural element from the outside, a doghouse dormer (also known as a gabled dormer) can bring 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 create a point at the top. It creates the appearance of a traditional doghouse. Inside the house, a doghouse dormer can offer additional functionality, such as a space right for a built-in seat or storage.

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

Hip Roof Dormer

Found commonly on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style buildings, hip roof dormers are made of three converging roof sides with a window in the front. Though the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer decrease some of the space inside the home, this style provides better defense against the elements.

Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are most commonly 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 added.

Shed Dormer

Similar to the doghouse dormer, this dormer takes 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 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 add many windows. Casement and double hung windows are commonly found installed on shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

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

Dormer additions and dormer windows offer your home more than just curb appeal. If planning dormers to increase space in your room, make sure to review the same features you would prioritize 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 look for a replacement window for your existing dormer, get in touch with a Pella® professional today!

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