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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. Added natural light does more than just make your home welcoming and cozy. It can also increase the resale value of a home.

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

That’s when dormers are a good solution. 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 project. While they may not always feature a window, the term "dormer" is commonly used to refer to a "dormer window."

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

What are the styles?

There are many different styles 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 shape of a dormer can often decide what space fits a window, most dormer styles can include any design of window. Here’s a look at the most recognized dormer styles and the window types best suited 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 offer extra light and space inside a loft area. Seen on many styles of homes, the front of a gabled dormer looks like a mini-roof that rises to form a point at the top. It creates the shape of a traditional doghouse. Inside the structure, a doghouse dormer can offer additional functionality, such as a space suited for a built-in seat or storage.

Ideal window type: Due to their specific shape, gabled dormers often are best suited with a specialty window or awning window.

Hip Roof Dormer

Found often on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style homes, hip roof dormers consist of three converging roof sides with a window in the front. While the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer impact some of the space inside the home, this style brings better defense against the elements.

Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are often found in hip roof dormers, pairing with the traditional look of the architectural style. Depending on the size of the dormer, multiple 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 forward at slightly less of an angle than the rest of the house’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 multiple windows. Casement and double hung windows are commonly found placed in shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

Though the shed dormer can add the most room in a living space, the eyebrow dormer is used mainly for decorative purposes or creating alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer offers no sides and features a curved roof that gives this dormer its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque design styles commonly feature eyebrow dormers.

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

Dormer additions and dormer windows bring your home more than just curb appeal. If planning dormers to improve space in your house, make sure to review the same features you would find important for when investing in other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.

To find out more about the perfect 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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