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Finding the Right Window for Your Home's Dormer

Finding the Right Window for Your Home's Dormer

Few things immediately influence a room like natural light. Improving natural light does more than just make rooms warm and cozy. It can also increase the resale value of a home.

But what happens when the style of your house makes it difficult to add 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 plan to turn a windowless attic into a new living space.

That’s where dormers are helpful. Dormers are small additions often used to add usable space in a loft and create window options 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 contain a window, the term "dormer" is commonly used to refer to a "dormer window."

Typically (but not always) small, dormers can create those few additional square feet of space you need to make your loft exactly how you planned 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 room for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that embellishes your home’s curb appeal 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 often fall into two common designs, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being built. While the shape of a dormer can often decide what space can hold a window, most dormer styles can use any type of window. Here’s a look at the most frequently used dormer styles and the window types to use 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. 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 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 unique shape, gabled dormers often are best suited with a specialty window or awning window.

Hip Roof Dormer

Found frequently on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style houses, hip roof dormers consist 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 house, this style provides better defense against high winds.

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

Shed Dormer

Just as with the doghouse dormer, this dormer receives its name from having a look similar to a garden shed. With a flat roof that slopes downward at slightly less of an angle than the rest of the building’s roof, shed dormers are commonly found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.

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

Eyebrow Dormer

Where the shed dormer can add the most space in a home, the eyebrow dormer is built mainly for decorative purposes or developing 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 style. Custom-designed or curved windows are frequently 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 improve space in your home, make sure to look at the same features you would prioritize for when buying other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.

To discover more about the best 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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