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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. Increasing natural light does more than just make your home warm 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 harder to bring natural light to all of your rooms? Cape Cod style houses, for example, often don’t have a full second story. In other situations, a remodeling job might plan to turn a windowless attic into a new living space.

That’s why dormers are a good solution. 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 primary elements of a loft conversion. 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 space you need to make your home 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 provides extra room for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that adds style to your home’s exterior while creating additional space inside. 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 types, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being built. While the style of a dormer can often dictate what space is available for a window, most dormer styles can include any type 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 small 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 homes, the front of a gabled dormer looks like a mini-roof that rises to form a point at the top. It creates the look of a traditional doghouse. Inside the home, a doghouse dormer can bring additional functionality, such as a space ideal for a built-in seat or storage.

Ideal window type: Due to their specific 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 made of 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 home, this style offers better defense against weather.

Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are most commonly found in hip roof dormers, reflecting the traditional look of the architectural style. Depending on the size of the dormer, numerous windows can be added.

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 home’s roof, shed dormers are frequently found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.

Ideal window type: With the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to add numerous windows. Casement and double hung windows are commonly found installed on shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

While the shed dormer can add the most added area in a house, the eyebrow dormer is built mainly for decorative purposes or creating alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer has no sides and is highlighted by a curved roof that gives the style its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque architectural styles frequently feature 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 commonly the ideal choices for this style of dormer.

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

To discover more about the best window for a new dormer or consider a replacement window for your existing dormer, talk to a Pella® professional today!

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