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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 welcoming and cozy. It can also improve the resale value of a home.

But what happens when the style of your house makes it harder 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 situations, a remodeling job might plan to turn a windowless attic into a new living area.

That’s where dormers are a good solution. Dormers are small additions commonly used to increase usable space in a loft and create window space in a roof plane. Dormers are usually small in total area but can provide additional square footage as one of the primary elements of a loft conversion. While they may not always include a window, the term "dormer" is commonly used to indicate a "dormer window."

Typically (but not always) small, dormers can create those few additional square feet of freedom you need to make your home exactly how you envision it. Maybe it's a modest 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 inside. 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 added. While the type of a dormer can often decide what space can hold 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 ideal for each:

Gabled/Doghouse Dormer

A simple and relatively small 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 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 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 are best suited with a specialty window or awning window.

Hip Roof Dormer

Found often on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style buildings, hip roof dormers are built with 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 offers better defense against weather.

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, many windows can be placed.

Shed Dormer

Much like the doghouse dormer, this dormer gets its name from having a form 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 add multiple windows. Casement and double hung windows are frequently found placed in shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

Where the shed dormer can create the most added area in a living space, the eyebrow dormer is used mainly for decorative purposes or creating alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer provides no sides and consists of a curved roof that gives this dormer its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque design styles frequently 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 style. Custom-designed or curved windows are frequently the ideal choices for this style of dormer.

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

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

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