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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 rooms welcoming and cozy. It can also impact the curb appeal of a home.

But what happens when the style of your house makes it more challenging to bring natural light to all of your rooms? Cape Cod style builds, for example, often don’t have a full second story. In other situations, a remodeling job might aim to turn a windowless attic into a new living space.

That’s where dormers are helpful. Dormers are small additions commonly used to bring usable space in a loft and create window space in a roof plane. Dormers are often small in total area but can create additional square footage as one of the main elements of a loft project. While they may not always contain a window, the term "dormer" is usually used to indicate a "dormer window."

Typically (but not always) small, dormers can add those few additional square feet of space you need to make your room 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 area 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 type of a dormer can often decide 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 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 bring extra light and space inside a loft area. Common on many styles of dwellings, the front of a gabled dormer can be identified by a mini-roof that rises to end in a point at the top. It creates the appearance of a traditional doghouse. Inside the structure, a doghouse dormer can bring additional functionality, such as a space suited for a built-in seat or storage.

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

Hip Roof Dormer

Found often on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style homes, 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 home, this style provides better defense against weather.

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

Much like the doghouse dormer, this style takes its name from having a look similar to a garden shed. With a flat roof that slopes down at slightly less of an angle than the rest of the building’s roof, shed dormers are frequently found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.

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

Eyebrow Dormer

Where the shed dormer can add the most room in a living space, the eyebrow dormer is built mainly for decorative purposes or building alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer has no sides and consists of a curved roof that gives it its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque architectural styles frequently use eyebrow dormers.

Ideal window type: Eyebrow dormers can differ 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 kind of dormer.

Dormer additions and dormer windows bring your home more than just curb appeal. If adding dormers to add space in your room, make sure to review the same features you would prioritize 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 find a replacement window for your existing dormer, call a Pella® professional today!

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