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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. Improving natural light does more than just make your home inviting and cozy. It can also improve the curb appeal of a home.

But what options do homeowners have 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 space.

That’s where dormers are helpful. Dormers are small additions often used to bring 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 primary elements of a loft remodel. While they may not always contain a window, the term "dormer" is usually used to refer to a "dormer window."

Typically (but not always) small, dormers can provide those few additional square feet of space you need to make your room exactly how you envision it. Maybe it's a basic doghouse dormer that brings some additional light and a view. Maybe it's a shed dormer that creates extra space for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that enhances your home’s outside while creating additional space indoors. 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 types, 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 include any style 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 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 houses, the front of a gabled dormer appears as a mini-roof that rises to end in a point at the top. It creates the look of a traditional doghouse. Inside the home, 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 frequently on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style houses, hip roof dormers are built with three converging roof sides with a window in the front. While the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer take away some of the space inside the room, this style brings better defense against high winds.

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

Shed Dormer

Much like the doghouse dormer, this type takes its name from having a shape similar to a garden shed. With a flat roof that slopes down 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: Due to 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

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 provides no sides and features a curved roof that gives this dormer its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque home styles often use 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 often the ideal choices for this type of dormer.

Dormer additions and dormer windows bring 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 identify for when investing in other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.

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

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