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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 your home warm and cozy. It can also increase the selling price 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 look to turn a windowless attic into a new living room.

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

Typically (but not always) small, dormers can create those few additional square feet of area you need to make your room exactly how you want 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 area 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 variations 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 decide what space fits a window, most dormer styles can include any design of window. Here’s a look at the most common 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 add extra light and space inside a loft area. Common on many styles of dwellings, the front of a gabled dormer looks like a mini-roof that rises to end in 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 specific 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 consist of three converging roof sides with a window in the front. Though the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer take away some of the space inside the house, this style brings better defense against high winds.

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

Shed Dormer

Just as with the doghouse dormer, this dormer takes its name from having a look 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 frequently found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.

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

Eyebrow Dormer

While the shed dormer can bring the most added area in a living space, the eyebrow dormer is built mainly for decorative purposes or developing alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer has no sides and consists of a curved roof that gives this dormer its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque home styles frequently use 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 bring your home more than just curb appeal. If placing dormers to increase space in your home, make sure to look at the same features you would prioritize for when purchasing other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.

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

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