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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 change a room like natural light. Improving natural light does more than just make your home welcoming and cozy. It can also impact the resale value of a home.

But what options do homeowners have when the style of your house makes it difficult to get 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 frequently used to add 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 contain a window, the term "dormer" is commonly used to describe a "dormer window."

Typically (but not always) small, dormers can add those few additional square feet of area you need to make your home 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 creates extra space for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that embellishes your home’s exterior while creating additional space internally. Dormers are a great solution for space-challenged areas.

What are the styles?

There are many different types of dormers. American homes mostly fall into two common designs, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being created. While the type of a dormer can often dictate what space is available for a window, most dormer styles can use any type of window. Here’s a look at the most frequently used dormer styles and the window types to use for each:

Gabled/Doghouse Dormer

A simple and relatively smaller 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 appears as 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 bring 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 require a specialty window or awning window.

Hip Roof Dormer

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

Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are frequently 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

Similar to the doghouse dormer, this type 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: With the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to place numerous windows. Casement and double hung windows are frequently found added to shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

Though the shed dormer can bring the most space in a home, the eyebrow dormer is used mainly for decorative purposes or building alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer has no sides and is highlighted by 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 look. Custom-designed or curved windows are frequently the suitable choices for this type of dormer.

Dormer additions and dormer windows provide your home more than just curb appeal. If planning dormers to improve 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 find out more about the right window for a new dormer or look for a replacement window for your existing dormer, talk to a Pella® professional today!

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