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Finding the Right Window for Your Home's Dormer

Finding the Right Window for Your Home's Dormer

Few touches immediately influence a room like natural light. Increasing natural light does more than just make your home welcoming and cozy. It can also improve the selling price of a home.

But what happens 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 room.

That’s where dormers are helpful. Dormers are small additions commonly used to increase usable space in a loft and create window openings 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 project. While they may not always contain a window, the term "dormer" is usually 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 envision 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 area for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that embellishes your home’s outside while creating additional space indoors. 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 designs, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being built. While the type of a dormer can often decide what space can hold a window, most dormer styles can use any style of window. Here’s a look at the most common dormer styles and the window types ideal for each:

Gabled/Doghouse Dormer

A basic 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 houses, the front of a gabled dormer looks like a mini-roof that rises to end in a point at the top. It creates the appearance of a traditional doghouse. Inside the house, a doghouse dormer can offer additional functionality, such as a space suited for a built-in seat or storage.

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

Hip Roof Dormer

Found often 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 decrease some of the space inside the house, this style brings 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, numerous windows can be placed.

Shed Dormer

Just as with the doghouse dormer, this style gets its name from having a shape similar to a garden shed. With a flat roof that slopes downward 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: With the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to install numerous windows. Casement and double hung windows are commonly found added to shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

Though the shed dormer can add the most space in a home, the eyebrow dormer is added mainly for decorative purposes or creating alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer offers no sides and features a curved roof that gives it its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque architectural styles frequently add eyebrow dormers.

Ideal window type: Eyebrow dormers can vary 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 offer your home more than just curb appeal. If placing dormers to add space in your room, make sure to consider the same features you would identify for when buying 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, talk to a Pella® professional today!

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