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Finding the Right Window for Your Home's Dormer

Finding the Right Window for Your Home's Dormer

Few things immediately change a room like natural light. Increasing natural light does more than just make rooms welcoming and cozy. It can also impact the curb appeal of a home.

But what options do homeowners have when the style of your house makes it difficult to add 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 plan to turn a windowless attic into a new living space.

That’s why dormers are a good solution. Dormers are small additions frequently used to bring usable space in a loft and create window openings in a roof plane. Dormers are mostly small in total area but can result in additional square footage as one of the central elements of a loft conversion. While they may not always include a window, the term "dormer" is usually used to refer to a "dormer window."

Typically (but not always) small, dormers can add those few additional square feet of freedom 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 opens extra room 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 variations of dormers. American homes tend to fall into two common designs, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being created. While the shape of a dormer can often determine what space fits a window, most dormer styles can include any type of window. Here’s a look at the most frequently used dormer styles and the window types ideal 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 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 create a point at the top. It creates the shape of a traditional doghouse. Inside the house, a doghouse dormer can create additional functionality, such as a space ideal 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 frequently on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style houses, 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 take away some of the space inside the house, this style provides 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, many windows can be installed.

Shed Dormer

Similar to the doghouse dormer, this dormer gets its name from having a form 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 often 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 commonly found added to shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

Though the shed dormer can bring the most space in a home, the eyebrow dormer is built mainly for decorative purposes or building alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer has no sides and features a curved roof that gives it its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque design 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 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 improve space in your house, make sure to review the same features you would identify for when purchasing 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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