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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. Added natural light does more than just make rooms welcoming and cozy. It can also increase the selling price of a home.

But what options do homeowners have when the style of your house makes it more challenging to bring 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 when dormers are a good solution. Dormers are small additions often used to increase usable space in a loft and create window space in a roof plane. Dormers are often small in total area but can result in additional square footage as one of the central elements of a loft project. While they may not always feature a window, the term "dormer" is regularly used to refer to 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 basic doghouse dormer that brings some additional light and a view. Maybe it's a shed dormer that provides extra space for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that embellishes your home’s outside 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 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 handle any type of window. Here’s a look at the most recognized dormer styles and the window types ideal for each:

Gabled/Doghouse Dormer

A modest and relatively small architectural element from the outside, a doghouse dormer (also known as a gabled dormer) can bring extra light and space inside a loft area. Seen on many styles of homes, the front of a gabled dormer can be identified by a mini-roof that rises to end in a point at the top. It creates the appearance of a traditional doghouse. Inside the structure, a doghouse dormer can bring 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 buildings, hip roof dormers are made of three converging roof sides with a window in the front. Although the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer impact some of the space inside the home, this style brings better defense against high winds.

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

Shed Dormer

Much like the doghouse dormer, this dormer gets its name from having a look 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 place multiple windows. Casement and double hung windows are often found placed in shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

Though the shed dormer can add the most space in a living space, 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 this dormer its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque architectural styles frequently feature 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 planning dormers to improve space in your home, make sure to consider the same features you would find important for when buying other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.

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

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