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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 warm and cozy. It can also increase the selling price of a home.

But what can you do when the style of your house makes it harder 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 homes, a remodeling job might look to turn a windowless attic into a new living area.

That’s why dormers are a good solution. Dormers are small additions often used to add usable space in a loft and create window options in a roof plane. Dormers are usually small in total area but can provide 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 indicate a "dormer window."

Typically (but not always) small, dormers can provide those few additional square feet of space you need to make your room exactly how you planned it. Maybe it's a basic 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 curb appeal while creating additional space indoors. Dormers are a great idea for space-challenged areas.

What are the styles?

There are many different variations of dormers. American homes mostly fall into two common designs, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being added. While the type of a dormer can often determine what space fits 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 looks like a mini-roof that rises to create a point at the top. It creates the look of a traditional doghouse. Inside the house, a doghouse dormer can create 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 require a specialty window or awning window.

Hip Roof Dormer

Found commonly on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style houses, 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 room, this style offers better defense against weather.

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

Shed Dormer

Much like the doghouse dormer, this type gets its name from having a shape similar to a garden shed. With a flat roof that slopes forward at slightly less of an angle than the rest of the home’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 install numerous windows. Casement and double hung windows are commonly found added to shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

While the shed dormer can add the most room 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 consists of a curved roof that gives the style its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque design 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 commonly the suitable choices for this kind of dormer.

Dormer additions and dormer windows provide your home more than just curb appeal. If planning dormers to increase space in your house, make sure to look at the same features you would find important for when purchasing other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.

To discover more about the best 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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