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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 rooms inviting and cozy. It can also impact the selling price of a home.

But what can you do when the style of your house makes it difficult to get natural light to all of your rooms? Cape Cod style houses, 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 a good solution. Dormers are small additions frequently used to add usable space in a loft and create window options in a roof plane. Dormers are mostly small in total area but can provide additional square footage as one of the primary elements of a loft remodel. While they may not always feature a window, the term "dormer" is regularly used to describe a "dormer window."

Typically (but not always) small, dormers can provide those few additional square feet of space you need to make your home exactly how you want it. Maybe it's a simple doghouse dormer that brings some additional light and a view. Maybe it's a shed dormer that creates extra room for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that adds style to your home’s outside while creating additional space internally. Dormers are a great remedy for space-challenged areas.

What are the styles?

There are many different styles of dormers. American homes tend to fall into two common types, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being built. While the type of a dormer can often decide 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 ideal for each:

Gabled/Doghouse Dormer

A modest 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 can be identified by a mini-roof that rises to end in a point at the top. It creates the look of a traditional doghouse. Inside the house, a doghouse dormer can offer 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 are best suited with a specialty window or awning window.

Hip Roof Dormer

Found often on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style houses, hip roof dormers consist of 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 home, this style brings better defense against the elements.

Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are often found in hip roof dormers, pairing with the traditional look of the house’s style. Depending on the size of the dormer, numerous 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 downward 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: Due to the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to add numerous windows. Casement and double hung windows are often found installed on shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

While the shed dormer can create the most room in a house, the eyebrow dormer is used mainly for decorative purposes or developing alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer offers no sides and features a curved roof that gives this dormer 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 style. Custom-designed or curved windows are frequently the ideal choices for this kind of dormer.

Dormer additions and dormer windows provide your home more than just curb appeal. If placing dormers to add space in your home, 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 learn more about the best window for a new dormer or find a replacement window for your existing dormer, talk to a Pella® professional today!

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