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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. Improving natural light does more than just make your home welcoming and cozy. It can also improve the selling price of a home.

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

That’s why dormers are helpful. Dormers are small additions frequently used to bring usable space in a loft and create window options in a roof plane. Dormers are usually small in total area but can create 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 regularly used to refer to a "dormer window."

Typically (but not always) small, dormers can provide those few additional square feet of freedom you need to make your home exactly how you planned 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 area for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that embellishes your home’s curb appeal while creating additional space internally. Dormers are a great idea for space-challenged areas.

What are the styles?

There are many different types of dormers. American homes often fall into two common types, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being built. While the style of a dormer can often determine what space fits a window, most dormer styles can include any style 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 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 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 structure, 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 specific shape, gabled dormers often are best suited with a specialty window or awning window.

Hip Roof Dormer

Found commonly on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style buildings, hip roof dormers consist of three converging roof sides with a window in the front. Although the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer decrease some of the space inside the home, this style offers better defense against the elements.

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

Shed Dormer

Much like the doghouse dormer, this type 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 frequently 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 often found installed on shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

Though the shed dormer can add the most room in a home, the eyebrow dormer is added 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 home styles commonly add eyebrow dormers.

Ideal window type: Eyebrow dormers can be unique 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 bring your home more than just curb appeal. If placing dormers to add space in your house, make sure to review the same features you would prioritize for when investing in other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.

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

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