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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 your home welcoming and cozy. It can also increase the curb appeal of a home.

But what can you do 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 area.

That’s when 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 often small in total area but can create additional square footage as one of the central elements of a loft project. While they may not always contain a window, the term "dormer" is commonly used to refer to a "dormer window."

Typically (but not always) small, dormers can create those few additional square feet of space you need to make your room exactly how you envision 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 area for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that enhances your home’s outside while creating additional space internally. 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 types, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being added. While the type of a dormer can often dictate what space is available for a window, most dormer styles can use any type of window. Here’s a look at the most recognized dormer styles and the window types to use 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 offer extra light and space inside a loft area. Found 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 house, a doghouse dormer can offer additional functionality, such as a space ideal 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 houses, hip roof dormers consist of three converging roof sides with a window in the front. Although the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer take away some of the space inside the home, this style offers better defense against high winds.

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 form similar to a garden shed. With a flat roof that slopes downward at slightly less of an angle than the rest of the building’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 install 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 living space, the eyebrow dormer is built 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 the style its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque home styles often use 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 needs. Custom-designed or curved windows are frequently the ideal choices for this type of dormer.

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

To find out more about the right 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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