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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. Increasing natural light does more than just make your home inviting and cozy. It can also impact the curb appeal of a home.

But what happens when the style of your house makes it difficult to get natural light to all of your rooms? Cape Cod style builds, for example, often don’t have a full second story. In other cases, a remodeling job might aim to turn a windowless attic into a new living area.

That’s where dormers are a good solution. Dormers are small additions frequently used to add usable space in a loft and create window space in a roof plane. Dormers are often small in total area but can create additional square footage as one of the main elements of a loft project. While they may not always include a window, the term "dormer" is usually used to indicate a "dormer window."

Typically (but not always) small, dormers can create those few additional square feet of freedom you need to make your home exactly how you planned it. Maybe it's a modest 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 curb appeal while creating additional space inside. Dormers are a great remedy for space-challenged areas.

What are the styles?

There are many different styles of dormers. American homes mostly fall into two common types, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being created. While the shape of a dormer can often determine what space fits a window, most dormer styles can use any style of window. Here’s a look at the most recognized dormer styles and the window types to use for each:

Gabled/Doghouse Dormer

A modest and relatively minor architectural element from the outside, a doghouse dormer (also known as a gabled dormer) can offer extra light and space inside a loft area. Seen on many styles of dwellings, the front of a gabled dormer appears as a mini-roof that rises to form a point at the top. It creates the look of a traditional doghouse. Inside the structure, a doghouse dormer can bring additional functionality, such as a space suited for a built-in seat or storage.

Ideal window type: Due to their particular shape, gabled dormers often require a specialty window or awning window.

Hip Roof Dormer

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

Ideal window type: Double-hung windows are most commonly 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 placed.

Shed Dormer

Much like the doghouse dormer, this style takes its name from having a look similar to a garden shed. With a flat roof that slopes forward 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 commonly found added to shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

Though the shed dormer can create the most space in a living space, the eyebrow dormer is added mainly for decorative purposes or creating alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer provides no sides and features a curved roof that gives it its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque architectural styles commonly 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 needs. Custom-designed or curved windows are often the ideal choices for this style of dormer.

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

To find out more about the perfect 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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