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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. Added natural light does more than just make living spaces warm and cozy. It can also improve the resale value of a home.

But what can you do when the style of your house makes it more challenging to add natural light to all of your rooms? Cape Cod style houses, for example, often don’t have a full second story. In other homes, a remodeling job might plan to turn a windowless attic into a new living room.

That’s where dormers are useful. Dormers are small additions often 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 provide additional square footage as one of the primary elements of a loft remodel. While they may not always include a window, the term "dormer" is regularly 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 home exactly how you want it. Maybe it's a basic doghouse dormer that brings some additional light and a view. Maybe it's a shed dormer that opens extra area for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that embellishes your home’s exterior while creating additional space indoors. Dormers are a great idea for space-challenged areas.

What are the styles?

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

Gabled/Doghouse Dormer

A simple 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. Found on many styles of homes, the front of a gabled dormer appears as 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 bring additional functionality, such as a space right 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 commonly on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style homes, hip roof dormers consist of three converging roof sides with a window in the front. While the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer impact some of the space inside the home, this style offers better defense against weather.

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

Shed Dormer

Similar to the doghouse dormer, this dormer receives 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 often found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.

Ideal window type: With the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to install multiple 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 home, the eyebrow dormer is used mainly for decorative purposes or building 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 be unique from house to house, so the type of window will alter to meet the specific look. Custom-designed or curved windows are commonly the suitable choices for this type 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 look at the same features you would identify 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 find a replacement window for your existing dormer, talk to a Pella® professional today!

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