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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. Increasing natural light does more than just make rooms warm and cozy. It can also improve the selling price 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 cases, a remodeling job might plan to turn a windowless attic into a new living room.

That’s why dormers are useful. Dormers are small additions frequently used to bring usable space in a loft and create window openings in a roof plane. Dormers are often small in total area but can provide additional square footage as one of the central elements of a loft remodel. 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 provide those few additional square feet of space you need to make your home exactly how you want it. Maybe it's a modest 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 enhances your home’s exterior while creating additional space internally. Dormers are a great solution for space-challenged areas.

What are the styles?

There are many different styles of dormers. American homes mostly fall into two common styles, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being built. While the style of a dormer can often dictate what space fits a window, most dormer styles can use any design of window. Here’s a look at the most common 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. Found on many styles of homes, the front of a gabled dormer looks like a mini-roof that rises to form a point at the top. It creates the shape of a traditional doghouse. Inside the home, a doghouse dormer can create 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 need a specialty window or awning window.

Hip Roof Dormer

Found commonly on Craftsman, Shingle and Prairie style homes, hip roof dormers are built with three converging roof sides with a window in the front. Though the sloping planes of a hip roof dormer decrease some of the space inside the room, this style brings better defense against high winds.

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

Shed Dormer

Much like the doghouse dormer, this style receives its name from having a look 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 often found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.

Ideal window type: With the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to place many windows. Casement and double hung windows are frequently found added to shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

While the shed dormer can bring the most space in a house, the eyebrow dormer is built mainly for decorative purposes or creating alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer has no sides and consists of a curved roof that gives the style its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque home styles frequently add eyebrow dormers.

Ideal window type: Eyebrow dormers can vary from house to house, so the type of window will alter to meet the specific style. 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 placing dormers to improve space in your home, make sure to review the same features you would prioritize for when purchasing other replacement home windows such as energy efficiency and build quality.

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

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