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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 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 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 space.

That’s why dormers are useful. Dormers are small additions frequently used to add usable space in a loft and create window openings in a roof plane. Dormers are mostly 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 feature a window, the term "dormer" is usually used to describe a "dormer window."

Typically (but not always) small, dormers can create those few additional square feet of area you need to make your home 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 opens extra area for a large bath. Or maybe it's an eyebrow dormer that adds style to 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 types of dormers. American homes mostly fall into two common designs, based on the type of roof on which the dormer is being created. While the type of a dormer can often determine what space is available for a window, most dormer styles can use any style 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 smaller architectural element from the outside, a doghouse dormer (also known as a gabled dormer) can offer extra light and space inside a loft area. Common on many styles of houses, the front of a gabled dormer can be identified by a mini-roof that rises to form a point at the top. It creates the appearance of a traditional doghouse. Inside the house, a doghouse dormer can create additional functionality, such as a space suited for a built-in seat or storage.

Ideal window type: Due to their unique shape, gabled dormers often require 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 high winds.

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, multiple windows can be placed.

Shed Dormer

Just as with the doghouse dormer, this style gets its name from having a look 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 commonly found on Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes.

Ideal window type: With the width of shed dormers, it’s easy to add many windows. Casement and double hung windows are often found placed in shed dormers.

Eyebrow Dormer

Where the shed dormer can bring the most added area in a house, the eyebrow dormer is added mainly for decorative purposes or building alcove space. The low and wide-shaped dormer offers no sides and is highlighted by a curved roof that gives this dormer its name. Queen Anne and Romanesque design styles commonly add eyebrow dormers.

Ideal window type: Eyebrow dormers can differ from house to house, so the type of window will alter to meet the specific needs. Custom-designed or curved windows are frequently the best choices for this type of dormer.

Dormer additions and dormer windows provide your home more than just curb appeal. If placing dormers to improve space in your house, 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 best window for a new dormer or find a replacement window for your existing dormer, call a Pella® professional today!

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