What Are Dormer Windows?

In older homes, attics tend to be stuffy, darker areas that aren’t the most uninhabitable places to spend time in. Because of this problem, the dormer window style was created. Dormer windows are found on the topmost floor of a home, and appear to be built into or jutting out of the roof. Not only do these window types add light to smaller, mustier attic spaces, they can be a point of architectural significance as well. If you’re outfitting your home for a new roof or are thinking about turning your attic space into a bedroom or study, it might be a good idea to look at options for window replacement in virgina beach that can be fashioned into an elegant dormer window. If you’re not sure about what installing, choosing, or maintaining a dormer window entails, here are a few tips to get you started.

Dormer Windows Come in Tons of Styles

Just like any window types, dormer windows come in a wide array of sizes, shapes, and styles. While many dormer window styles are predetermined by house type, homeowners can find plenty of different options when building a dormer window addition. The best way to figure out what dormer window is right for you is to think about your home’s style and find something that won’t stick out like a sore thumb. For instance, while some of the more exotic-looking styles like Palladium arch dormers and eyelid dormers look amazing, they might not be the best addition to your home, especially if it’s built in a more modern style. The most commonly-installed dormer styles are the gable-fronted and hip-roof dormers, which are covered windows that blend into the roof without a lot of extra detail. Another great option is the “doghouse” dormer, which stands out a bit more and adds more depth to the inside of your attic. For modernist-style homes that have a lot of sharp angles and minimalist architecture, adding a flat-roof dormer can be a great way to break up the visual appearance of a home without bringing in an incongruent style.

They Require a Lot of Planning

Before getting excited about the possibility of installing a new dormer window, there are few things you should be aware of in terms of logistics. Since dormer windows stick out as an architectural feature, you may need to file for a permit in order to build. Permits aren’t strictly necessary in all neighborhoods, but you’ll definitely need to check in case of any restrictions on your block. Since some neighborhoods come with guidelines about how a house can and can’t be built, installing a dormer window could end up being against the rules of a certain area. You also might need to call in contractors to look over your roof and make sure it can support the addition of a dormer window. All in all, you’ll need to be prepared to do a lot of preliminary work to get the project off the ground. Getting your permit will cost you around $200, and the general cost of a window-only dormer is about $4,000. The cost of a larger addition that extends into a bathroom or bedroom rather than an attic can run you as high as $23,000.

You May Need to Install New Gutters and Shingles

Since dormers live on the roof, they sometimes can end up interfering with its general function. If your dormer window is tucked away in a gable-fronted, hip-roof, or shed dormer style, you won’t have as much trouble working around your dormers, and your roof should be able to drain rainwater and snow easily without too much extra intervention. However, in the case of some dormer types that fall lower on the roof area and connect to the first or second floor of the home, such as wall dormers, you may be dealing with a significant gap between your gutters. Since gutters are supposed to extend all the way around the roof in order to be effective, installing a wall dormer could mean that you’ll need to get creative and find new ways to keep your gutters working efficiently. The same goes for shingles, especially if you’re installing an eyelid-style dormer. If your dormer doesn’t involve building a separate structure like a hood or sheet cover, you’ll need to put irregularly-sized and shaped shingles over your dormer to cover it and make sure you don’t end up dealing with leaks and damage. For best results, consult with your contractor about the best dormer style for your home type.