Should You add Roof Dormers to Your Home?

Dormers add charm, personality, and visual interest to your home’s exterior. There are different types of roof dormers such as hipped, arched top, eyebrow, gabled, and shed. The type of dormer you choose largely depends on the reason or purpose you want the dormer installed. If you’re looking for a home improvement project that is both aesthetically appealing and functional, installing dormer windows are an excellent curb appeal booster. When should you add roof dormers to your home?

Good Reasons for Dormer Windows

Visual interest: Traditional roofing can be boring and monotonous to look at – row after uninterrupted row of asphalt shingles. Dormers are an architectural feature that changes the roofline, creating visual interest by adding a focal point. Installing roof dormers alters the appearance of the roof, transforming it from ordinary to extraordinary.

More light: Roof dormers add light to the inside of a house. When a dormer is built above a living space that is on one level, for example, a living room with a cathedral ceiling or is added to an attic space, it will increase the amount of light coming into the area.

Better circulation: The upper floors of two or more storied homes can quickly become stale as heat rises but doesn’t get a chance to circulate properly. Roof dormers, when the windows are open, improve air quality and improve ventilation.

Maximize a small space: A large type of roof dormer such as a shed dormer, a wall dormer, or a gable dormer can create more headroom and make a small attic space or cramped bedroom near the roofline appear more spacious.

Added value: For those living inside the house, a dormer window provides another perspective on the world outside. Statistics indicate that a living space that is both functional and inviting by the inclusion of dormer windows can increase a home’s resale value.

Dormer Windows and Roof Compatibility

A dormer window is typically built vertically into a roof, designed to created more interior space by making the ceiling higher. It has its own roof – hipped, arched, ornamented, flat, or pointed. If your home has an attic, the roof is most likely stick-framed, a kind of roof that can support functional dormer winders. On the other hand, a truss-framed roof doesn’t have any attic space. While roof dormers can be added for cosmetic purposes, they will not have the same benefits as functional dormers.

Things to Consider Before Adding Dormers

Cost: Unlike skylights, for example, roof dormers are built into the roof. In addition to the actual building materials, depending on the type of dormer window you select and the area where you live, an architect, permits, or both might be required.

False dormer: As mentioned above, false dormers can be added to a roof when a home doesn’t have an attic. Homeowners add false dormers to a roof for several reasons, including giving the appearance of a certain architectural style or adding visual interest to an otherwise bland roof. But in terms of resale value, any home improvements that are strictly cosmetic typically have the lowest return on investment.

Style of roof dormer: The style of dormer often duplicates the shape of the roof but it doesn’t necessarily have to match the style of the main roofing system. Two of the most popular dormer styles are shed and gable. The one you choose is generally determined by the shape and pitch of your roof, as well as the purpose for adding the dormer window.

Purpose of the roof dormer: Smaller sized dormers such as arched top and eyebrow dormers create visual interest and allow more light into the room, but don’t add headroom or more space. If you want to increase the amount of useable space select a wall dormer (increases floor space) or a hip roof dormer (increases headspace).

Size of dormer windows: You want to choose a dormer window size that is proportional to your home’s exterior. Too big and it will be the first thing a visitor notices. A dormer window that is too small might make the house seem unbalanced.

Gutters for Dormer Windows

When deciding if your dormer windows require gutters, keep the following rule in mind. For smaller types of windows like the eyebrow dormer, gutters aren’t necessary; for dormers designed to increase living space, install gutters to help eliminate the possibility of runoff from seeping inside. Installing gutters will also prevent wear and tear on the parts of the roof the rainwater would consistently land.