12 Different Types of Dormers (With Pictures)


It is always a good idea to install dormers in your home if you prefer a sunny atmosphere or if you need additional space in your attic. It is not important if you have a room in your attic or just use it as storage space because dormers can always provide many benefits.

Some of them are also used to help with your home’s ventilation, make your room brighter, increase curb appeal, add additional space, or just make your home more appealing to others’ eyes. Dormers have their pros and cons, and in this article, we’ll discuss the cost of their installation and the types that you can install on your home. So, let’s start!

What Is a Dormer?

A dormer is considered a roofed structure that comes with a window and is positioned vertically beyond the plane of a pitched roof. You can choose to frame them carefully and cover them in the same material that your roof is made of so that they blend in with your home or make them in a way that they stand out from it.

They are called dormers because of the word “dormitory”. The idea to build dormers came because people wanted to have extra space on the upper floor where their servants could live or even their children if they do not have enough space in their primary living space.

Also, be sure to read Everything To Know About Skillion Roofs (Expert Explain).

Why It Is Good To Have a Dormer?

They are practical, and they can provide you with extra space and sunlight, and also make your house look more appealing. But that’s not all, there are many other things, so let’s start.

  • Dormers Add More Natural Light

By adding a dormer, you will have more sunlight in your room. No matter if the room is a bedroom or an attic, it will make it sunnier and seem bigger either way.

  • Dormers Add More Room

Dormers provide extra space in your room because they pop out of the roof. This space can be easily used for a bed, a desk, just a window seat, or even a play area for kids.

  • Enjoy the View

Installing a dormer can help you have a better view of the landscape and your surroundings because you will be higher and therefore be able to see better. A dormer can provide a beautiful atmosphere for your room, especially if you have ponds, woods, or fields close to you.

  • Safety

A dormer can also be useful if it comes to a fire or other danger. It can serve as an escape and it is practical because you can safely land directly on the roof from it and then find a way to go down.

  • Visual Appeal

Adding some dormers to your home will for sure make your house more appealing to others. Your house will always stand out this way because it is not bland and the architecture is more complicated when dormers are present on your roof. They can make your home more valuable for sale.

Some people even choose to install fake dormers that do not have any function just because they like its looks. These dormers do not provide extra space or anything and therefore are called blind dormers.

Things To Consider Before Adding a Dormer

If you want to install dormers in your home, you need to be aware that it will be an additional cost that could cost you even more if you decide to add them after your home is already built. People sometimes choose to build dormers right away when they are building or renovating their house because it is less expensive when it is already planned. If you wish to build them later, you will probably need to change the structure of the roof or interior walls, which is an additional cost.

The cheapest option is to add a blind dormer. However, this may be cheaper, but this way, you do not benefit from it in any way – you just make your house look more attractive. When installing blind dormers, you do not need to change the roof’s structure, which is why it is a lot less expensive. You can just put it on the roof without further hard work. There are also other factors that you may have to think through in order to be fully aware of what a dormer really is.

  • More Maintenance

If you add a dormer to your roof, you will have to be more careful because the chance of leaks will increase. That is because it is easy to develop leaks on the seals of the formation that is sticking out of the roof than just on the straight roof. For that reason, you should always check those seals and also the material that you have around the dormer at least once a year.

  • It May Not be Possible to Add a Dormer

Not all roofs are suitable for a dormer. Some sloped roofs cannot have dormers because they do not have room for one. It is not a problem to add a dormer if you have open space above your ceiling or an attic, but with a sloped roof, trusses will probably make it not doable and may require great structural support.

If you really want a dormer, you can try and add a blind one but this way, you do not have any benefits that regular dormers offer. Sometimes, people are unsure if they can or cannot add a dormer to the roof. The best thing to do is ask a roofing specialist or a builder who will be able to tell you if it is possible to add a dormer to your roof.

  • Dormers Are Not Energy-Efficient

The thing about heat is that you lose more of it out of glass widows than you do out of the roof or walls. You can see that if you touch your window during low temperatures you will find out that it is colder than the wall. This is why you should be careful about installing a dormer if you live somewhere where it is cold most of the time because it can affect your energy bill since the room will always feel colder because of a dormer.

There are some ways that can help you make your dormers more insulated but the thing is that you will need to add more insulating material to the window and then remove it when it is warm outside. You can try installing double-pane or triple-pane windows but it will not help you much during cold weather.

  • Dormers Don’t Always Fit With Design

You need to be careful when installing a dormer because not every fits all architectural styles. It may be weird to install a dormer if your house is designed with a straight roof. Also, if your house is more complicated in design, it can even look awkward if your dormer is too small or too big. When installing it, make sure that it looks good with the house’s style and that it has the right shape for it.

If you have a saltbox roof or some similar roofing styles, you should place your dormer so that it sits symmetrically on the house (one in the center or multiple dormers around the house).

Note! Your dormers do not have to be mirrored. You can easily have a dormer on one side of the roof and then not have it on the other because of a chimney or something similar. Your only goal should be to have balance so that your house does not look out of place or weird because of the lack of logical layout.

Types of Dormers

Most of these designs are only different just in visual appearance. When you see what types of styles there is, you can choose your ideal one accordingly. Let’s start:

1. Gable Roof Dormer

The gable roof dormer is the most popular one like it’s popular in roofs. You can recognize it by its peaked roof. A dormer has large windows and it provides a lot of additional space when installed.

2. Flared Gable Dormer

A Flared gable dormer is one that has a peaked roof that extends over its sides, so it can provide more shade. This one is more aesthetic and it provides more light.

3. Hip Roof Dormer

A Hip roof dormer is a dormer that has three slopes on the roof which can be smaller or larger. It depends on the proportion of your house.

4. Arched Top Dormer

These dormers are also called barrel dormers because of their rounded roof. They are smaller than other dormers, so that is why you will not get much additional space. They let in the sunlight as good as other dormers and can make your home look more appealing.

5. Eyebrow Dormer

These dormers also have a round top but they are narrower in height than in arched top dormers. They are practical for roofs that have a shorter slope because they make your home brighter but they do not offer any additional space that you can use.

6. Flat Roof Dormer

Flat roof dormers provide additional space for your home and also allow larger windows. They are not as attractive as other options and it can also be a problem if snow starts to pile up on the flat roof since that can cause leaks and damage to the structure.

7. Shed Roof Dormer

This is a design with a sloped roof which allows the snow and rain to just run off on the main roof.

8. Wall Roof Dormer

To add even more additional space, you can install a wall roof dormer that extends to the edge of the main roof.

9. Recessed Roof Dormer

They are also called inset dormers and have a flat area that is beneath the window which may be a problem for water. To avoid any leaks, make sure that the lip of the window is enough above the floor of the exit. They can be good as fire exits and can have any type of roof. They can also be larger on smaller which depends on your preference.

10. Pyramidal Roof Dormer

This dormer looks like a pyramid that is coming out of the roof and has three windows on its outward-facing sides, so it is good for sunlight and even for indoor gardens.

11. Polygonal Dormer

For even more light in your home, there is a polygonal dormer that has windows on the five outward sides.

12. Pedimented Dormer

This dormer is the least common and it is mostly used to add more light for the main entry in the house. This dormer is usually not used for its additional space. It goes beyond the roof and it is supported in place by pillars.

Bonus: Blind Dormer

This dormer, also known as false dormer does not open to the inside of a house. People choose this type of dormer because it is cheaper and they install it only for appearance. You can find them in any shape and size from $2,000 to $6,000 in any store.

Pros of Dormers

Curb Appeal National Building Society found out that by extending your home areas by adding dormers or skylights you can increase the value of your home up to 20%.

Adds Additional Light – Dormers can add a lot of light to the spaces that were a lot darker before which allows you to repurpose those rooms and make them more practical and available for living.

Adds Additional Space – This can be seen as the main benefit of dormers because they can add up to 250 square feet of space. They extend a wall or extend away from the window and provide space this way.

Ventilation – Dormer windows can help with the ventilation of your home because you can easily let hot air out and cold air inside.

Cons of Dormers

Difficult Installation – Not every roofer is experienced with dormer installation and that is why you need to search for an experienced professional. It is not always easy or possible to install a dormer.

High price – It can cost up to $12,000 to install a dormer together with labor and materials. It depends on your roof’s style and the type and it is also important to check with a local building department for any permits that may be necessary for building dormers.

High Maintenance – Dormers can be prone to water leakage and it depends on your roof type (a sloped roof or something like a shed roof). Even if your dormers are installed with flashings, it can still be risky.

For those who want to know more, be sure to read 11 Best Front Door Colors For a Red Brick House.

Final Thoughts

As you could see, dormers can be found on the roofs of houses and they provide a very aesthetic look. Although their additional installation can be an additional cost, people still opt for them to attract attention. In this article, we went through their pros and cons and we go through 12 types of dormers that can be installed on roofs. I hope we helped you choose a dormer, and if you have any additional questions feel free to contact us.

Mario

I'm the CEO and founder of Home Hacks DIY. I have been involved in home improvement since my early age. I will try to pass you my knowledge and expertise in this industry in which I have been involved for the last 10 years.

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