A dormer is an expanded window that protrudes out of a slanted roof as a way to add extra light while also increasing ceiling spaces for second story spaces. Adding a dormer to residential houses is both decorative and useful because they can be installed on rooftops at any time. Some dormers can even be placed in attics for homes that do not possess a second story. However, a dormer will require you to make some smart decisions about your roof and a dormer placement.
Types of dormers
When adding a dormer, you can pick between several styles, depending on what you want. The classic “doghouse” style is a simple, peaked extension from your roof that ends in a dormer window. This is one of the easiest to install and allows you to build in extra storage or a window seat in your home.
You can also choose a shed dormer, which uses a larger, flatter roof line that can easily be extended for multiple windows. This is great if you want to expand your room and have big plans for renovating your second story.
There is also the diminutive eyebrow dormer, which peaks up above the roof with a curved slant, as the name suggests. This is ideal for a decorative addition to your house, or for bringing some light into attic spaces with a minimum amount of change. If you like the curved appearance of these dormers, you can also opt for a larger size.
A number of other designs are also possible based on how much room you have and what style you want. Explore your options to find which best suits your roof.
Weight and size considerations
Adding a dormer means adding considerable extra weight to your rooftop. Decorative dormers are the simplest to install because they can be placed on top of the roof with minimal impact. But for larger, more traditional dormers you will need to place them on rafters to create the necessary support.
Larger projects may require professionals to cut into your roof and add trusses to create the necessary support for your dormer. This is a big project, and you need to be sure of your dormer design before moving forward. Work with a contractor who is willing to draw up plans and compare scales with you so that you receive the best-looking dormer possible. Try to pick a style that already matches your roof – an eyebrow dormer, for example, can look very out of place if you have no other curves along your roof. Try to match angles with similar angles.
Finally, if you are planning on adding an extended dormer or multiple dormers, keep prices in mind. Dormer additions tend to cost between $80 and $140 per square foot for external work. This could add up to as much as $11,500 for a single gable or shed dormer, so plan accordingly.