Dormer Windows

dormer-windowsAttics are not just for storing your junk! Plenty of homeowners these days are converting their attics or lofts into living spaces or spare bedrooms. But what kind of windows suit an attic room with a ceiling that slopes or curves, and what will they cost to install?

Attic rooms situated right under curved or arched ceilings can be very difficult to illuminate effectively. You could install a skylight, but they are expensive, have no views, and are extremely difficult to clean.

Dormer windows, on the other hand, offer the perfect lighting and ventilation solution. They also add space to the room interior, for furniture placement, as they project vertically beyond the plane of a slanted roof. They have their own roof structures for protection and to blend into the main roof design.

If you want to install dormer windows, you should consider what style would suit your home, and what factors will influence the cost of installation.

Dormer Window Styles

Dormer windows are defined by the type of roof, or dormer, fitted above the window. Here are the main dormer styles.

  • Gable window dormer: This window has a gable or triangular-shaped roof over the window pane.
  • Shed dormer: This window has a single roof pane that connects the main roof at a less inclined angle. The popular Nantucket dormer window style is made of a shed dormer that connects two gable dormers.
  • Gambrel dormer: This window has a gable at the peak of the roof, but two steeper slopes on the sides, like a barn roof.
  • Hip dormer: This window has three roof slopes that meet in a point over the window pane.
  • Eyebrow window dormer: This window has a curved roof that extends over the window pane, and gives it the appearance of an eye peeping out under an eyebrow.
  • Bonnet dormer: This window has straight walls with a curved roof.
  • Wall dormer: This window is situated directly above the exterior wall, instead of in the middle of the roof.

Dormer Windows Cost – What You Should Know?

  • small-dormer-windowBuilding permits: You’ll likely need to obtain a building permit, no matter where you live. This can take months, and you’ll pay a fee. Permit fees can typically range from $200 to a few thousand dollars!
  • Dormer style: Depending on the style that suits your roof shape and your design preferences, you can pay more.
  • Dormer window size: Some dormer windows consist of a single pane, and others have a number of panes arranged together. The projection of the dormer and the space it adds to your interior will also affect your costs.

Dormer Windows Price

A medium-sized dormer window of around 6’ x 10’ costs around $1,800.

large-dormer-windowsHowever, dormer windows require extensive renovations to your roof structure, so installations can be fairly costly.

Adding three dormers during a new home construction can increase the cost of the roof up to 20%.

Fitting dormer windows into an existing home can be even more costly, ranging from $3,500 to $20,000 per window, depending on the style and size.

Dormer Window Pros and Cons

Dormer windows are a classic and highly desirable window style, with great curb appeal. But the expense, and the inconvenience of the installation, can be off-putting for some homeowners.

The following pros and cons might help in your decision-making process.

Pros

  • Interior illumination: Your attic or loft will be brighter and more pleasant from the natural light and views. There are several proven health benefits of natural light.
  • Increased space: The extra space in your room can be used for placing furniture or other décor elements.
  • Ventilation: Dormer windows that can be opened will let air circulate around the room. Rooms in the upper level of the home can get pretty warm, so dormer windows can actually improve ventilation throughout the entire property.
  • Aesthetic appeal: window dormers break up the plain expanse of your roof, and give your home classic character, style and added value.

Cons

  • Leakage: Dormers are essentially a space built into the main roof structure, breaking up the uniformity. This means a greater likelihood of leaks from rainfall.
  • Cleaning: Many dormer windows are fixed and can’t be opened. They can be difficult to clean on the outside.
  • Cost: Dormer windows cost roughly the same as bow windows, as they are both complicated window styles that require extensive renovations.

Conclusion

Dormer windows have great advantages, and can turn your dingy attic into a comfortable living space. However, they can be a costly investment.

You’ll need an experienced professional to quote on and install them for you, and not all window companies will be prepared able to handle the job. Building permits can take months to process, and cost in the thousands.

However, if you have a flexible budget, time to spare, and plenty of patience for messy renovations, then dormer windows can add space, value and aesthetic appeal to your home.