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A dormer, which is a vertical window or group of windows projecting from a sloping roof is a fun way to add more interior space as well as more appeal to the exterior of the house; in particular the roof line. Historically they have been used for centuries to add light and ventilation to upper levels. The word itself comes from French ‘dormeor’ stemming from ‘dormir’ which meant to sleep. Dormer is a cognate of the word dormant.

We will touch on a few of the more popular types of dormers currently utilized.

Gable Dormer

photo 1 gable dormer.jpg

These are simple and do pretty well with most homes and can be multiple or single in any size. Gable dormers offer more headroom than most and they help shed rain water away from the windows and down the sides.

A pediment dormer is similar to a gable dormer; however, it is more intricate and ornate.

The details of the pediment dormer stem from classical architecture in which the low-pitched triangular gable over the window is often decorated with classical molding or sculptures.

Hip-roof dormer

In the above photo the two top dormers on either side of the portico are hip dormers. The roof of the dormer slants backward as it rises on both the front and sides similar to a hip-style roof. They are most often used on homes with hip roofs.

Shed dormer

Shed dormers can create extended living space and head room in an attic or second story. The eave of the dormer is parallel to the eaves of the roof.

There are many types of dormers, simple and fancy. But these are a few to get you started. Have a great time and enjoy your project!