What is a Dormer?

What is a Dormer?

If you’re not familiar with dormers, don’t worry, they’re actually pretty simple. Also called roof windows, these features are vertical windows that extend through the roof of a structure. 


Often found in attics or on the second floor, these windows are usually covered by the eaves of the building’s roofline. They can be square or triangular and may be flat or curved.  Because dormers project from the face of a pitched roof, meaning they have their own little roofs, they help to provide additional space inside a building by creating a usable floor area under them and allowing for headroom where it otherwise wouldn’t exist. And since most dormer windows are also operable, they let more light into rooms that might otherwise be dark and depressing.

Okay, so that’s the basic breakdown of what a dormer is, but there are actually many different types of dormers. In this article, we will go over each of the most common dormers and explain the differences between them so that by the time you finish reading this post, you will know everything there is to know about these stylish windows. 

The different types of dormers

As mentioned, there are many different types of dormers available on the market, and although they all do more or less the same things, each is slightly different from the others and offers a unique charm and design appeal. 

Therefore, let’s go over the various types of dormers that you’re likely to encounter so that you can decide which type you would like to add to your home. 

Small dormers are called shed dormers

Shed dormers are small dormers that are installed on the roof of a house. They are usually less than six feet wide and six feet deep, with a typical height of three to five feet. The sloped roof created by this type of dormer is also called a shed roof because it resembles the shape of an ordinary shed or barn.

The size and style of your home can affect how much work you need to do on your shed dormer before installing it, but many homeowners enjoy working on their homes and find that building their own additions can be rewarding.

Larger dormers are called gabled dormers

A larger dormer that projects beyond the roof of a house is called a gabled dormer. Gabled dormers are sometimes called eyebrow dormers, as they extend over the roof like an eyebrow. These types of dormers are usually found on pitched roofs (angled).

Gabled dormers can be either a gable or shed roof design. A gable-end wall with two sloping sides resembles what is known as a hip rafter in construction terms; this style is often used for small buildings with low pitches, such as garages or sheds.

Curved dormers are called eyebrow dormers

Eyebrow dormers are curved dormers that are often used on steep roofs. They help add light to a dark space, and they can be used in a number of different applications, such as adding a porch-like feel to your home’s front door or making an attic cozier and more inviting than it would otherwise be without a dormer. 

Eyebrow dormers can also be used on the fronts of houses. These eyebrow dormer windows are usually located directly above the main floor window (often placed between two windows) or below it (as in the case of gabled roofs). This allows sunlight to stream through the windows, giving you plenty of daylight for reading or other tasks that require natural lighting throughout the day.

Curved dormers on steep roofs are often called "Jerkinhead" dormers

In addition to the standard rectangular dormer, many curved dormers are also available. These types of dormers include eyebrow, jerkinhead, and hipped dormers. Curved (or angled) roofs can be difficult to properly ventilate as they are not square or rectangular in shape. For this reason, curved roofs often have special features built into them that allow for better airflow and drainage.

Eyebrows or “jerkinhead” is a name sometimes used for curved roofs (and dormers) because of their resemblance to the eyebrows on a face when seen from below the peak line of an existing roof where it meets at right angles with another plane such as an adjoining house wall or eave overhang at ground level

Large dormers that project beyond the roof can be called pavilion or hipped dormers

You may also hear these large dormers referred to as pavilions or hipped dormers. A hipped dormer is a square or rectangular box projecting beyond the roof and supported by columns or posts that resemble rafters.

The hip roof has two parallel sides and four sloping sides that meet at a ridge in the center of the building’s facade. A gable is simply another type of hip roof; it has no vertical walls on either side of its ridgepole, so it doesn’t have any gables or side walls.

How much do dormers typically cost?

If you’re considering adding a dormer to your home, you may be wondering how much it will cost. The short answer is that the cost varies from project to project, but it can range from $1,000 to $25,000 or more. Dormers are typically built on top of existing roofs and can add square footage to your home. They can also add architectural interest and value to your home’s exterior. 

However, installing a new dormer can sometimes be very expensive depending on its size, the materials used, its location in relation to the other structures on your property (such as chimneys), and whether it’s being installed by professionals or DIY enthusiasts.

Dormers add space and light to dark and cramped areas

In cramped spaces, dormers can offer a way to add light and space. They can be used to add headroom in rooms that are too short, or they can be used to create entirely new rooms in areas that were previously not being utilized.

Dormers are often overlooked as an option for adding space, but when you’re dealing with limited square footage, dormers can be a great way to make the most of what you have. Plus, adding a dormer to your home can even increase the resale value of your property.

In fact, adding a dormer is a great way to improve the overall aesthetics of your home. If you have a steep roof line, adding a dormer can help soften the look of your home by breaking up the lines and giving it more depth, which is something most homebuyers will notice and appreciate.

Dormer windows can add space, light, and architectural interest to an interior

Dormers can be added in order to add space. If you live in a small home with only one floor, perhaps because you don’t have much money or you’re renting, then a dormer window might be just what you need! With it, your attic will suddenly become useful for storage and other things too. You won’t even have to go up and down stairs anymore!

They can also be used to add or create natural light. If there aren’t many windows in your house, then adding some dormer windows could make all the difference! They’ll let natural light flood into all those dark corners of your home, making it feel brighter than ever before (and probably saving you a bit of money on your electricity bill too).

Adding dormers is also a great way to add some architectural interest to your home. Sometimes people want their homes to look pretty from the street, but they don’t know how; dormer windows can give any building an instant makeover without breaking the bank (or causing any structural damage).


Dormers are a great way to add space or light to your home. While they can be expensive additions, dormers can also increase the property value of your home. With all things considered, dormers have been popular architectural features for centuries, and it’s not hard to see why they’re still going strong today. 

So, if you want to increase your headroom, let more natural light in, add some interest to your home’s design, and increase the resale value of your property, then adding a dormer might just be the best way to tick all of those boxes at the same time.