Remember the days when almost all two-story houses in the United States had dormers? Dormers added needed space in a home’s second floor. Some builders still use them. If you wish to have more usable area in an attic remodel, consider adding dormers.

There are several points to consider in terms of construction materials and style when building dormers. Dormers inevitably change your attic’s interior configuration, as well as alter the external look of your home. The University of Buffalo’s Illustrated Architecture Dictionary distinguishes several styles of dormers and the particular architectural home style they match.

Hipped Dormer

A hipped dormer will resemble a roof that has four sloped sides. A hipped dormer can be found installed in homes that have the unique styles of Neoclassical, Colonial Revival, Italianate, Classical Revival, Federal, Arts and Crafts, Greek Revival, Renaissance Revival, Georgian Revival, and Prairie styles.

Gable Dormer

The second style of dormer is called the gable roof. The roof of this gable is a triangular shape.

Arched Dormer

The third kind is the arched dormer. This dormer varies in shape; it could be a horizontal flat arch or a sharply pointed one. The round arches are specifically fit for Italian Renaissance Revival, Richardsonian Romanesque, and Italianate architecture. Gothic or poi arches are set to achieve Gothic Revival architecture. Elliptical arches or the Baskethandle looks best to imitate and create the feel of Beaux Arts and Italianate styles. Tudor arches, which are visibly flattened Gothic, are great for having Gothic Revival and Tudor Revival styles. And last but not least, are the Syrian arches which are found in the Shingle styles and Richardsonian Romanesque architecture.

Pedimented Dormer

The fourth style of dormer is called the pedimented dormer, which appears as a triangular gable that is over a window, portico, or door.

Eyebrow dormer

The eyebrow dormer, the fifth type, is a low one, placed on the roof’s slope with no sides.

Through-the-cornice Dormer

Lastly, the through-the-cornice dormer is one that projects from a sloping roof placed on top of the wall.

There are several steps to take when adding a dormer. Certainly, it is not something you could do by yourself over the weekend. Know that you will be altering your roof’s line, which will affect and rain water flow.  It may also alter how your roof  holds and keeps accumulated snow weight. To put things in better perspective, this task requires that you cut a hole in the roof and insert a window in it. Given the complexity of this project, an understanding of roofing concerns is critical, since a poorly done construction job may result in leaks and water damage inside your home.


Some other things involved in adding a dormer include hanging drywall, adding insulation, installing windows, finishing the roofing, and painting. Since you will be changing the exterior of your home, you may need to gain approval from your local homeowners association and other concerned groups before you begin. You have to obtain building permits from your local government and make the necessary arrangements for home inspections. You also should check with home-building authorities to be sure you have appropriate materials for the dormer frame’s construction.

Once you are ready to start, determine the exact location in your roof and cut the holes. Then, build the dormer frame. We have to remind you that this will be a very complex process as it will require some precise framing cuts.

After the first two steps, your siding and roofing must now be installed. The siding could be wood, but may also be hard plank, stone, brick, or even in a vinyl. Then, place the appropriate window or windows.

Finally, your interior work can start. The installation of walls, insulation, flooring, and ceiling can commence. Consider adding other interior components like window seats, storage areas, bookcases, and built-in desks. When everything else is in place, you can finish with tasks like painting, laying the wallpaper and the carpet, and adding other finishing touches.

As you may have realized, building dormers will make your living space lighter, brighter, larger, and more functional. The most important thing to note when doing such project is that it will not matter if you do all of the work alone, or if you hire a professional: careful, meticulous work and great attention to your designated building codes will give you a new room to enchant and improve your family’s lifestyle.