Types Of Dormers Roofs Explained: Everything You Need To Know

A dormer is a roof structure that projects from the plane of a sloping roof. The word “dormer” comes from the Latin dormitorium, which means “sleeping place.” 

Dormers are usually found on two-story houses and buildings to provide additional space for bedrooms or living rooms. They can be used to add an extra story to your home if you have enough room. 

You can choose from many dormer roof types, including gabled, hipped, shed, mansard, and saltbox. So which type do you want? If you’re unsure, no worries, we cover everything there is to know in this article. Let’s go!

types of dormers roofs

Understanding Dormer Roof

A dormer roof is commonly known as a built-in structure that adds height and space to a loft. Many homeowners invest in dormer roofs to always turn stuffy and dark loft spaces into bright and spacious ones.

It utilizes the attic well, as it transforms into a perfect place. And though dormer roofs require major renovation and improvement to your roof’s surface, the return is definitely worth the effort.

How Many Types of Dormers Are There? 

If you’re planning to put up a dormer roof, check out these 10 types that have been designed through the years in letting the light in and adding space to the attic.

  1. Arched Top 

Arched top dormers are also known as barrel roof dormers. It comes with a rounded top as the hallmark and comes with wall spaces on fronts and sides. This dormer roof type helps add soft contrast to the straight and sharp lines of sloped roofs. 

Furthermore, Arched tops are used for visual and light appeal rather than producing a space. Therefore, it tends to be smaller than other dormer roof types.

  • Estimated Cost: It usually costs $100-$150 for each square foot and could reach $6000 in total for 8′ deep x 5′ wide.

    2. Flat Roof Dormer 

Flat Roof Dormer gives a boxy appearance that is not as attractive as the other types. It’s not that attractive as other types, and it looks flat and shed, and it’s often known to be quite large. The only drawback about this dormer type is that it doesn’t shed melting snow and rain like the sloped roofing.

Leaks happen, but it still comes with PVC that you can use to reduce risks due to the shallow slope. But on the brighter side, the flat roof dormer allows space beneath for larger windows. These are installed to come up with more spaces, so it’s still large.

The Eyebrow dormer comes with a rounded roof just like the arched top dormers. The only distinct feature is that the round part blends directly into the roof on each side. These are also used on homes where the shingles in the roofing are curved around the eaves. 

You don’t see any sidewalls, just a small front wall because eyebrow dormers are quite flat. Moreover, eyebrow roof dormers are small, so they offer less ventilation and light than other styles. And since these dormers are labor-intensive, they cost more than flat.

  • Estimated Cost: It usually costs around $105 to $160 per sq foot and may reach from $3,295 to $4,480 for 7′ wide by 4′ deep.

    4. Gabled and Flared Dormer 

One of the most famous types of dormer is a gable dormer. It comes with a peak at the top and a roof that goes down on each side. It also comes with a roof that forms a peak with a triangle-shaped gable wall above the window. Furthermore, this dormer type works well in various architectural styles and houses in French Eclectic style.

  • Estimated Cost: The Gabled Dormer roof type costs around $110 to $150 per sq foot. It can reach from $7,385 to $9,600 for a dormer 8′ wide by 8′ deep.

    5. Shed Roof Dormer 

A shed roof dormer is different from a flat roof dormer because this one comes with a sloped design. It’s visible behind a peaked roof on your house, and the roof has slopes in only one direction, and that’s usually towards the front. The shed roof dormer has no hip, now peak, and it is not rounded. Though it’s not pleasing to some, the shed roof dormer cost is affordable, and it increases the space beneath.

  • Estimated Cost: The Shed roof dormer costs around $75-$120 for each sq. foot and could reach from $23,300 to $26,880 for 16′ wide by 14′ deep.

    6. Pedimented Roof Dormer 

Pedimented Roof dormers are like gabled dormers. They have liked details ingrained in classical architecture. And while most roof dormers are built entirely into the roof’s surface, the pedimented dormer spreads away from the roof and should be supported from below by posts or pillars. The Pedimented roof dormer supports the horizontal beam and holds a triangular wall.

Furthermore, it’s called a pediment since these dormers are placed under the roof peak. It has a dramatic style that looks best in emphasizing the same triangular shape. So, if your home comes with a contemporary or modern design, the Pedimented Roof Dormer might look out of place.

  • Estimated Cost: It usually costs around $165 to $300 for each sq foot and could reach around $24,000 to $30,000 for a 10′ wide by 10′ deep dormer.

    7. Blind or False Dormer Roof 

With Blind or False dormer type, it can take any of the shapes of dormer mentioned in this blog. It is called blind or false because this dormer does not always penetrate the sheathing or roof deck into the living space of your house. This only means that the dormer is not that accessible or purposeful.

However, the good thing about this dormer is it adds visual appeal to the exterior of your house. And since it’s installed for visual appeal, these false dormers tend to be on the tiny side of those functions.

  • Estimated cost: The Blind or False Dormer costs around $65 to $90 for each sq. foot and may reach from $5,300 to $5,760 for a dormer type that measures 8′ wide by 8′ deep.

    8. Inset Dormer Roof 

Inset roof dormers are also called recessed dormers that have sidewalls beneath the slope of the roof. Compared to standard dormers, the recessed dormers come with walls that extend above and beyond the roof. Also, the inset dormer roof comes with a section of flat roofing located in front of the window. As a result, it constantly holds water, which adds concerns about possible leakages.  

Furthermore, the Inset Dormer Roof is used for visual and light appeal, and it comes small.

  • Estimated Cost: The Inset Dormer Roof usually costs $70-$100 for each sq. foot and may reach $2,200 to $2,400 for every dormer that measures 4′ wide by 6′ deep.

    9. Hipped Roof Dormer 

The hipped roof dormer comes with a roof that slants back as it rises. It has sloped roof sheathing, and the roofing materials on the sides also come with sloped roof sheathing. 

It’s not surprising that Hipped roof dormers are common and usually found on houses where the roof is hipped. The hipped style is common in French homes and always maintained its consistency in adding visual contrast to gable roofs.

  • Estimated Cost: The Hipped Roof Dormer costs $115-$315 each sq. foot and may reach up to $7,150 to $8,640 for every dormer that measures 8′ wide by 8′ deep.

    10. Wall Roof Dormer 

Wall Roof Dormer is a type of shed or flat roof dormer. It comes with a front wall that does not combine into your roof. And same with flat or shed dormers, it’s an allowance for the exterior of the house. It’s what everyone expects, to have square footage underneath.

Furthermore, the wall roof dormers are usually used as siding because it fits in the exterior, but when it comes to the cost, expect that it’s affordable.

  • Estimated Cost: The Wall Roof dormer costs around $72-$115 for each sq. foot. It can also reach around $35,600 to $41,500 for a 20′ wide by 18′ deep wall roof dormer.  

What Style House has Dormers?

Perhaps you’re wondering how to integrate dormer roofs into houses. Here are some of the dormers designed in a house.

  • Dormitory 

Of course, from the name itself, the word ‘dormer’ comes from the word ‘dormitory.’ There will be no surprise if you find dorms that come with spaces in the attic and turn into extra bedrooms. Dormers may have built an older large home to accommodate people.

  • Bathroom Space

Aside from a sleeping room, a dormer roof can also be created for bathroom spaces. Since bathrooms require headspace for standing, the dormer has the height to add above the sink, toilet, or even bathtub. Thus, it allows the spaces to turn into an additional bathroom for your house.

  • Window Option 

The ventilation and amount of light are not always what everyone is expecting. With a dormer roof, windows can match up with other windows of the house. It may also make the dormer window look fancy by adding colored glasses or a non-traditional shape. Another good thing is that windows may be fixed or can be designed to control the ventilation.

Do You Need A Roof Dormer for Your Property?

Roof dormer is not compulsory as it always depends on the type of roof frame that you have. Perhaps, if you have a stick-framed roof and spacious attic, you can integrate a roof dormer. 

But if you have a truss-framed roof, then a roof dormer may not be suitable and appropriate. 

However, you can add a natural decorative dormer to a truss-framed roof, but it’s not a rear dormer.

Benefits of Dormer Roof

There are plenty of good reasons to put a dormer in your attic. Here are some of the benefits that you might want to consider.

  • It adds natural light

You will need natural light if the dormer is built above a living space than over the attic. However, if you’re also converting attic spaces into living spaces, you also need much-needed light. 

Dormer roofs look attractive for book lovers, and it gives light whether you’re making your attic space for kids to play, a dressing place where you can have a walk-in closet or just a bedroom.

  • It enhances ventilation

It improved the ventilation when you installed dormer roofs in your house, or even multi-story homes on second floors where heat is intolerable and the air becomes stuffy and stale. The dormer roof allows fresh and better airflow to improve the air quality and ventilation inside the house.

  • It gives accent and architectural interest 

A dormer roof can be very appealing to a house that might look bland at first, especially if the house comes with one or more dormers as part of the roof’s structure. It may also look good inside too, and you will enjoy the state-of-the-art aesthetics of your house.

And if you’re selling it, your house would look more appealing to buyers, and you can increase the price too. So it’s truly a good return on investment.

  • It gives your room a view

Other than the light, the dormer roof provides another view of the outside world.

  • Gives potential exit 

One good thing about dormer roofing is that it will be a potential exit in case of an emergency. Most especially when there is a fire, a dormer window is your only exit in your attic roof. However, if you have a multistoried home, you might be using a chain ladder or a rope to climb down.

  • It gives more space and room 

Another good thing about the dormer roof is it gives added space to your home. You can reserve it as a room attic whenever you have visitors. Or, you can have it for rent or simply use it as your bedroom. The dormer roof can always make a difference.

Drawbacks of Dormer Roof 

Despite the good things that the dormer roof gives you, there are other factors and concerns that you need to be aware of. 

  • A bit pricey 

When you want to put up a dormer roof, it might also require additional time and cost. It’s about the add-ons that increase the cost of your construction. 

You will also spend on hiring an architect or getting a permit before the construction. However, if possible, the cost that must only increase should not be about removing shingles. 

  • Installation

You would expect that dormer roofing includes complex installation on the windows. It requires technical skills and in-depth knowledge of the construction process. It also involves plenty of time, which might be unavailable in some cases. Because if it’s poorly constructed, it will make your home look awkward. 

  • High-maintenance 

Because of the protruded design of the dormer roof, they are prone to exposure to elements. Therefore, it needs frequent maintenance. If you don’t maintain it well, it may develop damages and sagging over time and lead to structural problems. In addition, there’s a possibility that air infiltration and air leakage of moisture will lower the energy efficacy of your home. 

Considerations in Choosing the Right Dormer Roof 

The design and features can be tricky when you want to purchase a dormer roof. There are considerations to follow to get that spacious loft. Here is a guide to choose the right dormer roof. 

  • Light 

You must select a dormer roof type that is capable of giving light to your attic space. If that’s your goal, then perhaps you avoid buying the blind or false dormer. Of course, the larger the dormer roof you choose, the better. 

  • Attractive 

Since a dormer roof will be installed outside or the exterior of your home, it must be attractive and very appealing. Let the architect do the work and design a dormer that will blend in your home’s current exterior design. It may be shed, wall, or flat; as long as it’s an integral part of the design, then it’s a good idea. 

  • Avoid ‘Over-large’ Dormers 

‘Boxy’ or ‘Over-large’ dormers may result in having an awkward finish. In addition, it may overpower the rest of your house. Always keep it in proportion and choose a size that is enough for the attic to make it look good. 

  • Slightly Lower 

Perhaps it would look nicer if dormer roofs are placed slightly lower than halfway down the roof. However, if it gets closer to the ridge, then have it flatten on the roof. 

 Conclusion 

Keep in mind that deciding to put a dormer roof varies on your house. If you’re still putting up the house, a dormer roof may work since you’re adding it to the entire design of your attic. But if you’re making it as a renovation to your attic and might compromise the whole roof, it might incur additional costs for the renovation. 

I hope the types and considerations mentioned in this blog have helped you decide whether you’re putting on a dormer roof or not. You might need a professional for the decision to help you. May you get that dormer roof for your home and have that additional space in your home. 

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