Dormer windows are windows built into the sloping sides of a roof. They are used to give light to the area immediately under the roof, particularly when this area is being used for a practical purpose, such as for extra living accommodation, or as a storage room. The name "dormer" comes from the French verb "dormir" meaning to sleep, indicating that the under-roof space was commonly used for sleeping. Different styles of dormer windows can be incorporated into a variety of architectural styles.
Flat Shed Dormer
A flat shed dormer window protrudes from the sloping roof of a house. This type of dormer has a flat roof, a flat sidewall and a flat front. Flat shed dormers provide the maximum amount of usable space with regard to standing room height, because the entire projection of the dormer from the sloping roof to which it is attached is of uniform height. Another advantage is that the flat roof provides a flat, square wall at the front of the dormer; all of this space may be used as window area, allowing maximum light to enter the dormer.
Eyebrow dormers project from the side of sloping roofs, but do not have flat side walls, as are found with flat shed dormers, nor do they have flat roofs. Instead, the eyebrow dormer is in the shape of an arch, projecting out from the sloping roof. The curve of the arch flattens at each edge, so that the projection is similar in appearance to an eye when viewed from straight on. A semicircular window is usually fitted to the flat front of the eyebrow dormer, to mirror the shape of the dormer itself.
You can fit a dormer window to the flat end of a gable, where it will look and operate like any window in a flat wall of the building. A gable is the flat, triangular wall space at the end of a sloping roof, where the two sides of the roof join at the top to form an "A" shape. A gable dormer protrudes from the side of the roof, like a shed dormer, but has its own "A"-shaped pitched roof. Windows are fitted to the gable formed at the front of the the shed dormer, below its "A"-shaped gable.
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