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Copper Dormers

Photo & Dormers By: Jaime Deligadillo


Dormers are roof-top windows that jut out from the roof and have a roof of their own. They typically are used to enhance the attractiveness of buildings, and as a practical way to get more room out of an attic.

The first use of Dormers dates back to 17th century Paris and to French architect Francois Mansart, who designed the “Mansard Roof”, as a way to allow Parisian building owners to circumvent the tax of having an additional floor by reconfiguring attics to accommodate livable space instead of only storage space.   Mansard-style hip roofs are characterized by having four sides that angle downward to the walls.  Each side has two slopes, the lower of which is much steeper to provide more space inside the attic.  Dormer windows enhance utilization of the attic space by allowing light and ventilation as desired.

The Mansard roof and use of Dormers proved immensely popular because they greatly increased living space within buildings while conforming to the height restrictions in Paris.  The additional space was initially used as extra sleeping quarters.  Hence, the name “dormer” from the French verb “dormir” to sleep.

Since then, dormers have expanded to other roof styles for residential, commercial and institutional buildings for living and working areas where increased space and light is desired.

Source: Nathania Maddox, eHow Contributor


Gable Style Dormer



A gable dormer has a simple pitched roof of two sloping planes, supported by a frame that rises vertically to form a triangular section below the roofline. It is also known as a dog-house dormer (due to its similar shape).

Hipped Style Dormer



Hipped dormers have a roof with three sloping planes that meet at the top. Prairie Style and Craftsman house will sometimes have hipped dormers, as will most homes with a hipped roof.

Inset Style Dormer



Inset dormers are also called recessed dormers. Unlike most other dormers, which extend out from a roof, this style is set back into the roof, creating a much different look.

Shed Style Dormer



Shed dormers have a roof with a single sloping plane that extends over the window. This style of dormer is seen in a wide variety of architectural styles including Arts & Crafts and Colonial Revival.

Arched Style Dormer


Arched top dormers often point to architectural styles that originated in France and are like a gable dormer but do not have the slanted roofs that form a triangle but instead have a barrel vault.

Eyebrow Style Dormer



 These frame views from houses of several architectural periods, including the Shingle style houses popular in East Coast seashore communities. Eyebrow dormers are also used on houses where the roofing shingles are curved around eaves to mimic the look of thatch.

See our Dormer Forms to find one that suits you!

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