Dormers are essentially the structure around a window that projects from a sloped roof. This structure is set vertically on the roof slope and has its own roof. Along with the architectural beauty dormers bring to a home they are also functional in that they provide more internal space for attics as well as bringing in light and ventilation. Dormers can be additions to a home, or they can be included as a part of new construction.
Dormers have been seen in American architecture for hundreds of years. Dormers were originally introduced by the same French architect who introduced the mansard roof, Francois Mansart. Mansard roofs were meant to allow for an extra level for sleeping without creating a whole new story. In order to make these extra sleep quarters more livable Mansart came up with dormers to provide extra head space, ventilation, and light. The word dormer comes from the French word ’dormer’, which means to sleep.
Just as there are a wide range of roof styles the same is true of dormers. Gabled dormers are the most common type and are found on a variety of architectural styles but other popular versions include hip, shed, and arched.