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10 Things to Consider Before Adding a Dormer to Your Home

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Exterior of beautiful modern home with arched dormer windows

Adding a dormer to your home can be a great way to increase living space, add natural light, and enhance the overall aesthetic of your home. However, before you make this significant investment, it’s important to consider several key factors to ensure that you get the best possible outcome.

1. Purpose

One of the first things you should consider before adding a dormer is the purpose of the addition. What are you hoping to achieve with this project? Is it to add more living space, increase natural light, or simply enhance the appearance of your home? Understanding your motivations for the project will help you determine the size, placement, and style of the dormer.

2. Roof Type

Graphic of all the different roof types

The type of roof you have will have a significant impact on the cost and difficulty of adding a dormer. For example, a flat roof will be less expensive to add a dormer to compared to a sloped roof. In general, the more complex the roof, the more expensive the dormer addition will be. If you have a sloped roof or something complex like a mansard roof, it is important to work with a contractor who is experienced in working with this type of roof.

3. Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is an important consideration for any home improvement project, and adding a dormer is no exception. When designing your dormer, make sure to consider adding insulation and energy-efficient windows. This will reduce heat loss and increase energy efficiency, which will save you money on your energy bills in the long run.

4. Cost

The cost of adding a dormer will vary depending on several factors, including the size and style of the dormer, the type of roof you have, and the location of your home. While it’s always a good idea to get a at least a couple quotes and speak to more than one contractor, remember that a job done right the first time will cost you far less in the long run than a budget option that cuts corners.

Any time you’re cutting a hole in the roof of your house (or removing it entirely!) it’s critical to make sure you hire a contractor that is experienced enough to know what it costs to do the job right.

5. Maintenance

Damaged roof shingles in need of repair

A dormer is an addition to your home, and like any other part of your home, it will require ongoing maintenance. This may include painting, cleaning gutters, and other routine maintenance tasks. While it shouldn’t be a huge factor in your decision making process, it is important to remember that a bigger home carries bigger maintenance costs.

6. Style

Hip Dormers on a roof in Lisbon

One of the most important considerations when adding a dormer is the style of the addition. You want to choose a style that complements the existing architecture of your home. A well-designed dormer can enhance the overall appearance of your home and increase its curb appeal, but a poorly designed one can detract from it. When choosing a style, consider the overall look of your home, as well as your personal taste and style preferences.

7. Size

Raised Ridge Dormer

The size of the dormer you choose will depend on the purpose of the addition and the size of your home. If you are looking to add more living space, you may want to consider a larger dormer. However, if your goal is simply to add natural light, a smaller dormer may be sufficient. When deciding on the size of your dormer, consider the overall size of your home and the size of the surrounding windows. You want the dormer to look proportionate and balance with the rest of your home.

8. Placement

The placement of the dormer will also depend on the purpose of the addition. If you are looking to add natural light to a specific room, you may want to place the dormer directly above that room. However, if you are looking to add more living space, you may want to place the dormer in a location that maximizes the usable space. When deciding on the placement of your dormer, consider factors such as the orientation of your home, the position of existing windows, and the views from the proposed dormer location.

9. Structural Integrity

Adding a dormer to your home will affect the structural integrity of your home, and it is important to make sure the structure can support the weight of the addition. An experienced contractor will be able to assess the structure of your home and determine if it can support the weight of the dormer. If not, the contractor may need to reinforce the structure before proceeding with the project.

10. Hire a Professional Contractor

Adding a dormer to your home is a complex and significant project, and it is important to work with a professional contractor who has experience with this type of work. A professional contractor will be able to assess the structure of your home, ensure that all necessary permits are obtained, and ensure that the project is completed to the highest standards.

After - Full dormer addition on a Bethpage NY house

Adding a dormer to your home can be a great way to increase living space, add natural light, and enhance the appearance of your home. However, it’s important to consider several key factors, including the purpose of the addition, roof type, energy efficiency, cost, maintenance, style, size, placement, and structural integrity, before proceeding with the project. Working with a professional contractor will help ensure that the project is completed successfully and to your satisfaction.

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