Dormer loft conversions are among the most popular loft conversions as they add more headroom to the loft space without substantial works to the exterior of the house. The Dormers are often built separately while the rest of the conversion is being prepared to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays and you can enjoy your new space as soon as possible.
‘Dormer’ is the name of the windows that are added to the roof, and there are a number of different types of Dormer windows which are categorised based on their shape. The best way to choose a Dormer type is by looking at the rest of your house to see which style suits the rest of the building and the other buildings on the street. For example, a shed dormer (with a flat-ish roof that slopes downwards) would suit more modern builds but would look odd on a mock-Tudor building).
Dormer Window Styles
There are 5 main styles for Dormer windows. These can be built in any material to ensure that they blend in with the roof. While the difference between some of these is subtle, it’s important to choose the right one for your home. The different shapes also offer different headroom volumes, which should also be considered when making a choice.
These have a low, upward curve so the window itself is a semi-circle with no vertical sides. They’re often added to homes with Shingle-style architecture and do not provide much additional headroom. Compared to the other styles, the window are also quite small so several of these are usually added to ensure that the room gets enough natural light.
These are the most popular dormers as they fit in with most English homes, especially Tudor style houses. These have gabled roofs, the same way that your main roof is gabled, and it’s the same terminology that’s applied to Gable End loft conversions). The front of the dormer is completely flat, with a pitched roof and vertical sides. The window is built completely into the Dormer and does not cut into the roof at all – this means that these Dormer provide plenty of headroom and storage space.
This is very similar to the Gable Dormer, but instead of a perfectly flat front, the roof is hipped (the terminology is the same as that used to refer to Hip to Gable loft conversions). This means that 3 sides of the roof are covered in roofing material, rather than just two on the Gabled Dormer. There are no real differences in size, so the decision on which to choose is mainly based on style.
Inset Dormers (also called Recessed Dormers) look very much like Gabled Dormers, but instead of the Dormer window being set entirely into the Dormer, it actually cuts into the roof slightly. This provides less headroom and should be decided on the basis of your home’s existing architecture. While it doesn’t suit all houses, it can have an impact when used on the right house.
Shed dormers have roofs with a single plane rather than pitched roofs. While it is a box, the roof slants down to ensure that water runs off. These often provide less headroom than Dormers with pitched roofs, but require less roofing material to build.
How Long Does it Take to Build?
The time it takes to build the Dormers for your loft conversion depends on the materials used and other aspects such as the weather. Usually, the main construction for a Shed Dormer takes about 3 days, with another 3 days required for the exterior finishes. It then takes time to fit the ridge steel, put in the main wall plate, and generally sure that the Dormer is set within the roof and properly finished. When we provide a timeframe for your Dormer loft conversion, it will include time to create and fit your Dormers.