What to Know Before Adding a Dormer to Your Home

With home prices through the roof, homeowners are looking for sensible ways to add square footage to their homes. If you have an attic space that you want to finish but would like to add natural light to the room, a dormer house addition might be the right fix. 

What is a dormer house addition? Have you seen the homes with windows popping up out of the rooftop, typically in box shapes? Those are dormer windows. There are several types of dormer house additions that may appeal to you. 

Types of Dormer House Additions

A dormer house addition can add more room if you would like to finish an attic space and need more room to stand up along the slanted-roof room. Or maybe you would like to bring ventilation into a room with windows. Let’s take a look at the types of dormers that may be a great add-on to your home. 

Gable Dormer

A gable dormer is a common type of dormer. It is named for the gable or the triangle shape that is at the top of the roof while both sides slope down. Gable dormers are typically built along the slanted sides of the main roof, called eaves. They do not fill the whole slant of the roof. You can have one, two, or three windows in a row that come out as gable dormers. 

Gable dormers can provide natural lighting to the room. Keep in mind that if you are building the dormer so that you can stand up inside the room, you will need to duck between each window. On the positive side, the valleys between each dormer will put less pressure on the roof as water will have clear run-off pathways to drain.  

Gable dormers give the home a colonial revival look, with the windows coming up out of the roof and adding dynamics to what may be a flat, dark surface on the front of the house. It is not only a great structural choice to add a gable dormer house addition, but it is also a design choice that increases curb appeal. 

Wall Dormer

A wall dormer stays flush with the outside wall and raises the existing wall up into the roof in a triangle shape. If you have a flat side to the exterior of your home, a wall dormer may break up the monotony of the single flat roof. You could also add a dormer window to bring in light to the inside space and ventilation. 

Shed Dormer

Shed dormers are rectangular, with the whole rectangle shape coming up out of the slanted roof. It appears as though it were a lean-to-shed breaking through the top. Many people line the shed dormers with dormer windows for a beautiful, architectural look. 

Shed dormers are used to extend the standing room in an attic space. For example, maybe you would like to convert the attic to a bedroom or two but need to be able to walk around the bulk of the room. A shed dormer will add a substantial amount of extended ceilings so that you can fully use the space. 

Hip Roof Dormer

A hip roof dormer is similar to a gable dormer, but with some added structural issues along the way. When you add a dormer to a hip roof, you will need to reinforce the roof to be sure it can hold the weight of the new addition. 

With any dormer house additions, it will take the expertise of a home remodeling team to be sure that your home’s structure stays strong and unwavering. While it can be a luxury to add usable square footage to your home, you want to do it in a safe and sensible way. 

Why You Should Think Of Adding A Dormer To Your Home? 

The number one reason someone chooses a dormer addition is to add square footage to one’s home. With home offices being all the rage, wouldn’t it be lovely to finish the attic space in your home and set up your desk right in front of a  dormer window with a view? 

Here are some examples of dormer house additions that provide additional square footage while adding dynamics and excitement to the outside of your home: 

  • Build a second level under existing vaulted ceilings
  • Finish an attic space and extend the ceiling for height benefits
  • Add light and ventilation to an existing attic room
  • Add light to your vaulted entryway
  • Change the boring curb appeal of a boxy home

You can invest in your home by working on a dormer house addition. You don’t have to break the bank with this simple addition, and you will end up with more liveable space to spread out in your home. And that will, in turn, add value to your home at resale. 

Other Things to Consider

For dormer additions, it’s not as simple as breaking a hole in your roof and adding a window. Before starting on your dormer house addition plans, you have some things to consider. You will always benefit from the expertise of a trusted home contractor to make sure all the details are presented so that you’re not caught by surprise in the middle of your home addition. 


With home remodeling work being widely popular right now, you may run into delays with securing permits. Your professional home contractor will know just what to do to secure the correct permits for your home so that your project moves in a  safe and timely manner. 

If you run into permit delays, you can’t do much about it. Instead, work with a contractor that can give you a fair estimate while putting in the work to  get the permits as quickly as possible. 


When you place an entire structure on the eave of your roof, you may run into drainage issues. The roof is built at a slant to stop water and debris from building up on your roof and creating damage to the materials used in the structure. 

You may need to install a gutter or other drain assistance to ensure that the roof stays in good condition and is free from any debris or buildup if water gets trapped up there. Talk with your contractor about the obstacles that a dormer addition may pose to roof drainage. 

Roof Condition

Before you start construction by adding a dormer house to your roof, you will need to look into the roof’s current condition. You will want the roof to be in the best condition and ready to handle a construction project. If it is time to replace the roof, do both projects together so that you can build around the new dormer addition. Often we will have to replace the roof regardless of its condition based on the scope of the project. 

A new roof will ensure minimized issues with the cuts and bends in your roof for years to come. The last thing you want to do is add a dormer to your home and then deal with leaking in your new home addition. Instead, get an inspector to check out the roof before starting on a dormer addition. 


How much does it cost to install a dormer house addition? The truth is that it could range anywhere from $20,000 – $30,000. Here are some factors that go into a dormer house addition cost: 

  • Square footage
  • Dormer windows and how many
  • Reinforcement of existing structure
  • Finishing remodeling costs
  • Roof replacement

Meet with your contractor to get an accurate estimate on your dormer addition project. They will be ready to tell you what your home addition will require, and the expected prices for materials and labor. Most of the time, a dormer addition is cheaper than a full-on second-story addition since it utilizes existing space in the home. But if your project is extensive and an ample amount of square footage is being added to your home, the price comparison could be similar to other types of home additions. 

Once you have considered all the details that will come up during a dormer house addition, you can be prepared to expect the unexpected when construction starts. Look into a dormer addition to add square footage to your home and save you from an exhausting and unnecessary move. Your dormer house addition can enhance your home’s exterior and create the feel of a major makeover with one or several beautiful dormer windows.

Contact Tandem Contracting for Your Add-On Needs

When you are unsure about how to add more liveable space to your home, do not discount a dormer house addition. Our team at Tandem Contracting is ready to help with your home addition. You don’t have to uproot your life and move when you have beautiful possibilities right in front of you. Please meet with our team to discuss your add-on needs. 

Tandem Contracting has quickly made a name for itself as a premium home remodeling contractor in Morris County. We build long-term relationships with our clients, always getting a call back for the next project because homeowners are so thrilled with our work. So contact Tandem Contracting today to get started on your dormer house addition. 

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