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What is a Dormer?

If you’re in the early stages of planning a loft conversion, you will no doubt have heard of the word ‘dormer’. A ‘dormer’ or a ‘dormer window’ are terms that you’ll hear and see often when researching an attic build or when meeting with potential loft conversion contractors. But if you’re new to planning your dream loft conversion, you may also be wondering, “what is a dormer?”. If this is the case, or even if you simply have lots of questions about a dormer, we are here to explain exactly what a dormer loft conversion is, and why you may wish to have one.

What is a dormer loft conversion?

A dormer is an extension to your existing roof. A dormer loft conversion, therefore, is a loft conversion which includes such an extension to your existing roof, usually containing a window as part of the extension. You’ll often hear of dormers referred to as dormer windows, simply because a dormer often includes a window as part of its design.

A dormer will protrude vertically from your existing sloping roof, usually characterised by a box shape that it creates as it extends from the roof. However, not all dormers have to be boxy; you can also have a pitched roof dormer if you wish to create something more akin with a cottage style dormer.

What styles of dormer are popular?

What style of dormer you choose will usually depend on the type of property you have. For example, if you live in a rural area or an area of beauty, you may find that the cottage style dormers with pitched roofs are more in keeping with the other homes around yours and therefore more suitable to your property.

Alternatively, if you live in a slightly more built up area within a town or city, you may find that many of your neighbours already have a box dormer with a flat roof, and this will therefore be perfectly suitable for your property.

Don’t forget that, regardless of which type of dormer you go for, you can still make them work for your home to look stylish and in keeping with your property.

Box dormers with a flat roof can be clad in a similar or complementing material to your existing home, to make them feel like they have always been a part of your property, or perhaps you could choose an L-shaped dormer if you already have an existing double storey extension, and if so, incorporate a small roof terrace area or a Juliet balcony to create a stylish attic build.

Why would you incorporate a dormer into your loft conversion design?

As well as questioning “what is a dormer on a roof?” you may also be wondering why exactly you’d want to add a dormer to your loft conversion. This is a valid question, and the simple answer is that by adding a dormer, you will gain extra space within your new loft conversion.

The box of the dormer will add extra usable floor space as it protrudes from the loft, and more importantly it will add head height, as the extension protruding from your existing roof means that your new ceiling for this part of the loft conversion will be higher than the sloping eaves currently in existence. This is really useful if you have a roof where the head height is not of a height suitable for habitation.

Adding a dormer will also mean that there are fewer awkward nooks and crannies caused by the sloping eaves of your existing roof. This will make your new loft conversion much easier to furnish and the space will be easier to live within in general.

Do you need planning permission for a dormer loft conversion?

Whether you require planning permission to add a dormer to your home will depend on your property and the type of dormer you wish to add. For example, it’s sometimes deemed that a dormer isn’t creating any drastic changes to the shape of your home or your roof and, with the installation of standard windows it does not, therefore, require planning permission.

However, this isn’t always the case and mustn’t be taken as a given. For example, if you’ve already used your Permitted Development rights elsewhere within your home with an extension to a different part of the property, then planning permission will likely be required.

Similarly, if you’re adding an L-shaped dormer, a Juliet balcony or another slightly more unusual feature, planning permission may be required. It’s worth working closely with your loft conversion specialists who will liaise with your local authority to check whether planning permission is required.

Want to know, what is a dormer? Ask Bespoke Lofts!

If you still want to know more about “what is a dormer on a roof?”, get in touch with Bespoke Lofts.

As trusted loft conversion specialists, we can help to explain the question “what is a dormer?” as well as talk you through the different options available and why you may wish to choose them. Contact us today to see how we can help to transform your home with a dormer.

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