Homes and businesses in Colorado have all kinds of unique roof styles and shapes. Considering we’ve been in the Colorado roofing industry since 1993, A-to-Z Roofing & Exteriors has encountered just about every kind of roof there is, from commercial to residential and back again.

One of the most easily identifiable roof features is the dormer roof. Dormer roofs (sometimes simply referred to as ‘dormers’) are structural additions that are made to roofs in order to add more light and space to attics and upper-story living spaces.

In this article, we’ll be explaining the main features of dormer roofs and exploring the numerous different Dormer styles that are found on rooftops throughout the Centennial State.

Dormers Defined

So, what exactly is a dormer?

In the simplest terms, a dormer is a vertically-set window that is installed onto the side of a sloping roof. In order to create a vertical face for the window, a structural extension is built into the side of the sloped roof, and this extension has its own roof. There are lots of different types of dormer roof styles, some of which we’ll be looking at in a bit.

Dormers are great at adding curb appeal to a home or commercial building, and they can make an otherwise dull-looking roof look more aesthetically pleasing. However, not all buildings are good candidates for dormers, and forcing them onto a roof can disrupt the overall architectural appeal of the structure. For this reason, it’s highly suggested that you consult with an architect if you’re considering adding dormers to an existing building.

Speaking of adding dormers: not all roofing contractors are going to be equipped or comfortable with doing the work that is necessary for adding dormers to a roof. Typically, a master carpenter will work with a window specialist to plan and execute a dormer installation. Then, a roofing contractor will come into the equation to install the roofing components needed to protect the dormer and its surrounding surfaces.

[Fun Fact: The word ‘dormer’ and ‘dormitory’ have the same roots in the latin word dormitorium, which means ‘place for sleeping’.]

dormer roof inside view

Dormer Styles and Shapes

Whenever a dormer is added to a sloped roof, a decision must be made about what style of roof the dormer will have.

If the modified roof is already a gable roof, the dormer will often be gabled, too. The same can be said for saltbox-styled roofs and other roofs that have distinctive shapes to them.

Here in Colorado, there are about as many different dormer roof styles as there are main roof styles! Some of the most common dormer roof styles include:

  • Arched-top dormers. Arched-top dormers are incredibly common on French-styled homes. These dormers are elegant and sophisticated, and they require advanced understanding of architecture to design and install.
  • Eyebrow dormers. An eyebrow dormer is a lot like an arched-top dormer, but with a twist: Eyebrow dormers include a small, flat flange on both sides. Eyebrow dormers are very common on homes found on homes located along the eastern shoreline here in the US.
  • Flared gable dormers. Flared gable dormers look like windows that are wearing a wizard hat! This unique style of dormer is rarely found in Colorado, but there are some of them here.
  • Shed dormers. Sometimes, a dormer is created by simply adding a single, new roof surface that has a lower slope than the main roof. When this happens, a shed dormer is born. Shed dormers typically have sides that are identical to the siding of the rest of the building.
  • Hipped dormers. Hipped dormers are becoming increasingly popular on new homes here in Colorado. Hipped dormer roofs slant back as they rise, and all three sides of the dormer roof meet at the dormer roof apex.
  • Recessed dormers. A dormer can be brought into the side of a sloped roof instead of having it extend out. The result is a recessed dormer. Recessed dormers take extensive planning and know-how in order to install, but the payoff can be well worth it, as recessed dormers add complexity and uniqueness that is rarely found in Colorado architecture.

What would your roof look like with dormers added to it? Are you thinking about hiring a contractor to make this change to add style and character to your home? Tell us about your project!

And, as always, when you need a high-quality roofer to complete your dormer addition project, don’t forget your go-to source for all things roofing: A-to-Z Roofing & Exteriors!