Dormer windows are an important feature of many traditional buildings. These typical examples of craftsmanship give a particular character to roofs capes and are a handsome and practical means of getting light into attics, bringing them to better use.
The dormer window was developed as a means of bringing daylight into the attics of larger cottages. Set on top of the long side walls, they lit the central part of the roof-space not reached by light from gable-end casements. Dormers with a gabled front were the most common pattern, being used throughout the seventeenth and much of the eighteenth century. However, with the arrival of a more classically inspired building at the beginning of the eighteenth century, hipped dormers became a popular alternative.
Older dormers often retain original detailing which High Access Roofing, endeavour to preserve when repairs are made or the structure rebuilt. Some details are very local, often only seen on buildings in a group of villages.
Timber dormer windows are often quite simple in their basic construction, being built from heavy timber sections designed to remain exposed around the window opening. The window head would be protected, sometimes by setting the face of the gable forward of the window plane, and often by the use of slate, tile or lead hanging on the gable and on the ‘cheeks’, the sides of the dormer, where they would often project beyond the front corner posts. Render and lead are popular and attractive materials for the gable and cheeks.
Dormers can be built in three possible locations on the roof:
- At the eaves aligned to the external wall face
- At the eaves aligned to the internal wall face
- Packed up off one of the purlins
Most changes to dormers on listed buildings, other than very minor repairs, will require listed building consent. It is recommended that a member of the Council’s Conservation and Design Section is contacted for advice prior to any work on listed buildings, and before an application is made.