A dormer window is a window that juts out from the slope of a roof and has its own separate roof covering it in miniature.
Dormer windows were created as a way to bring sunlight into an attic or loft space; they date all the way back to 12th century Europe but are still used in modern construction. In the more recent past, dormer windows often made appearances in colonial, Cottage Style, and Greek-Revival homes.
While dormer windows can be used in modern construction, they have become rare while remaining a distinctive feature of older homes. Dormer windows do come with an increased risk of roof leaks, just like anything that penetrates or disrupts the roof. Care should be taken when inspecting the flashing around dormer windows.
So, if you see a window with its own separate roof, it’s a dormer window. You now know how to spot a dormer. See you at the next inspection!