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For people named Dormer, see Dormer (surname).
Two eyebrow dormers and a gable form part of a face.
Pier House, by Corry pier, Broadford, Skye formerly Campbell's Temperance Hotel, c.1880
Dormer windows and flying buttresses on the side of the Central Philippine University Church.
A dormer window on the Wijngaardplein (nl) in Bruges, Belgium

A dormer is a structural element of a building that protrudes from the plane of a sloping roof surface. Dormers are used, either in original construction or as later additions, to create usable space in the roof of a building by adding headroom and usually also by enabling addition of windows.[1]

Often conflated with the term "dormer", a dormer window is a window set into the dormer. Like skylights, dormer windows are a source of light and ventilation for top floors, but unlike skylights (which are parallel to the roof surface) they also increase the amount of headroom in the room and allow for more usable space.

A blind dormer or false dormer is a dormer that can only be seen from the outside of the house: it is roofed on the inside, and does not provide any extra space or light. These are often used to make the house appear more impressive.

A dormer is often one of the primary elements of a loft conversion.


The main types of dormer are:

Requirements for permission to construct[edit]

In some localities, permission must be sought for construction of dormers and other features. In England and Wales, the General Permitted Development Order states classes of development for which such planning permission is not required.[6] Such rights are only applicable outside of conservation areas, national parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or the The Broads.[6] Dormers may introduce imbalance in the street scene and be seen as inappropriate within the local setting of streets and buildings.[7]



Improperly constructed dormers are prone to leaks and give rise to expensive repairs.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Barr, Peter. "Illustrated Glossary - 19th Century Adrian Architecture". Retrieved June 17, 2009. 
  2. ^ Dictionary of Architecture & Construction, C.M.Harris.
  3. ^ "Eyebrow". Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  4. ^ A Visual Dictionary of Architecture. Francis D.K. Ching
  5. ^ Gitlin, Jane (2003). Capes: Design Ideas for Renovating, Remodeling, and Building New. Newtown, CT: Taunton. p. 44. ISBN 9781561584369. 
  6. ^ a b "Permitted Development Rights". Planning Portal website. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  7. ^ "Policy advice note: Garden city settlements". TCPA. October 2008. Retrieved 14 October 2013.