The attic is a sort of mysterious space in the home. It’s defined as the area just below the roof of the house. While insulation and ventilation are typical concerns for attics, sometimes that includes windows. Dormer windows, top-hinged roof windows, rose windows, and skylights all serve to illuminate, ventilate and add appeal to pitched (pointed) roofs. Furthermore, an attic window also acts as an emergency escape hatch. There are two types of windows for the attic – dormers, and skylights. Both can be retrofitted. Both can be considered an investment in your home.
Why Is There a Window in the Attic?
Skylights let in lots of natural light. Some open and some don’t. Those that do open let in the fresh air. Some skylights can be automated which makes them very convenient. Skylights also help to warm up attic rooms and allow plants to be used to decorate the attic space.
Dormer windows are boxed-shaped windows that protrude out of the roof and are vertical. They have the same advantages as skylights in terms of illumination and ventilation, however, to a different degree. A key benefit of a dormer window is that they add curb appeal by enhancing the aesthetics of a home.
If you are considering installing an attic window there are a few things to take note of. Firstly, decide on the purpose of the window. Is it just to add an attractive façade or should you opt for functional windows that can open? Check for roof strength and window durability. The roof structure must be able to support the window. The supporting structure must be sturdy, therefore, it may need to be reinforced. When thinking about durability, consider what the window frame will be made of and the integrity of the material such as wood or aluminum. House structures can only accommodate certain size windows so give some thought to how many windows you need. Also, think about the outside attractiveness of a dormer window. It may need a little pointed roof of its own or an awning. Lastly, think about single or double glazing.
Advantages of Attic Windows
In the case of a fire or flooding emergency, an attic window doubles as an escape hatch.
Most attics were originally designed for storage. With a skylight or dormer window, you reduce the need for a single hanging light bulb.
Air out the attic and get rid of that musty and often damp smell by opening the window.
Increase curb appeal and the value of your property for when it comes time to sell your home.
A single window in the attic or several windows will give you more options when considering how to convert the attic into a comfortable living, working, or play space. A pitched roof has two sides to play with, therefore the attic can be subdivided if you choose to use it for a combination of things.
Heating becomes very important when you decide to transition the attic into a functional part of your home. A dormer window or skylight will let the warmth of the sun in all day long.
A word to the wise
Attic windows are subjected to the elements on the outside as they are exposed to heat, rain, and ice. Inside, attics and wooden window frames are susceptible to pests, leaks, and electrical wiring fires. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to choose the right window and to have it professionally fitted. Be sure to get a couple of references before going ahead with your new window on the world.
Additional Reading: Skylights – Energy.gov
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