29 Dec 2021

Why Is There a Window in the Attic?

Window in the Attic

The attic is a sort of mysterious space in the home. Attic space is 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 into your living spaces and in some cases, attic spaces as well. Some open and some don’t. Those that do open let in the fresh air. Some skylights can even 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

Dormer windows are boxed-shaped windows that protrude out of the roof and are vertical. This type of window has the same advantages as skylights in terms of illumination and ventilation (air flow), 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.

Key features

If you are considering a home improvement project to install 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 a functional, energy-efficient window 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

Emergency exit

In the case of a fire or flooding emergency, an attic window doubles as an escape hatch.

Improved lighting

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.

Should you open your attic window in the summer?

While it is okay for your attic to be hot in the summer, excess heat can drain cool air from your home faster than the AC unit can replace it. However, it is generally not a good idea to open attic windows in the summer, as more hot air will enter the home. Instead, experts recommend placing fans in the attic space pointed towards the ceiling. This will help to blow the cold air from the floor upwards to circulate. For maximum ventilation, place the fans near floor vents and have them face toward attic vents.

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 in order to keep cooling costs down. 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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We pride ourselves on hiring only the most knowledgeable and experienced installers in the industry. We know how important this investment is to a homeowner and we want to educate you on every aspect you should consider before making your final decision.

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