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You’re here because you want to learn more about eyebrow windows. You’ve seen them on exotic houses, the neighbor has a new set, or you’ve always been fascinated with peeping eye dormers. Your reason doesn’t matter.
The point is, you need to know if you should get them, if you can afford them, and how to go about doing so. So that’s what we’ve found out!
Eyes Of Sibiu
One of the most famous sets of eyebrow windows can be found on Transylvanian buildings in Sibiu. They are prominent on houses like the Haller House and monuments like the Făgăraș Citadel.
This city is one of the first places to feature eyebrow windows, dating back to the 15th century. There are tales stating that the windows were made to haunt those who walked by, as they look like eyes following you.
This was only enforced when Bram Stoker wrote his now-famous novel Dracula as Transylvania is the vampire’s home. The real reason, however, the windows were installed in these buildings was for ventilation.
What Is A Dormer?
What you need to know about eyebrow windows is another, often more popular, name for them. They are also called eyebrow dormers. A dormer is simply a window on a pitched roof. They look cool, but what are the practical reasons to add them?
As mentioned above, the Eyes Of Sibiu were added for ventilation. That’s the reason a lot of dormers are added. Even when that space is simply the ceiling instead of a second story. Windows up there are great for ventilation.
Sometimes, in order to use an attic or loft space, you need a little extra room. You can add a window seat, a built-in bed, or simply some place to put a chest. The extra ceiling and floor space is always a plus.
Letting Natural Light In
Dormers are a safer and more efficient way to add light than simple flat windows. When adding flat windows to a roof, you need to be careful. When it hails, the glass can break easily when there isn’t a hood.
Creating A Functional Room
All of these reasons together create the main reason these dormers are added to an attic or loft. If someone is going to live in that space, it needs light, space, and ventilation.
Types of Dormers
An eyebrow window is just one type of dormer. There are many others related to eyebrow windows that may suit you even better. Take a look at the different types to find your perfect fit.
The gabled dormer is a simple triangle dormer. It is very common, with vertical sides and two slopes meeting the roof on either side. Another name for this type of dormer is a doghouse dormer since it is similar in shape.
Hip Roof Dormer
The hipped dormer has three sloping planes rather than two like a gabled dormer has. There are also three walls. The lip can come down to cover the windows or simply meet the walls, not offer much protection.
A flat dormer is simple enough. It is similar to the hipped dormer only instead of sloping planes, there is a single flat roof above them. Oftentimes, this piece is slanted to let rainfall escape the area.
The shed dormer is similar to a flat dormer only the top is always slanted, often quite drastically. It is often slanted at only a slightly milder angle than the roof itself. It gets its name because it is usually added to sheds.
This dormer is quite different than others as it doesn’t set up on the roof. Instead, it’s a continuation of the wall. It has two sloped pieces that meet above it and two walls added to fill the gaps. This type of dormer is easy to add during construction.
Also called an eyelid dormer, this is the dormer we’re talking about today. It has a curved top that makes it look like the house has eyes that are peeking out at strangers passing by. This is likely the most unique type of dormer.
This dormer is the only type of dormer that doesn’t need a window. It is simply a convex area of the roof built on to house a chimney or link the house to another area or an add-on to the original house.
A bonneted dormer is similar to an eyebrow dormer because it has a curved top. However, it also has walls on three sides, making it different all the same. The ends don’t meet the roof but are set out a bit.
A Nantucket dormer is actually a combination of dormers. It has a shed dormer in the center which is connecting two doghouse dormers. You can see these in many modern homes with pitched roofs acting as the upper level.
A Lucarne dormer has a steep pitch that you’d see on a cathedral, gothic or Victorian building. It looks like a spire, often seen on towers or in storybooks. It is the most fantastical and rare type of dormer today.
Also called a false dormer, these dormers offer no practical use. They don’t add light, space, or ventilation. They are simply added to make a house look more appealing on the outside. This is the cheapest way to add a dormer.
Cost Of Eyebrow Windows
The cost of adding eyebrow windows varies of course. However, you probably won’t pay more than $10,000. If that’s still too high for you, then consider these things to find out if your project will be on the high or low end.
Size Of Your Window
This is a given, but the bigger the window, the more materials needed and the bigger the project. So the size and location of your window really do matter. Ask a contractor to give you a quote and to offer you the cheapest location.
Age Of Your House
The older your house, the harder it will be to install eyebrow windows, generally. It’s harder to match old hardware and wood. Plus, it’s more dangerous to work with old houses. Not to mention screws are more popular now than they used to be.
Yes, we’ve talked about wall dormers but did you know you can make eyebrow wall dormers? They are cheaper because they are a continuation of your wall. If you like this look, then consider them for a more affordable eyebrow window.
Adding Your Own Eyebrow Windows
If you have experience in construction, you may want to attempt adding eyebrow windows yourself. If that’s the case, then you’ll need to follow these instructions carefully. Beware, this isn’t going to be easy.
Creating The Blueprint
This is important. Probably the most important step because it will affect every other step in this process. You will want to measure the area you want to put the window. How tall, how wide, and how deep.
Remember, measure twice, cut once. I cannot stress this enough. So after you get your measurements down, you need to mark your plywood and your rafters. These will be your two main woodworking projects.
Two-by-fours are used for the rafters while plywood is usually used for the vertical parts. Plywood is also used to cover the rafters, setting between them and your roof covering.
Getting Your Window
Before making your cuts, you need to make sure you can get a window that will fit your frame. If you install your frame and can’t get a window that works, you’ll be in trouble. If you can’t find a window to fit, you may need a custom one.
Even then, contact the manufacturer to get a quote and to make sure that they can make what you want. You may need to change things around an inch or two before cutting out your pieces.
Get To The Cutting
This is the most nerve-racking part. If your cuts are wrong, inverted, or half-an-inch off, your project is delayed. Remember, measure, measure, measure! After you’re sure all of your measurements are correct, go ahead and cut.
Or, if you want to be really sure, make a complete cardboard prototype. This is super inexpensive and can let you know if any of your measurements are wrong in minutes.
Screw Everything In
Now that you’ve got all your pieces, you can finish your project. The first thing you’ll do is cut your hole. Cut it too big and you will have a mess to clean up. After you cut your hole, add your frame and rafters.
Don’t forget to match your roof with the appropriate shingles or other roofing. Take a picture and ask someone at the home improvement store if they have a match. And finally, get that window in to complete the look.
The Inside Work
The inside work is usually saved for last because it can be done in any weather, plus it’s not visible from the outside. But it does need to be done with care. This includes insulation and covering any holes you’ve made.
For a complete guide, make sure you take a look at this amazing project where you’ll learn everything you need to know. It takes you through the process with pictures and a video done by expert contractors.
Are Eyebrow Windows For You?
If you are in love with the look of eyebrow windows then you should probably look into getting them. The only con is the price tag. If that’s not enough to deter you then go for it. Your forever home should be your dream home. So make it happen!