# The Difference Between Dormer and Gable Windows

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Beautiful home with dormer windows
Image Credit: Elenathewise/iStock/Getty Images

The gable ends sit beneath the roof where the angled sides of the roof meet at its peak on a first, second or third story of a house. If you were to run an imaginary line between the bottom ends of each roof, it would form a triangle with the roof's peak forming the highest point on the triangle. Dormers are architectural protrusions from the sloping angle of the roof that have a window at the end of the protrusion with its own mini-roof to shed water.

Video of the Day

## Pitched Roofs

Detail of dormer windows
Image Credit: Peerayot/iStock/Getty Images

As architectural elements that extend out from the sloping angle of a roof, dormers are built into the roof in attic rooms; they allow additional space and light into a room that is usually confined by the steep angles of the roof. The angle and height of the roof's peak is calculated by a formula that determines its pitch. For example, a 4-to-1 pitch rises 4 inches for every 12 inches of the roof's bottom measurement, as measured from outside edge to its center point. If that side of the roof is 12 feet from the roof's edge to the imaginary line drawn vertically from the top peak to form a 90-degree triangle, the peak at the height of the roof will measure 4 feet with the bottom 12-foot long horizontal line. Dormers are added to roofs with much steeper pitches.

## Gable Windows

Modern home with gable windows
Image Credit: bobbidog/iStock/Getty Images

The gable window sits at the end of a pitched roof on the side of the house with a flat surface to allow natural light into the room. It doesn't require a protrusion because it is not placed into the sloping angle of the roof. It appears like a normal window set onto the house's side. The width of the house at the gable end determines how many windows can be placed in this area, as well as its proportions in relationship to the rest of the house.

## Dormer Windows

Home with dormer windows on a sunny winter day
Image Credit: JessieEldora/iStock/Getty Images

The dormer protrusion on a sloped roof is determined by the size of the window and the designer's preference. Some people add blind or false dormers as an architectural feature in homes. But homes with an attic conversion that features an extra bedroom or an office welcome the addition of light and extra headroom that a dormer window brings. The dormer itself has its own roof, which can be a hip, eyebrow, shed, segmental or gable roof, depending on the architectural design.

## Gable Dormer Window

View of windows of a home
Image Credit: Svetlana Atenzon/iStock/Getty Images

A dormer window with a gable roof is known as a gable dormer window. It isn't on the gable end of the house, as it sits on the sloped angle of the roof, just like other dormer windows. When you have several dormer windows on the sloped angle of the roof facing the street, use the same window treatments for a cohesive look, unless they are blind or false dormers. More often than not, these windows have a shape and size proportionate to the rest of the house, which helps create visual appeal.