How To Install Shingles, Shakes, And Tiles On A Dormer


Dormers look great and add an architectural element to the exterior of a structure. They are also a functional element that increases natural light in a space that wouldn’t otherwise have access to the exterior, and they can add living area to an upstairs space.

What Is A Dormer?

Dormers jut out from the sloped roof of a house or structure and include a window that is oriented vertically. The number of dormers depends on the size of the house and the interior layout, as dormers are used to increase livable space and add light to the top floor or attic of the home.

Dormer styles range from the familiar gable dormer to the lesser known eyebrow or barrel dormers. While the installation may differ for each style of dormer, the main focus should be on ensuring that there aren’t any places where water can leak underneath the tiles or along the wall of the dormer.

Dormer Roofing Materials And Cost

The first step when you install shingles around your dormer is to decide on the materials you’ll need to estimate the cost of the project. Roofing material choices include asphalt shingles, clay barrel tiles, slate tiles, cedar shakes, and composite tiles.

Though each type of roofing material comes with its advantages, composite tiles will allow you to create the look of a barrel tile, cedar shake, or slate roof, but without the weight and other disadvantages of using traditional materials. Composite tiles are made with recycled materials and can be recycled at their end of their life and they are available in a range of colors and variegation that creates an authentic look.

Composite roofing materials and installation can range from $4 to $6 per square foot — $400 to $600 per square. If you’re adding a dormer to an existing home, the remodel could cost anywhere from $2,500 to $20,000 and up depending on the size and type of the dormer, the amount of interior work needed, and the number of dormers you’re adding.

Types Of Dormers

Gable Dormers

This is the most common type of dormer and likely the one that comes to mind when you think of a dormer. A gable dormer has two sloped sides that meet in a peak with walls that jut out from the roof. A valley is formed where the main roof and dormer roof meet.

Hip Dormers

A hip dormer features a hipped roof rather than the simple gable. A hip refers to the place where two sides of the roof meet and slope downward away from each other. The place where the dormer roof and main roof meet also create a valley.

Shed Dormers

Shed dormers have a flat roof that slopes away from the main roof either from the ridge or a lower point on the roof slope. These can be small and have one or two windows, but many are much wider and feature three or even four windows.

Barrel Dormers

Unique and eye-catching, barrel dormers have a sloped roof and often taller walls. To roof a barrel dormer, the roofing material has to be curved to accommodate the curving roof.

Eyebrow Dormers

Less about adding space to the interior and more about adding an architectural element to the exterior, eyebrow dormers are named for their resemblance to an eyebrow as they create a bump in the roof and don't include walls.

How To Install Dormer Shingles, Shakes, And Roof Tiles

Let’s take a look at the steps involved when you install roof tiles, shakes, or shingles around a dormer.

1. Install Ice And Water Protector If Necessary

In areas where ice and water are common issues, you may need to install an ice and water protector before you install the underlayment and flashing.

2. Install Underlayment

This is a crucial step to protecting your home from moisture. Underlayment is the material that is installed directly on the roof deck — the plywood or OSB panels that create the base of the roof. Underlayment comes in two forms: asphalt felt and synthetic. Asphalt felt is typically more affordable but synthetic provides greater durability and water resistance and is easier to install.

3. Install Flashing

To further protect the underlying roof from moisture and leaks, you’ll need to install flashing along the three walls of the dormer and the points where the dormer roof and main roof connect.

4. Install Dormer Roof Tiles, Shingles, Or Shakes

Once the flashing is installed, it’s time for the main event — installing the roofing material. Whether you choose shingles, tile, or shakes, you’ll install them the way you would on the rest of the roof, cutting them to size, and making sure to shingle over the ridge or hips.

Choose Brava For Your Dormer

Brava offers beautiful options for any dormer:

Cedar Shake offers a realistic, true-to-life look of hand-split cedar shake, but since it’s made of synthetic materials, it captures the beauty of traditional cedar shake, but is better able to withstand moisture, wind, and sun.

Old World Slate captures the elegance of natural slate but won’t chip or flake over time. At a fraction of the weight of traditional slate tiles, it is easier to install.

Spanish Barrel Tiles provide the warmth and aesthetic appeal of clay tiles, but with a wide range of color options that the natural material can’t. It’s lightweight and won’t require structural reinforcement that’s needed to support traditional clay tiles.

Contact the experts at Brava today to discuss shake and tile options for your dormers.