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What is a Canadian Dormer?

Canadian Dormers are an architectural feature that is common around many parts of New Hampshire. Interestingly enough, if you “Google” them, you don’t find any information on them. But talking to many builders around New Hampshire, the name is appropriate and does apply to the feature.

And as home inspectors, we don’t necessarily have to know what many features are actually called, but in my opinion, it’s nice to know the correct name. We could just call them dormers and that would be appropriate enough, but considering that we have so many unique architectural features here in New England (such as Beverly Jogs – see my blog on those…), it’s great to be that much more knowledgeable for our clients, especially those not native to New England.

So what does a Canadian Dormer look like? Well, it could best be described as an almost ludicrously high and very steep “A” Frame Dormer. In this case, it’s more an architectural feature than a functional space.

They are visible in many parts of Manchester and downtown Goffstown, where we’ve had a lot of influence from French Canadians over the years. The building that I know best and that comes to my mind first, is the old white house conspicuously located surrounded by all the commercial buildings on the island of land that encompasses “Three Corners” in Weare, New Hampshire. Ironically, my business partner used to own that building when he was a builder, and he’s the one that first coined the term “Canadian Dormer” in my presence.

Honestly, before then, I had never given them a second look. But now I see them everywhere and they jump right out at me. They definitely add a lot of character to a home.

Look for them as you admire the changing leaves in fall!