Cost-Effective Attic Window Replacement Solutions for Your Home

As a homeowner, finding cost-effective solutions to improve your home’s energy efficiency and aesthetic appeal is always a top priority.

If you want to upgrade your attic windows, you might be surprised to learn that dormer windows can be a great alternative. In fact, according to recent industry data, dormer windows are used instead of traditional attic windows in 30% of home renovations.

In this blog post, we will explore cost-effective attic window replacement solutions that incorporate dormer windows to help you achieve your desired outcome while keeping your budget in check.

Whether you’re looking to increase your home’s natural lighting, improve ventilation, or simply update your home’s exterior, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Stay tuned to discover how replacing your attic windows with dormer windows can be an affordable and effective solution for your home.

How To Replace Your Attic Windows With Dormer Windows?

Replacing your old attic windows with dormer windows is a significant home improvement project that can bring many benefits, including improved energy efficiency, natural light, and aesthetic appeal.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to replace your attic windows with dormer windows.

StepsEstimated Time
1. Planning and Preparation1 hour
2. Remove Old Attic Windows2 hours
3. Install Dormer Frame4 hours
4. Install the Dormer Window2 hours
5. Flashing New Dormer Windows3 hours
6. Finish the Interior4 hours

Step 1: Planning and Preparation

  • Measure the size of the new dormer window you will install. This will determine the opening size you will need to cut in the roof.
  • Check the building codes and regulations in your area for any specific requirements, such as minimum roof pitch, required roof materials, and maximum window size.
  • Get the essential permits from your town or local government.

Tools Required

  • Tape measure
  • Building code documents
  • Permits

Step 2: Remove Old Attic Windows

  • Remove the old attic windows and their frames. Use a screwdriver to remove any screws holding the frame in place and a hammer to pry the frame away from the roof gently.
  • Clean and prepare the area for the new dormer windows. Use a utility knife to remove any remaining caulk or debris from the opening in the roof.

Tools Required

  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Utility knife

Step 3: Install Dormer Frame

  • Install the new dormer window frame and secure it to the roof. Place the frame into the opening in the roof and use a drill to secure it to the roof rafters with nails or screws.
  • Apply a waterproof barrier around the perimeter of the frame. Use a self-adhering membrane, to seal the frame to the roof and prevent water from seeping into your home.

Tools Required

  • Drill
  • Nails or screws
  • Waterproof barrier

Step 4: Install the Dormer Window

  • Place the dormer window into the frame. Carefully lift the dormer window and place it into the frame, making sure it is level.
  • Secure the window into the frame with screws or nails. Use screws or nails to secure the window to the frame, ensuring that it is firmly in place.

Tools Required

  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Flashing

Step 5: Flashing New Dormer Windows

  • Install flashing along the sides of the dormer window. Cut strips of flashing to fit along the sides of the window, extending them over the top of the window frame.
  • Extend the flashing over the shingles to create a watertight seal. Overlap the flashing with the shingles on the roof, creating a watertight seal that prevents water from entering your home.

Tools Required

  • Flashing
  • Tin snips

Step 6: Finish the Interior

  • Install insulation around the dormer frame to improve energy efficiency. Use insulation to fill any gaps around the frame and prevent air leaks, improving your home’s energy efficiency.
  • Finish the interior walls and ceiling to match the room’s other elements. Install drywall and paint or decorate the walls and ceiling of the dormer to match the style of the rest of the room.

Tools Required

  • Insulation
  • Drywall
  • Paint
  • Roller or paintbrush

It’s important to keep safety in mind when undertaking any home improvement project, especially when working at height.

Ensure you have the necessary safety equipment, such as a safety harness and ladder, and take appropriate precautions to avoid injury.

If you need more confidence in completing the project safely, hiring a professional to do the job is best.

Signs That Your Attic Window Needs Replacement?

Your attic window is essential to your home’s insulation and ventilation system. It’s important to know the signs of when it needs to be replaced to ensure your home stays comfortable and energy-efficient.

Sign 1: Drafty or Leaky Attic Window

If you feel drafts coming in around your attic window or notice water stains on the walls or ceiling beneath it, this may be a sign that the window is not sealing properly and needs to be replaced.

DIY Treatment

If the draft or leak is minor, you can fix it with weatherstripping around the window’s edges or by applying caulking to any gaps or cracks in the frame.

However, if the leak is more severe or the window is warped or damaged, it’s best to replace it entirely.

Sign 2: Visible Damage to the Window Frame or Glass

If you notice visible damage to the frame or glass of your attic window, such as cracks, warping, or broken panes, this is a clear sign that the window needs to be replaced.

DIY Treatment

Unfortunately, there’s no DIY treatment for significant damage to the window frame or glass. You’ll need to replace the window entirely to ensure your attic is properly sealed and insulated.

Sign 3: Difficulty Opening or Closing the Window

If you’re having trouble opening or closing your attic window, this could be a sign that the window frame has warped or that the window has become stuck in its tracks.

DIY Treatment

If the window is stuck, you can fix the problem by lubricating the tracks or gently tapping the window frame with a hammer to loosen it.

However, if the frame is warped or damaged, or if the window won’t stay open or closed once you’ve moved it, it’s time to replace the window.

Sign 4: Increased Energy Bills or Temperature Fluctuations

If you notice a significant increase in your energy bills or if your attic feels much warmer or cooler than the rest of your home, this could be a sign that your attic window is not providing adequate insulation.

DIY Treatment

If the window is simply letting in a bit of outside air, you can improve its insulation by adding weatherstripping or applying a window film to the glass.

However, if the window is significantly warped or damaged, or if it’s clear that the insulation is simply inadequate, it’s time to replace it.

Additional Tips For Your Attic Window Replacement

A DIY project like replacing your attic windows is time-consuming. So, it’s always better to remember some critical notes while working on the project.

These tips will save you a ton of working time and reduce any extra work in the process.

  • Start by learning about the process of attic window replacement by watching tutorials or seeking advice from a professional. It’s crucial to have a solid understanding of the steps involved before attempting the task yourself.
  • Use the right techniques for your specific attic window replacement. Different windows require different approaches, so take the time to determine the best method for your particular window.
  • Gather all the necessary tools for the job. You’ll need safety glasses, a screwdriver, a caulk gun, waterproof shims, a hammer, a small pry bar, a tape measure, a level, a power drill/driver, a putty, and a utility knife.
  • Avoid rushing the process. Take your time and work slowly and carefully to ensure the best possible outcome. Rushing can result in errors that may require expensive future repairs.
  • Accurately measure the size of your attic window before starting the replacement process. This will ensure that you purchase the right size window and that it fits properly in your attic space.
  • Check the size of your attic space as well to ensure that the window you choose will fit correctly. If the window is too big or too small, you may have to make additional modifications to the attic, which can be costly and time-consuming.
  • Always use safety equipment when working on attic windows. Safety glasses are a must, and you may also want to consider wearing gloves and a dust mask, especially if you’re working with insulation.
  • If you’re unsure about any part of the replacement process, seek advice from a professional. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to working on your home.
  • Don’t forget to seal any gaps or openings around the window after installation. This will help to prevent drafts and keep your attic energy-efficient.
  • Finally, maintain your attic window regularly to ensure it remains in good condition for years to come. Regular cleaning and inspection can help to prevent issues from arising and extend the lifespan of your window

Take A Look At Different Attic Window Types

Attic windows come in various styles, sizes, and materials, each with its unique features and benefits. Here are some of the most common types of attic windows:

Roof Windows

  • Designed to be installed directly into the roofline.
  • Available in a range of sizes and styles to fit different roofing materials and pitches.
  • Offer a clear view of the sky and provide ample natural light.
  • Can be opened for ventilation and easy access to the roof.


  • installed into the roof directly and tilted to let sunlight into the room.
  • Can be fixed or vented for additional ventilation.
  • Energy-efficient models are available with insulated glazing and UV filters to reduce heat transfer and protect against fading.
  • Ideal for rooms where privacy is not a concern, such as attics or bathrooms.

Dormer Windows

  • Project out from the sloping roofline and have their own roof.
  • Available in a variety of shapes and sizes, including gabled, shed, and hipped styles.
  • Allow for additional headroom and natural light in attic spaces.
  • Can be custom-built to match the architectural style of the home.

Gable Windows

  • Located on the gable end of the house, provide an unobstructed view of the outdoors.
  • Can be installed as a fixed window or with operable sashes for ventilation.
  • Typically larger than other attic window types, allowing for maximum natural light and ventilation.
  • Available in a variety of substances, such as vinyl, wood, and aluminum.

Hopper Windows

  • Hinged at the bottom and open inward for ventilation.
  • Typically smaller than other attic window types and installed high on the wall to maximize space.
  • Ideal for small attics or rooms with limited wall space.
  • Can be combined with other window types for additional light and ventilation.

Bottom Line: 

In conclusion, replacing your attic window may seem daunting and expensive, but ensuring your home is properly insulated and ventilated is crucial.

By considering the cost-effective solutions I’ve discussed in this blog, such as DIY treatments and choosing the right window materials, you can make the process more manageable and affordable.

Remember to consult a professional if you’re unsure about the best option for your home, and don’t hesitate to invest in a high-quality replacement window to improve your home’s energy efficiency and overall comfort.


How much does it cost to install a window in the attic?

On average, you can expect to pay between $1,000 to $3,000 to install a standard-sized attic window in the USA. However, this cost can vary significantly depending on your location, the quality of the window you choose, and the specific requirements of your project. It is always best to acquire a more accurate price for your specific circumstance from multiple sources.

What is the best way to cover attic windows?

For covering attic windows, plantation shutters are an excellent option due to their ability to fit odd shapes and angles. It’s recommended to have a professional measure and install custom-fit shutters to ensure complete coverage of the window, providing privacy and protection against unwanted sun glare.

Should attic windows be open or closed in summer?

In the summer, the temperature inside an attic can rise significantly, sometimes reaching up to 140 degrees or even higher. Without proper ventilation, this heat can continue to build up and affect the overall comfort levels in the rooms below, even during the night when temperatures typically drop.