All About Clerestory Windows | Clerestory Architecture | Clerestory Window Installation

All About Clerestory Windows

Introduction of Clerestory Windows

Clerestory means any high window. In the interior of the Gothic church, the windows above the main floor are seen in clerestory style. The word is derived from a combination of the words “clear” and “story. These windows are installed above eye level.

The idea of ​​the clerestory is visible in the temples of ancient Egypt. The word “clerestory” is found associated with Egyptian temples. Clerestory was used in Hellenistic architecture during the later period of ancient Greek culture.

What Is Clerestory Window?

What Is Clerestory Window

The clerestory window is a set of long and narrow windows placed above eye level to add natural light to the interior space. They are usually in a single row under the roof.

This window is installed above the roof lines or overhangs to maximize the amount of light. Clerestory window is usually found in modern homes along with floor-to-sealing windows and skylights.

The regular window can be opened in a wall covered with a glass pane so that fresh air can enter the house. The high window is used as a specialty of interior design and is installed at the upper part of the wall to accept the light.

Purpose of Clerestory Windows

Purpose of Clerestory Windows

The Clerestory window is useful in highlighting the interior space. This window can be used to get more light without using more wall space. This window allows the light to penetrate just like low light in warm climates.

As sunlight comes into the room from the top or from the sides, it spreads light all over the room. When the other pane is fixed at the upper part of the wall, the wall appears to be made of glass.

Clerestory Architecture

Clerestory Architecture

The bedroom has a clerestory window that resonates with the dynamic geometry formed by both ceilings, angular ceilings, and wooden beams. The house has the same roofing windows around and it is useful in providing attractive views of the valley.

Clerestory Architecture (1)

A two-story living room with liberal clerestory is found in the penthouse. Cast in a neutral palette that offers a beautiful feature for the view of the sky and the city.

Clerestory window Architecture

The large living room of the house that is more opened by the clerestory underlines the entire space. The row of windows is complemented by low, linear furniture, in which furniture such as leather chairs and Cassina table is used beautifully.


The clerestory on the house is seen as a wedge between the wall and the ceiling, which already spreads sunlight in the open kitchen. The glass adjacent to the ceiling also has windows that can remain open and ventilate the inside.

Clerestory Architecture (2)

The guest with a high clerestory looks wonderful in the bedroom in a house located at the base of the mountain range. With the addition of excess sunlight, the clerestory windows add extra height to the space and give a high level of architecture to the home.

Clerestory Architecture (3)

Home repairs work in harmony with the open-plan architecture. The living room has a high arch and an outer wall of glass that provides views of the side courtyard. A whitewashed brick wall without windows offers a good space to display artwork and decorative items.


The coastline has a cozy study, which does not seem to be enclosed by a narrow, released clerestory. Winds and shelves without windows provide good space that can be used to display artwork and books.

Also Read: All About Bay Windows | What Is Bay Window | Uses of Bay Windows | Types of Bay Windows | Size of Bay Windows

Clerestory Windows Sizes

Clerestory Windows Sizes

Clerestory window is available in different sizes. There is no standard for any time. Some clerestory is 1 foot wide and 2 feet long. Some other clerestory is 10 feet wide and 20 feet long. Go-to-style is found to be used for narrow high walls.

Clerestory Window Installation

Clerestory Window Installation

The clerestory window is installed at the outer or interior walls of the house at the same height as the roof. In the interior installation, this window is often found along the walls of the corridor which can cause a lack of natural light source.

It is very important whether framing support is present. These windows place the pieces of the walls so that they usually have to bear the load. Considering this, it is important to consider the design of the building, when choosing the right location of the window.

The process of installing a clerestory window should be done by keeping in mind certain things to prevent problems during or after installation.

Installing a clerestory window is structurally easy. They are usually either under the eaves or above the stairs. Both of these areas gain the benefit of additional natural light.

These windows should be installed in the north or south way. South-soft clerestory windows require overhangs. The windows on the north will get less light which is favorable for the house because such a condition will not overheat the room.

Clerestory Windows Cost

Clerestory Windows Cost

1. Economy Clerestory Windows

The clerestory window is available in custom-maid designs to fit the specific needs of the building. It is imperative to seek the help of an experienced professional to install it in the house as there is a need to make extensive changes in the building.

Due to these various factors, the cost of installing a clerestory window can vary significantly. This window does not have different parts so this window replacement window price may be higher. Installing the Economy Clerestory window can cost around $ 850 to $ 1500.

2. Standard Clerestory Windows

The standard clerestory windows are made of glass and have 3 or 4 narrow window panes. This window is usually fixed in place so cannot open for ventilation. Install the standard clerestory window has to cost around $ 1500 to $ 2550.

The standard clerestory window is probably made of materials like double-paned, vinyl, fiberglass, or wood. Adjustable windows are found on the outer edges in many places in the mid-range clerestory window installation.

3. High-End Clerestory Windows

Installing a high-end clerestory window can cost around $ 2500 to $ 4100.These high-end windows are usually made of wood or steel and are larger than the standard window.

High-end windows include adjustable window units such as a casement or awning window. This type of configuration is able to provide maximum ventilation in the interior of the home.

Clerestory Window Vs Transom Window

Clerestory Window Vs Transom Window

The clerestory window is a narrow window installed under the ceiling in the interior space of the house. The clerestory window is sometimes designed to open and enter fresh air. This window is designed to increase the amount of light in many large spaces.

The transom window is located above the door. This window allows light and fresh air to enter the room when the door is closed. A transom window is usually more common in the ray house. This window provides long, narrow corridors light, and ventilation.

Advantages of Clerestory Windows

Advantages of Clerestory Windows

Here are the clerestory windows’ pros as follows.

1. Lighting

Lighting can be considered the most obvious and biggest benefit of clerestory windows. They enter the natural light into the heart of the building directly and can provide a beautiful view of the sky.

The clerestory window is a good option to display the furniture and pieces of artwork against the walls in the room. This window is an excellent option to allow light when leaving plenty of space for precious items.

2. Style

The clerestory window is useful to make the home very modern and aesthetic. Many modern architectures emphasize highly creative window styles and placements.

Many of the high windows are responsible for them being dirty, and they have difficulty cleaning. But if the clerestory windows are properly cleaned, it works well.

3. Health Benefits

Natural light offers many benefits for health as well as better mood and well-being as much as possible in natural light. These windows can provide a lot of light as the wall is located at a height.

4. Temperature Regulation

If the clerestory window is operable design it allows the wind to move throughout the house. In the summer months, such windows are very useful to allow extra heat to go out of the house.

5. Size

The size of the clerestory window works importantly. Large windows can provide a wonderful view, light, and air environment outside the room, but as well as they affect the energy efficiency of the home.

If the small windows are set in a thick part of the wall and made of the right type of glass, they can deal with the problem of temperature fluctuations. Fitting blinds or shades on small windows for temperature control is also easy.

Disadvantages of Clerestory Windows

Disadvantages of Clerestory Windows

Here are the clerestory windows’ cons as follows.

1. Less Energy Efficient

Excessive amounts of light from this window enter the room, so the room temperature rises. To reduce this high temperature, resources like air conditioners have to be used. Therefore, this window proves to be weak in terms of energy efficiency.

2. Expensive

These windows are expensive compared to regular windows because they are located at a high height on the wall.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What Is the Difference Between a Transom Window and a Clerestory Window?

The clerestory window is a narrow window installed under the ceiling in the interior space of the house. The clerestory window is sometimes designed to open and enter fresh air.

The transom window is located above the door. This window allows light and fresh air to enter the room when the door is closed. A transom window is usually more common in the ray house.

What Direction Should Clerestory Windows Face?

These windows should be installed in the north or south way. South-soft clerestory windows require overhangs. The windows on the north will get less light which is favorable for the house because such a condition will not overheat the room.

Can You Open Clerestory Windows?

Clerestory windows are often used for natural light. Sometimes they are designed to open and remove the inside air. The clerestory window is available in both designs: Fixed and Operable.

What Are Windows at Top of Wall Called?

The windows located at the top of the wall are called clerestory windows. The clerestory window has a large window or structure that is in a range of small windows at the top of the wall. Clerestory windows are a type of glass window used in residential and professional construction.

Clerestory Windows Design Ideas

Clerestory windows are an architectural feature that can transform the look and feel of a space while providing practical benefits such as increased natural light and improved ventilation. These windows are typically placed high on a wall, above eye level, allowing for privacy while still allowing light to filter into the room. If you’re considering incorporating clerestory windows into your design, here are some ideas to inspire you:

  1. Bring in Nature: Position clerestory windows strategically to frame views of nature, such as treetops, mountains, or a beautiful skyline. These windows can create a connection between the interior and the outdoor environment, adding a sense of tranquility and bringing natural elements into the space.
  2. Artistic Statements: Clerestory windows provide an opportunity to showcase unique and artistic designs. Consider installing stained glass or frosted glass panels to add a touch of elegance and create a visually stunning focal point. These decorative elements can create a play of colors and light, enhancing the overall ambiance of the room.
  3. Privacy with Light: If privacy is a concern, consider incorporating frosted or textured glass for your clerestory windows. These options allow natural light to filter through while obscuring the view from outside, maintaining privacy while still creating a bright and airy space.
  4. Accentuate Architectural Features: Highlight the architectural details of your space by aligning clerestory windows with interesting features such as exposed beams, vaulted ceilings, or a sloping roofline. The placement of the windows can accentuate these unique elements, adding depth and visual interest to the room.
  5. Functional Ventilation: Clerestory windows can be designed to open and provide ventilation in rooms where traditional windows may not be feasible, such as in bathrooms or kitchens. Operable clerestory windows allow hot air to escape and promote air circulation, improving indoor air quality and reducing the need for artificial cooling.

Benefits of Installing Clerestory Windows

Clerestory windows provide ventilation and are effective in passive energy design. As heat rises it is beneficial to use clerestory windows near the ceiling to vent hot air. Ceiling fans can be used to accelerate air flow and help expel hot air from a room.

Clerestory Windows Installation Cost in USA

Installation can cost anywhere between $800 and $2500 due to the location of the window opening and how much extra framing is needed to fill in the space. On average, this would put the total cost between $2500 and $3500.

Clerestory Windows Vs. Skylights: Pros and Cons

Clerestory roofs are often compared to skylights and other roofing features, such as dormer windows. While skylights are located on the roof and can cause issues with glare and heat gain, clerestory roofs are located higher up on the wall, providing more consistent light throughout the day.

Top-Rated Clerestory Window Manufacturers

While it is difficult to provide an exhaustive list of top-rated clerestory window manufacturers, here are some well-known and reputable companies known for producing high-quality windows:

  1. Andersen Windows: Andersen is a leading manufacturer of windows and doors, known for their craftsmanship and energy-efficient designs. They offer a wide range of window styles, including clerestory windows, and are known for their durability and attention to detail.
  2. Pella Windows and Doors: Pella is another well-established manufacturer that offers a variety of window options, including clerestory windows. They are known for their innovative designs, energy efficiency, and customization options.
  3. Marvin Windows and Doors: Marvin is a family-owned company that has been in operation for over a century. They are known for their commitment to craftsmanship, quality, and design flexibility. Their clerestory windows can be tailored to suit various architectural styles.
  4. Velux: Velux specializes in skylights and roof windows, but they also offer clerestory window solutions. They are known for their high-quality materials, energy-efficient designs, and innovative features that enhance natural light and ventilation.
  5. Western Window Systems: Western Window Systems focuses on contemporary and modern window designs. They offer customizable clerestory windows that emphasize clean lines and large glass areas, allowing for maximum natural light and stunning views.

Clerestory Vs Transom Windows

Clerestory Windows vs. Transom Windows: What’s the Difference? Transom windows sit above doorways, allowing light and sometimes fresh air into a room when the door is closed, while clerestory windows are often narrow windows installed at or above the roofline in an interior living space.

Clerestory Windows Pros and Cons

Clerestory windows offer several advantages and have a few considerations to keep in mind. Here are the pros and cons of incorporating clerestory windows into your design:


  1. Increased Natural Light: Clerestory windows are positioned high on the wall, allowing natural light to enter the room from above. This enhances the overall brightness of the space, reduces the need for artificial lighting during the day, and creates a more open and inviting atmosphere.
  2. Privacy: Since clerestory windows are placed high on the wall, they offer privacy while still allowing light to filter in. They can bring in natural light without compromising on the occupants’ privacy, especially in urban or densely populated areas.
  3. Ventilation: Depending on their design, clerestory windows can be operable, allowing for improved air circulation and ventilation. They can help exhaust hot air and provide a passive cooling effect, especially in rooms where traditional windows may not be feasible.


  1. Cost: Clerestory windows may involve additional construction and installation costs compared to standard windows due to their unique placement and design. Factors such as custom sizing, materials, and structural modifications can increase the overall expense.
  2. Limited Views: As clerestory windows are typically placed high on the wall, the view they offer may be limited. While they provide privacy, they may not provide expansive views of the surroundings or allow for direct sightlines to specific points of interest.
  3. Maintenance Challenges: Cleaning and maintaining clerestory windows can be challenging due to their elevated position. Depending on the height and accessibility, regular cleaning may require specialized equipment or professional assistance.

What Is a Clerestory Roof?

A clerestory typically consists of a wall built above part of the roof with high windows to let in light. A clerestory can be easily created using the Roof Cuts Wall at Bottom setting in the Wall Specification.

Clerestory Window Dimensions

Size: Maximum width 3000mm at maximum height of 700mmHeight up to 2700mm at maximum width of 1500mmHeight minimum 450mm.

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