All About Transom Windows | Operable and Non Operable Transom Windows | What Is the Purpose of Transom Window

All About Transom Windows

Introduction of Transom Windows

transom name you may have heard sometimes! Transom means the horizontal wood above the frame of a window or door.

This is the only reason why this window is called Transom. The transom acts as a beam that separates the top of the window or door from the rest of the wall.

The transom window is located at the top of any window or door.

What Is the Purpose of Transom Window?

What Is the Purpose of Transom Window

In earlier times when there was no air conditioner, transom windows were used for ventilation. Transom windows were installed on the interior and exterior walls of the house. The need for ventilation was met by opening this high window.

The high height of the transom window allowed the door or window to be closed, maintaining both privacy and security.

The window hinge was operated with metal rods as it was difficult to reach the window from the bottom of the house. This method was used to open and close windows high above ground level.

But in modern times this difficult working system is not seen. Now the trend has changed. There are few transom windows that can be opened now.

Even if there is a transom window that can be opened, an electronic switch is used instead of a metal rod to open and close it.

Now, these windows are usually used as fixed transom windows to get more light or for decorative design.

What Is Transom Window?

What Is Transom Window


rectangular transom window

Transom windows range from a few inches to two feet in height and are as wide as a door. In some cases, it is more diffuse if it has sidelights. It is usually rectangular in shape so rectangular transom windows are found in most places.

Sometimes curved transom windows are found. Such arched transom windows are also called half-round transom windows or fanlights. An arched window above door or arched transom front door gives a different look to the house.

arched transom window

These windows are popular as pass-doorways on interior and exterior walls, as well as modern transom windows, which are used as decorations to complement the architectural style. This window is also called a transom light.

Stock transom windows or custom transom windows can be chosen to fit the standard door width to add sleek architectural details. External transom windows are often installed as part of the entire door system.

This window being a sealed unit enhances weather safety. Since modern windows come with a humidity sensor, they close automatically in rain-like conditions and can be opened or closed with a control panel.

Operable Transom Windows and Non Operable Transom Windows

Operable Transom Windows and Non Operable Transom Windows

Interior transom windows give a nostalgic look that creates the illusion of enlarging the space. Both non-operable and operable options are available in the transom window.

Non-operable vinyl, wood, or aluminum windows are available at lower prices while operable windows are more expensive as they are designed in a more complex way. Cladding on a wooden frame is an important addition to weatherproofing but also increases its cost.

If a transom window is required for new construction, it is advisable to install a combo in which the door, sidelights, and transom window are all sealed in one unit. But this combo can be very expensive.

Exterior wall windows are less popular with insects and weather concerns.

Uses of Transom Windows

Transom windows are used in different spaces and in connection with other types of windows or doors.

sliding patio doors with transom window

Transom windows can be used as indoor transom windows and exterior doors with sidelights and transom.

It is also in the awning type when the transom on the door is as operable. Because the awning type remains easy to keep automatic.

The awning type is easy to open and close with the remote. Transom awning windows can also be used with other windows or doors inside the house.


The window above the front door is very popular in transom windows. If this main door is made of fiber or wood, it looks extraordinary.

Fiber doors do not look as good as wooden doors in appearance, but they require less maintenance. Thus fiberglass front door with sidelights and a transom is a good idea.

In many places, these windows are found in combination with sliding windows. If it has a French door instead of a sliding one, its look is better than a sliding door with a transom window. An exterior French door with a transom window is a very popular style.

french door with transom window

If you are thinking of replacing the transom window above the front door, then it is necessary to consider both material and shape. The entrance looks elegant if wood is used as the material.

Its only minus point is that it requires a little care. All things considered, the wood front door with sidelights and transom is an excellent arrangement. It makes the house feel rich.

picture transom windows

There is also a transom window with a picture window. picture The long transom window above the window can be seen in many places. These transoms enhance the architectural look of the picture window. Transom windows are more suitable in the dining room.

double hung window with transom

In a space like a bedroom, a transom window casement or double-hung type will often be seen in conjunction. picture window with transom, casement window with transom, and double hung window with transom are the most commonly used types.

bathroom transom window

Transom windows can also be installed in a space like a bathroom. bathroom transom window can meet the main requirement of privacy and is also useful in bringing light inside. So transom window in the shower is a great idea.

There is also an option of custom transom windows to make it easier to use transom windows in each of the places mentioned above. Different brands provide custom transom windows.

Also Read: All About Single Hung Windows | How to Install Single Hung Windows | Single Hung Window Materials

Transom Window Installation

Transom Window Installation

Here are some important things to keep in mind when installing a transom window and a brief overview of the steps to install a window.

  1. Transom window installation depends on the height of the door and ceiling, whether the wall is interior or exterior, how much it weighs, etc.
  2. The standard procedure for installing this window is to remove the drywall and exterior cladding above the door. It will then have to remove a portion of the wall studs to reframe the section.
  3. Once the window is set new drywall has to be installed. Remove the exterior cladding if the wall is exterior. Finally, the window trim has to be installed.
  4. It is very important to make sure that the transom window will fit the house structurally.
  5. A ceiling higher than eight feet is more suitable for this window. However, window models with non-load-bearing internal partitions can fit on the door in the wall.
  6. When buying a new transom window it is important to read the installation specs carefully to determine the rough-in framing for a particular window model.
  7. If there is no concept of standard house framing then an experienced person should be consulted to choose a transom window for that wall and if the wall is load-bearing then this matter is very necessary.
  8. This is important because the entire wall section has to be opened to change the framing and add additional structural support.

Transom Window Installation Cost

Transom Window Installation Cost

The transom window is available on a low budget. The cost of installing it also depends on the material and local labor. It can cost approximately $ 150 to $ 300 to install.

Transom Window Replacement

Transom Window Replacement

Transom windows have many advantages as well as they are cheaper than other windows. These windows come in both operable and non-operable options so there is no problem in operating them. These windows add a good amount of light to the room and also meet the need for ventilation.

So this window has a positive attitude in every aspect as an alternative to replacement so there is no question in installing this window with good quality glass and material.

Advantages of Transom Windows

Advantages of Transom Windows

Here is the list of the Transom Windows Pros as follows.

1. Privacy

The transom window can be used in the bedroom as well as in the bathroom as it is very high from the bottom and proves to be useful in maintaining privacy. As this window is made of glass, it can also meet the need for light.

2. Cheaper

This window is very useful in case of a low budget. These windows are much cheaper than other windows. So it can be installed at a low cost.

3. Security

These windows are also useful for security as they are high. Due to the high altitude, access is difficult so it is a perfect choice for security.

4. Easy to Operate

These windows are also available with options that can be operated remotely so there is no hassle in operating them.

5. Wonderful Aesthetic Touch

Placing this window above the entrance gives the opening a wonderful aesthetic touch. This helps in giving the house a luxurious and elegant look. Connects to indoor doors or windows to enhance the architectural look.

Disadvantages of Transom Windows

Disadvantages of Transom Windows

Here is the list of the Transom Windows Cons as follows.

1. Difficult to Clean

This window is high so it is difficult to clean. This window needs a long metal rod to clean. Problems like mold and mildew occur if we do not clean them properly.

2. Not Suitable for All Places

These windows do not fit properly in every space. This window is suitable for high ceilings but does not fit well for low ceilings so you have to think about whether it will be suitable for the space before using it.

3. High Temprature

These windows are a nuisance in hot weather. If the glass of this window is not properly covered, the heat of sunlight raises the temperature of the space and also allows continuous light to come.

4. Ventilation Problem

These windows usually come in a fixed type so do not meet ventilation requirements. If we choose an operable window, it proves to be expensive due to its complex design.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Transom Window Cost

It can cost approximately $ 150 to $ 300 to install.

Front Door Transom

The window above the front door is very popular in transom windows. Installing a transom window at the top of the entrance allows light to enter the house even when the door is closed. If this window is operable then it also meets the requirement of ventilation.

Narrow Transom Window

Narrow transom windows are less common because transom windows are as wide as other windows or doors. However, some brands offer custom windows where you can get the desired size window.

Transom Window Glass Replacement

The cost of glass replacement depends mainly on the type of glass. Glass is expensive if it is of high quality and cheap if it is of low quality. The average value of glass is $ 40 per square foot. Adding labor to it gives the total cost of glass replacement.

Can Transom Windows Be Opened?

Yes, transom windows are available in both remote operable and non-operable options. Most often non-operable transom windows are found because operable windows are expensive due to their complex design.

Best Transom Window

  1. Pella Transom Windows
  2. Marvin Transom Windows
  3. Andersen Transom Windows

Transom Window Replacement Cost

The cost of transom window replacement is approximately $ 155 to $ 310 plus the cost of local labor.

Transom Windows Design Ideas for Home Interiors

Transom windows are a beautiful architectural feature that can add elegance and character to home interiors. They are typically located above doors or other windows, allowing natural light to flow between rooms and creating a sense of openness. Here are some design ideas for incorporating transom windows into your home interior:

  1. Stained Glass Transoms: Consider installing stained glass transom windows to add a touch of color and artistry to your space. Stained glass designs can range from traditional to modern, and they create a stunning focal point while still allowing light to pass through.
  2. Frosted or Textured Glass: If you want to maintain privacy while still allowing light transmission, opt for frosted or textured glass transom windows. These options provide a soft diffusion of light and add an element of sophistication to any room.
  3. Arched Transoms: Arched transom windows can add a sense of architectural grandeur to your home. They work particularly well in spaces with high ceilings or in rooms that already feature arched doorways or windows. The curved shape of the transom window complements the overall design and adds a touch of elegance.
  4. Multi-Pane Transoms: For a classic and traditional look, consider installing multi-pane transom windows. These windows feature multiple small glass panes separated by muntins (the thin strips of wood or metal). Multi-pane transoms often work well in homes with a more vintage or historic aesthetic.
  5. Transom Windows with Window Seats: If you have a window seat or a built-in bench beneath the transom window, it creates a cozy and inviting nook. The window seat allows you to enjoy the natural light and view while providing additional seating or storage space.

Transom Windows Installation Cost in the USA

Transom windows are a low-cost window option, costing an average range of just $334 to $711 per window, with a national average of $459 per window. The window materials should cost about $249 to $531 per window, while professional installation will cost around $70 to $150 per window on average.

Types of Transom Windows for Architectural Styles

  • Exterior Door Transom Windows. Most exterior transom windows come in a package deal with the entry door.
  • Interior Transom Windows. Today’s interior transom windows are for decorative purposes.
  • Arched Transom Windows.
  • Bathroom Transom Window.
  • Shed Transom Windows.

Best Materials for Transom Windows Construction

When it comes to constructing transom windows, there are several materials to consider, each with its own characteristics and benefits. The choice of material often depends on factors such as aesthetics, durability, energy efficiency, and budget. Here are some of the best materials commonly used for transom windows:

  1. Wood: Wood is a classic and traditional material for transom window construction. It offers a warm and natural aesthetic that can complement various architectural styles. Wood transom windows can be customized with different finishes and paint colors to match the interior decor. However, wood requires regular maintenance, such as sealing or painting, to protect it from moisture and weather damage.
  2. Vinyl: Vinyl transom windows are known for their durability, low maintenance requirements, and energy efficiency. Vinyl is resistant to rot, corrosion, and pests, making it a long-lasting option. It is also an excellent insulator, helping to improve energy efficiency by reducing heat transfer. Vinyl transom windows come in a wide range of styles and finishes, allowing you to find an option that suits your design preferences.
  3. Aluminum: Aluminum transom windows are lightweight, strong, and resistant to corrosion, making them suitable for both interior and exterior applications. They are low maintenance and often used in commercial buildings or modern and contemporary home designs. Aluminum frames can be powder-coated in various colors to match the overall aesthetic of your home.
  4. Fiberglass: Fiberglass transom windows offer excellent durability and are highly resistant to weathering and cracking. They are known for their strength and stability, making them a good option for larger or custom-shaped transom windows. Fiberglass is also an energy-efficient material that helps to prevent heat transfer. It can be painted or finished to achieve the desired look.
  5. Clad-Wood: Clad-wood transom windows combine the beauty of wood with the low maintenance of an exterior cladding material such as aluminum or vinyl. The exterior cladding protects the wood from the elements, enhancing its durability and reducing maintenance requirements. Clad-wood transom windows offer the warmth and charm of wood on the interior while providing a weather-resistant exterior.

Transom Windows Suppliers in the USA

Here are some notable transom window suppliers in the USA:

  1. Andersen Windows: Andersen Windows is a well-known and reputable manufacturer of windows, including transom windows. They offer a wide range of styles and materials to choose from, including wood, vinyl, and fiberglass. Andersen Windows products are available through authorized dealers across the United States.
  2. Pella Windows and Doors: Pella is another renowned manufacturer of windows and doors, offering a variety of transom window options. They provide customizable solutions in different materials like wood, fiberglass, and vinyl. Pella products can be purchased through their network of showrooms and authorized dealers throughout the country.
  3. Marvin Windows and Doors: Marvin is a family-owned company that specializes in high-quality windows and doors. They offer a range of transom window designs, including custom options. Marvin Windows and Doors are available through their authorized dealers located across the USA.
  4. JELD-WEN Windows and Doors: JELD-WEN is a leading manufacturer of windows and doors, providing a diverse selection of transom windows in various materials and styles. They offer both standard and custom options to meet specific design requirements. JELD-WEN products are available through authorized dealers nationwide.
  5. Kolbe Windows and Doors: Kolbe specializes in customizable windows and doors, including transom windows. They offer a range of materials such as wood, aluminum, and vinyl, allowing you to find the perfect fit for your project. Kolbe products can be found through their authorized dealers located across the United States.

Transom Window Exterior Wall

Installing a transom window in an exterior wall can be a wonderful addition to your home’s architecture. Here are some considerations and steps to keep in mind when installing a transom window in an exterior wall:

  1. Building Codes and Permits: Before beginning any construction or modification work, it’s essential to check with your local building codes and obtain any necessary permits. This ensures that your project complies with regulations and safety standards.
  2. Structural Assessment: Assess the structural integrity of the exterior wall where you plan to install the transom window. Consult with a professional contractor or engineer to ensure that the wall can support the additional weight and structural changes involved in adding a window.
  3. Window Placement: Determine the ideal location for the transom window in the exterior wall. Consider factors such as the desired amount of natural light, views, and the architectural aesthetics of your home. Ensure that the placement does not interfere with any structural elements, electrical wiring, or plumbing.
  4. Size and Design: Decide on the size, shape, and design of the transom window. Take into account the proportions of the existing windows and the overall architectural style of your home. Consider whether you want a fixed transom window or one that can be opened for ventilation.
  5. Cutting an Opening: Hire a professional contractor experienced in window installations to cut an opening in the exterior wall. They will carefully remove the necessary sections of the wall, ensuring proper framing and support for the transom window.

What Is the Purpose of Transom Window?

Transoms historically were used to allow passage of air and light between rooms even when doors were shut. They make perfect sense in row houses, which typically have long, narrow floor plans with windows only at the front and back.

Types of Transom Windows

  • Exterior Door Transom Windows. Most exterior transom windows come in a package deal with the entry door.
  • Interior Transom Windows. Today’s interior transom windows are for decorative purposes.
  • Arched Transom Windows.
  • Bathroom Transom Window.
  • Shed Transom Windows.

Do Transom Windows Open

Typically a transom window used above an entry door does not open, because the area above a door is so hard to reach. Transom windows that open are typically an awning window placed above the transom. Keep in mind, however, that adding new windows in hard-to-reach places will add an additional surface to clean.

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