What Are Transom Windows and Their Benefits?

Transom windows refer to windows fixed in or around doors and entryways. Often, they are placed above or below another window or door. It is a common architectural style that can be found in buildings and homes in the US. Transom windows help let in more light in a building.

transom windows

In architecture, a transom refers to a transverse horizontal structural crosspiece, bar, or beam that separates a door from a window placed above it. These windows may be operable or fixed, and they can take any shape and size.

A Brief History of Transom Windows

This window style, which lies on the horizontal beam above the door frame, originated from 14th Century Europe where residents realized that placing an opening over an entryway would be high enough to deter prying eyes, but also allow sufficient light and fresh air.

The earliest forms of transom windows were just holes, sometimes covered with shutters or animal skin that could be opened to enable ventilation. With the development of leaded glass, sheet glass, iron bars, and hinges, their style and functionality improved to make operating the windows easier.

Though transom windows went out of fashion in the 70s and 80s, now homeowners are discovering how they can add a touch of class and more natural light into their homes.

What Modern Transom Windows Offer

Modern transom windows, commonly referred to as transom lights, complement the home’s architectural style, are decorative, and some also offer ventilation. They may be a few inches to a few feet high, and their width often spans that of the door and any extra sidelights. Although many are rectangular shaped, arched transom windows, referred to as fanlights, are renowned for dressing up pass-through doorways in interior walls and exterior entryways.

Some windows, particularly in historic and antique homes, are made from stained glass. Some may have individual panes arranged side by side. While others are made up of a solid glass piece that spans the entire width of the window section.

How Much Do Transom Windows Cost?

The cost may vary significantly depending on the operation and size of the window. However, expect to spend at least $100 for a non-operable transom window. A window that has unique decorative touches and that opens will increase the price.

Types of Transom Windows

There are many types of transom windows in the market today. We’ll go over some of the most common types of transom windows below. 

Paneled Glass

These are designed with a paneled frame to create a symmetrical pattern or a grid-like design. These windows are simple and elegant. Paneled glass windows can be attached by hinging at the top or bottom of the frame, or on both sides of the frame. The glass panels used in paneled transoms are often divided by vertical metal or wooden strips. However, large paneled transoms have horizontal pieces of wood affixed.

Fanned Window

These transoms are semi-circular, arched, or fan-shaped. Fanned windows are often referred to as fanlights because they look like open, decorative fans. These windows are often fixed at the base to enable the windows to swing in both directions. Fanned window transoms are usually designed with beauty and practicality in mind.

Solid Window

This transom features one piece of glass set in a solid, strong frame in contrast with the multi-paneled transoms. Solid windows can be hinged or affixed at the bottom, top, or both sides of the frame.

These transoms usually feature a heavy piece of frosted, intricately etched, or brightly colored glass. They may also contain a highly embellished piece of glass for additional beauty.

Benefits of Transom Windows

benefits of transom windows

Transom windows have many advantages such as:

Transom windows enhance the architectural aesthetics of your home and the penetration of natural light into your home. To get your building fitted with these types of windows, you’ll have to research window companies that are reputable for their products, installation and service.

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