Replacement Windows

Discover the Beauty of Transom Windows


Discover the Beauty of Transom Windows

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Transom windows are a type of window that are installed above doors or other windows. Their original purpose was to allow light and air to flow into a room even when doors were closed. In modern times, they can add decorative style, architectural depth and more natural light to any room. With the advent of modern building technology, it is now possible to have insulated and energy-efficient transom windows too.

The Origin and Purpose of Transom Windows

Transom windows have been used for centuries and originally they served a very utilitarian purpose. They were used to allow natural ventilation and sunlight into rooms. Additionally, they enabled the better circulation of air as they could be opened even when the main door was closed. Over time, their functional qualities were complemented by their aesthetic characteristics, making them a popular architectural feature in both traditional and contemporary homes.

Types of Transom Windows

Transom windows are ultimately versatile and can be customized to any specifications. There are several types of transom windows used in modern architecture, each offering unique aesthetic and functional benefits:

  • Stationary Transom windows: These are fixed windows that do not open and are primarily used to allow more light into a room.

  • Operable Transom windows: These can either be hinged at the bottom or at the top, allowing them to open for ventilation.

  • Fanlight Transom windows: This semi-circular style was popular during the Georgian and Federal eras, they are typically positioned over a door and often include artful details.

  • Sidelight Transom windows: These are vertical windows positioned on either side of a door, often with a rectangular transom window across the top.

The Architectural Impact of Transom Windows

Transom windows add an elevated level of sophistication and architectural interest to a home or building. They give buildings a charming yet functional design element. By placing them above doors or other windows, they draw the eye upward, making spaces feel larger and more open.

Transom Windows Enhance Natural Light

One of the often-overlooked benefits of transom windows is their ability to maximize natural sunlight. They are an excellent tool for bringing in natural light to darker parts of a home without compromising privacy or security, as their height generally puts them out of the line of sight for passersby.

The Ventilation Benefits of Transom Windows

Operable transom windows offer enhanced ventilation, as hot air rises and can escape through these higher-placed windows. This allows for improved air circulation, helping to keep rooms cooler and fresher.

Maintaining and Cleaning Transom Windows

Transom windows require regular cleaning and maintenance just like any other window. However, given their typically hard-to-reach location, the cleaning process can be a little more challenging and may require professional assistance. Yet many agree that the benefits and added charm of having transom windows compensate for the occasional cleaning challenges.

Transform Your Home With Transom Windows

Whether looking to add a touch of classic elegance or seeking to enhance the natural light and ventilation in your home, transom windows are a beautiful and functional choice. This unique yet timeless architectural feature can elevate aesthetic appeal, helping you create spaces that are both stunning and comfortable.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Transom Windows

Can transom windows open?

Yes, transom windows can indeed open. Despite being traditionally thought of as purely decorative, today's transom windows also have functional varieties. You can find transom windows that open to allow fresh air into your home; however, this is mainly for transom windows that are within your reach.

Where are transom windows typically installed?

Transom windows are usually installed above doors or, in some cases, above other windows. This placement allows them to provide additional light and, in some designs, extra ventilation. They are primarily used in areas of the house where more light is preferred.

Are transom windows used in modern construction?

Absolutely. Though transom windows are a feature of classical architecture, they have made a significant comeback in modern construction. Given their versatility and the array of contemporary designs available, they are frequently used in both residential and commercial projects.

Do transom windows improve ventilation?

Yes, if you choose the type that opens. Not all transom windows are designed to open, but those that do can improve ventilation, especially in rooms where larger windows may not be suitable or sufficient for adequate aeration. Remember that proper installation is key to ensuring functionality.

What type of homes suit transom windows?

Transom windows are adaptable and can fit into nearly any style of home. Whether you have a modern, traditional or transitional-style home, there's likely a transom window design that will suit your needs and aesthetics.

How do I clean transom windows?

How you clean your transom windows will depend on their design and their accessibility. For higher windows that don't open, you may need professional cleaning services. However, if they are within reach or able to be opened, you can clean them just like any other window, using a mild detergent and a soft, lint-free cloth.

What should I consider when choosing transom windows?

When choosing transom windows, consider your needs for ventilation and natural light. Also, factor in your home's architectural style to find a design that complements it. Durability and maintenance should also be considered. Ensure to discuss these factors with your window professional.

Do transom windows provide good insulation?

The degree of insulation a transom window offers largely depends on the type of glass used and the overall quality of window construction. Double-paned or insulated glass options, commonly used these days, can provide good insulation while letting in desirable natural light.

Can I install a transom window myself?

While it's technically possible to install a transom window yourself, it's highly recommended to hire a professional. They can help ensure the window is installed securely and waterproofed effectively.

What does a transom window cost?

The cost of transom windows can vary greatly depending on several factors including the size, materials used, glass type, and whether or not the window opens. The place of purchase and the cost of installation can significantly affect the final price as well.

What are the benefits of transom windows?

Transom windows offer several benefits. They add a decorative element to your home, serve as a source of additional natural light, and can aid in ventilation if designed to open. They are a great way to enhance the aesthetic appeal and functionality of your space.

Pros of Transom Windows

Natural Light

Transom windows allow an incredible amount of natural light into a home or office. Constructed usually above door frames or larger windows, they grant sunlight entrance from a different angle, creating a brighter and more welcoming space. Thus, they can save energy by reducing the need for artificial lighting during the day.


Operable transom windows can let fresh air in without compromising privacy or security. They can be left open even when the main windows are closed, ensuring a constant stream of fresh air indoors.

Aesthetic Appeal

Transom windows contribute significantly to the aesthetic appeal of a home. They can instantly enhance the architectural design of a room, giving it a unique and elegant touch.

  • Transom windows come in a variety of stylish shapes and sizes, from rectangular to elliptical, allowing homeowners to personalize their home's appearance.

  • Artistic glass techniques, such as stained or frosted glass, can be applied to transom windows for added aesthetic appeal.

Inversion of Dead Spaces

Transom windows can effectively fill dead spaces above doors or main windows, making the interior design more appealing and balanced.

Cons of Transom Windows

Privacy Concerns

Transom windows could potentially compromise privacy since they allow outsiders to see into the home, especially when the lights are on indoors. To mitigate this, many homeowners opt for frosted or stained transom windows.

Thermal Efficiency

Though transom windows allow natural light to enter, they can also allow heat to escape or penetrate, which could negatively impact a home's thermal efficiency. However, this issue can be alleviated by choosing energy-efficient glass for the transom window.


The cost of installing transom windows can be high, depending on the window's size, shape, type of glass, and whether it's operable or fixed. These costs can increase further if custom designs or special glass types are selected.

  • Automatic or remotely-operable transom windows can also increase the overall cost due to the extra technology involved.

  • Maintenance costs for transom windows can also be considerable, as they may be difficult to reach for cleaning or if repairs are needed.

Limited Accessibility

Given their placement, transom windows may be difficult to access. This can present challenges when it's time to clean them or make any necessary repairs. Therefore, a professional installation team or specialized equipment might be needed.

In summary, transom windows offer aesthetic appeal, natural light, and ventilation, but they might present challenges in terms of privacy, thermal efficiency, costs, and accessibility.


Transom windows have continually proven to be more than just a design element. They play a significant role in providing adequate ventilation and natural lighting in any living space. With an array of designs available, these windows can seamlessly merge with any architectural style, inherently increasing the aesthetic value of your home.

Moreover, installing transom windows is not only about achieving that visual appeal. It's about improving the functionality within your spaces. They are uniquely positioned to capture the upper breezes, allowing airflow in and out of the room, thereby enhancing the overall air quality in your home. The natural light they usher in sparkles across the room, creating a pleasant ambiance throughout the day.

Ultimately, the power of transom windows stretches beyond what the eyes can capture. Whether it's a house or an office, you're not just installing a window but enhancing interior comfort, boosting energy efficiency and putting a decorative spin on your everyday views. Their versatility is hard to match, making the choice of transom windows an incredible blend of form and function.

About Seattle Renovation Group

Welcome to the Seattle Renovation Group! Based in the beautiful city of Seattle, WA, we've been transforming living spaces into dream homes for over a decade. Highly-skilled and immensely passionate, our team is dedicated to turning your vision into reality. Whether it's a modern kitchen remodel or a classic bathroom upgrade, we handle each project with the utmost professionalism and attention to detail. We consider your satisfaction our success, making us the top renovation group in Seattle.

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