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What Are Transom Windows?

[Updated: Jan 04, 2021 ] May 17, 2020 by Maurie Backman
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As a homeowner, you may not put much thought into your windows until an issue arises -- perhaps certain rooms in your home are unbearably drafty, a specific window won't close, or you're struggling with a lack of natural light.

But actually, the windows you choose for your home could not only serve as an aesthetic focal point but also make your home more comfortable. And if you're looking to change the way your home looks for the better, you might consider transom windows.

What are transom windows?

The term transom refers to a horizontal structural beam or bar that separates a window or door from the rest of the wall. Transom windows, meanwhile, are windows that are located above a door or existing window's transom. Imagine a home with a front door and an empty wall space above it. Transom windows might go into that space to let in more light and enhance that home's entryway.

What's the purpose of transom windows?

Historically, transom windows were often used for ventilation. These days, however, they're pretty much only used as a decorative element. In fact, because transom windows are so high up, many homeowners who have them don't open and close them at all. Rather, those windows are simply meant to look nice.

But there's another benefit to installing transom windows -- more natural light. If you leave your transom windows uncovered, or install electric blinds you can control with a remote, you'll have an added light source that enhances your interior.

Is there a drawback to installing transom windows?

As is the case with all home improvements, the money you spend to install transom windows is money you won't have for other renovation purposes. And while those windows will add aesthetic appeal, you may not recoup your full investment. Furthermore, if you're going to put in transom windows, you may want to invest in remote-controlled window coverings. Otherwise, you may find that on really hot, sunny days, too much extra light beating into your home is a bad thing.

Should you put in transom windows?

Transom windows have great aesthetic value, and the fact that they can serve as a light source is not only a nice design feature but also provides the potential to save you some money on electricity costs over time.

The amount you'll spend on transom windows will depend on the materials used and the size of those windows, so it pays to shop around and get quotes from different installers. Generally speaking, installing these windows is a job best left to professionals unless you truly know what you're doing and have the tools to tackle the work at hand.

While transom windows could end up being a great investment for you, before you buy them, make sure you're satisfied with your home's existing windows. If they're drafty and not very energy-efficient, you may want to focus on replacing them before adding extra windows. But if the rest of your windows are already in great shape, transom windows could be just the feature you need to transform your home and give it a touch of class.

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