Transom windows, also known as transom lights, are one of the cheapest options you’ll find to improve your home’s look. The national average cost to install transom windows is $200, but homeowners can expect to pay from $120 to $270 per window, including materials and labor. In comparison, installing a standard single-hung window costs an average of $440.
The final price you’ll pay for installing a transom window will depend on the materials, type, and style you choose. Other factors such as the complexity of the design and potential structural remodels can also affect the cost.
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This pricing guide covers:
- Average Costs
- What is a Transom Window?
- Cost Estimator by Type
- Cost Estimator by Material
- Other Factors That Affect Cost
- Related Services
- Cost by Location
Average Transom Window Installation Costs
|National Average Cost
|Typical Price Range
|$120 – $270
|Extreme Low-End Cost
|Extreme High-End Cost
Homeowners across the nation pay anywhere between $120 to $270 for a new transom window, with most paying around $200 on average. Low-end, basic options can start at $100 or less, but the price can skyrocket up to $665 depending on a number of factors. These include whether the window is fixed or operable, the type and quality of the materials used, the glass style, and the number of motorized components.
For example, someone who wants to install a fully-operable transom window with a remote control for opening and closing will pay more than someone who goes for a basic fixed transom window. If you want to install a modern transom window made of high-grade materials like wood, that’ll increase the price, too.
You can save money and drive your costs closer to the low end by:
- Using the most budget-friendly material
- Installing fixed transom windows instead of operable ones
- Avoiding motorized functions and special ornaments
- Getting estimates from multiple contractors and choosing the most affordable one
The condition of your existing entryways can also play a role in determining how much it will cost you to install a transom window. If you have to make any structural changes, such as a framing modification to fit your ceiling’s height, the price will increase significantly. Installing a transom window above an exterior door versus an interior door can lead to different costs, too.
What is a Transom Window?
Transom windows are decorative windows that are placed at the top of a door or another type of window. They can also be used for many other purposes, such as adding privacy to an interior room or increasing airflow from the exterior.
Additionally, transom windows can open up small spaces when installed above doorways for light circulation between rooms. You can also find them as part of a skylight system in the roofing of a house or as an accent piece for the exterior architecture of a building.
Cost Estimator by Transom Window Type
Introduced in the 14th century, transom windows were originally a way to add light and ventilation to homes. Over time, they have evolved into decorative windows with a wide variety of uses and models.
The four major types of modern transom windows are interior, exterior, fixed, and operable transom windows. The model you choose will directly affect the cost of installing a transom window, determining its materials, styles, shape, and size.
Here are some general guidelines to help you estimate what kind of transom window you need:
Fixed Transom Windows
Fixed transom windows, also known as non-operable windows, are the most common and budget-friendly model you’ll come across. These decorative transom windows are fixed to the frame, so they don’t open or close, which makes them simpler to install than operable transom windows.
The average cost of a basic fixed transom window is $295. This price varies depending on the size of your opening, the materials used, and the complexity of the design.
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Operable Transom Windows
Unlike fixed transom windows, operable exterior transom windows come with a mechanism that allows you to open and close them. The more complex the mechanism, the higher the cost. Operable transom windows can use awnings, lift-and-turn hinges, cams and rods, and gate operators, but also remote sensors and automation systems.
You can expect to pay around $420 for a standard operable transom window, but the size, shape, materials, and style you choose will determine its final cost.
Interior Transom Windows
Interior transom windows are a great choice for homeowners who want to maximize their home’s functionality and ventilation. They’re placed above doorways into kitchens, living rooms, bathrooms, and entrance halls. Most interior transom windows are operable, which means they are more complicated to install than exterior windows and offer an extra functionality that adds to the price.
Interior transom windows can also be custom-made for wider openings. However, if you decide to install a transom window above an interior french door or a sliding glass door, you can expect a high increase in the price of your project. Adding any extra ornaments such as geometric patterns can also affect the price.
Exterior Transom Windows
Exterior transom windows are usually non-operable windows that are sold as part of a kit that includes the entire door. They don’t require as much labor as interior transom windows, so they’re typically less expensive. However, when calculating the total cost of an exterior transom window, you’ll need to consider not only the price of the window itself but also the frame, door, and sidelights.
Some exterior transom windows are made of high-grade materials to ensure weather and insect protection, which can increase the price by a hundred dollars.
Cost Estimator by Frame Material
Transom windows are made from many different materials. The most common are vinyl, aluminum, and wood. Each material is available at different quality levels, but wooden frames are usually the most high-grade and expensive option.
Vinyl Transom Windows
Vinyl frames are the most cost-effective choice. You can expect to pay less than $100 for a new basic vinyl-framed transom window. They’re very durable and easy to maintain, but they don’t offer the same aesthetics as wood or aluminum frames.
Aluminum Transom Windows
Aluminum transom windows are lightweight, energy-efficient, corrosion-resistant, and require less maintenance than other materials.
Like most frames, the cost of an aluminum transom window will vary depending on the type of window you choose, its size, design, and location. On average, homeowners pay around $100 for a standard aluminum-framed window.
Wood Transom Windows
Wood is by far the most popular type of frame for transom windows. It typically costs more than vinyl and aluminum frames because it has a wide range of customization options, with a national average of $220.
However, this number can be affected by the quality of the wood and whether the transom window is fixed or operable. A transom window with a medium-grade wood frame will cost you around $170. High-quality wood like oak is usually more expensive, with most homeowners paying $270 or more.
Other services like cladding over the frame to improve its durability and weather resistance when placed on exterior walls can also increase the price.
Other Factors That Affect Cost
The cost of installing a transom window isn’t determined only by the type of transom window and materials you choose. Its shape, style, and glass type, as well as any structural remodeling you may have to do in order to fit your transom window, can also impact your project’s price.
When installing a transom window, you’ll have to take into account the structural framework of your walls. If you want to place your transom window on a load-bearing wall, its framing will need to be structurally sound enough to support the weight of the window and its components. This means additional labor, which can increase the price to thousands of dollars depending on the complexity of the installation.
The height of your home’s ceiling is another determining factor that can add to the overall installation cost. Your ceiling needs to be at least eight feet high for both the door and window to fit. If you have an older home with lower ceilings, you’ll need to spend extra money to raise it high enough for a transom window.
In addition, it’s important to consider any other structural elements, such as an existing opening where you might want to recess your transom window. If so, you’ll need to consult an inspector or builder who could provide an estimate for the additional costs associated with widening the opening.
Pro Tip: Before deciding on the type and style of transom window you want, be sure to consider how much space you will need for the installation. A reliable contractor can also help you decide on the right transom window for your available framing area.
Shape and Style
Transom windows come in many different shapes, with the most popular being rectangular and square shapes. Other shapes such as arched, fanned, and elliptical transom windows are a great way of adding a unique look to your entryways. However, these have a more intricate design and will usually cost more.
The price of your transom window can also vary depending on its style. Ornamental windows with decorative elements such as geometric patterns, moldings, and bars are more expensive than simply styled transom windows.
While most homeowners opt for simple clear glass for their transom windows, there are a few different types of glass you can choose from. These include laminated, frosted, tempered, and tinted glass. They are meant to give your home a more modern look, but they can increase your transom window costs significantly.
You can also add energy-efficient panes to your transom window, like insulated glass or triple-pane windows. These typically have a higher price tag, but they will keep out the cold and save you money in the long run.
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If you’re interested in transom window installation, you might also want to consider these other related services.
To install your transom windows, your chosen contractor will need to first remove the existing drywall above the door to reframe the area. The cost of new drywall installation is $1,920, but you can expect to pay between $975 to $2,370 depending on the size of the area that needs to be replaced.
If your drywall can accommodate your new transom window but isn’t in the best condition, you can repair it instead. Getting a drywall repair costs around $445, but you can end up paying anywhere from $250 to $765.
Like with drywall, contractors might need to replace some of your home’s siding before fitting your transom window. Getting new siding costs $2.33 to $15.33 per square foot on average.
If you need to repair your siding, you’ll spend between $214 to $1,468 depending on the scope of the damage, or an average of $630.
Window Replacement and Repair
If you want to install a transom window to improve the look of your home, replacing any existing windows that don’t match your style or are outdated is a good idea. This is especially important if you plan to install transom windows above other window types.
The average cost to replace a window is $670, but it can range from $310 to $1,330 depending on the type of window you choose and its specifications. If you already have a transom window installed and you want to replace it, you can expect to spend between $160 and $365.
If your windows only need a few touch-ups, you can save money by repairing them instead of replacing them. The amount of damage will determine the final cost, but you can expect to pay between $170 and $565, with most window repairs costing homeowners an average of $360.
Whether you’re getting an interior or exterior transom window, you may want to consider insulating it to reduce heat loss and cold drafts. The cost of installing window insulation goes from $3 to $20 per square foot.
If you’re installing an exterior transom window kit, then it might be worth considering investing in revamping your home’s exterior with a new paint job. You can expect to get the whole outside of your house painted for $5,935 on average. However, the majority of exterior house painting projects cost between $3,130 to $8,740.
If your house needs to go through some structural remodeling to accommodate your new transom window, you can revamp the interior to match the new style with a fresh coat of paint. The cost of interior painting for most homeowners is about $2 to $5 per square foot.
You can also replace the flooring. The cost of new flooring ranges from $3 to $21 per square foot.
If you’ve purchased an operable transom window with awnings and they aren’t working properly, you can repair them for around $680 on average. However, depending on the severity of the damages, you can spend anywhere from $255 to $1,100 to repair your awnings.
Transom Windows vs Other Window Types
While transom windows are one of the least expensive types of windows, there are many other options that can suit your home style even better. Here is a table with the different types of windows and their typical price range.
|Typical Price Range
|$355 – $1,005
|$295 – $655
|$1,125 – $4,790
|$2,190 – $6,140
|$430 – $1,060
|$250 – $785
|Double hung window
|$250 – $975
|$2,445 – $5,265
|$835 – $2,200
|$1,050 – $4,000
|Glass block window
|$410 – $1,235
|$250 – $750
|$165 – $400
|$200 – $775
|$800 – $2,200
|$125 – $415
|$350 – $1,500
|$160 – $390
|$425 – $950
|$500 – $1,865
|$300 – $3,000
Cost of Transom Windows by Location
The cost of a transom window can vary significantly depending on where you live. If you live in a colder climate, you’ll probably pay more for a new transom window than someone living in a place with milder temperatures. This is because you’ll need to invest in insulation and special types of glass and window treatments to make your transom window energy-efficient.
In addition, installing a transom window in an urban area is usually more expensive than doing it in a rural area. Regional labor costs and local supply chains can also impact the cost. Finally, some states hold some restrictions on the type and style of window you can get if you live in an area with historical importance.
The best way to get an accurate price is to speak with a window installation professional in your area.
FAQ About Transom Windows
Transom windows are a great addition to the overall aesthetic of your home. They are used as decorative elements to give a unique style to your spaces, but they are also ideal to make any small room and hallway more open and airy.
Homeowners can also increase the value of their home by installing a modern transom window, so long as they have the right design. The key is to make sure you do your research and that you know what kind of material and style you’ll need for your transom window installation.
Transom windows are made to fit the space between a high ceiling and a door or window. A standard transom window can be as narrow as 24 inches for a single door, and as wide as 72 inches for a French or double door. The height of your wall will determine how tall your transom window needs to be, with most transom windows ranging from six inches to eight feet.
Transom windows are installed on the upper portion of your walls, above doors and window sills, often as a decorative element. Clerestory windows’ main purpose is to provide more light and ventilation, so they are much larger than transom windows and sit higher up, at the roof line.
Not at all! Transom windows have been around since the 14th century, and while they lost popularity during the 1970s and 1980s, today’s homeowners are turning to transom windows again for their unique aesthetic appeal.
Transom windows work well in any interior or exterior area, but they’re best in bedrooms and bathrooms that need privacy as well as natural light and ventilation.
Transom windows are also a great choice if you have limited or small rooms. They don’t take up much space and can make the room feel more spacious.
Some other areas where you can install these windows are:
● Above other types of windows
● As part of an exterior front door or window wall
● Above an interior doorway connecting two rooms
● Above french doors and sliding glass doors
The short answer is yes. Covering your transom windows with blinds can help create privacy, block out excessive sunlight, and make your home feel more welcoming.
That’s a bad idea! There are a lot of things that could go wrong if you try to install a transom window on your own. The transom window installation process takes time and involves many steps, so it’s best left to professionals who know what they’re doing and can ensure that you get the best-finished product possible.
Fixed transom windows aren’t a fire hazard, but operable transom windows may be. If you let them open, and there are flames or smoke coming from somewhere near your house, the wind might carry them through the transom window.
DIY or Hire a Pro to Install a Transom Window?
Whether you’re looking for a way to bring some natural light into your home or want to enhance its overall value by giving it an updated look, transom windows are a perfect choice.
They’re a great way to add character to your home without having to spend a fortune on remodeling.
Reach out to a window pro near you to get this unique window installed today.
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