Door Terms: What is a Transom?

what is a transom on a door

You may have come across the term transom before and wondered, what is a transom on a door used for? A transom can serve two purposes. To better the structural integrity of a building or to serve as an ornamental piece that betters the overall visual appeal of a building’s architecture.

What is the Purpose of a Transom?

Generally speaking, a transom is a horizontal crossbar that is generally used above a door to separate it from a window.

Many different types of transoms serve various amount of functions. While some may provide natural light into a space that lacks lighting, others can be used to properly ventilate a room without the door having to be open.

Although there are fantastic ornamental uses for transom, they can also serve to increase the quality of life within a specific space whilst granting a higher form of privacy for the homeowner.

The Types of Transoms

As mentioned before, there are a few transoms that serve different purposes, and understanding each one and how it functions is a great starting point in deciding if one is necessary for your home.

Since the aesthetic appeal of a transom is rather high, some homes may not have a need for a transom but still utilize it because of the great ornamental and visual aesthetic that it provides. For example, you could utilize a transom to display your house number or have stained glass just slightly over it to serve as a beautiful centerpiece for any home entryway.

Some of the transom types you will come across are:

  • Transom windows and transom lights
  • Structural support transom
  • Decorative transom
  • Ventilation transom

We will be exploring each transom type and the purpose it serves in your home.

Transom Windows and Lights

A transom window is a window that is placed directly above your door. These often come as a square, rectangle, or fan-shaped window and offer two experiences and functions to a home. The first and most important is the creation of additional light within a room.

This is a great feature as it allows natural lighting to fill a room without the door being open. If you have a solid door, this means that your home still receives the light that it needs without your privacy being left wide open.

The increase in lighting and privacy makes the transom windows a great addition to any home. Depending on the window type, these can also be opened and closed. The use of patterned and stained glass also adds beautiful ornamentation to any home that is sure to breathe life into it.

The addition of a simple transom window has been used by many homes and architectural designs to add a subtle yet effective aesthetic whilst retaining the structural integrity of the wall.

Structural Transom

In the more classical sense, transoms have been used by many homes and even ships as a means to increase structural integrity. Since an incision is made into the wall to install a door, this could sometimes cause a slight decrease in the overall structural integrity.

A structural transom is a horizontal beam that serves as a support structure in which the wall retains its strength. In older homes, this is rather common and has been a great way to ensure the overall strength and integrity that a structure has.

Decorative Transom

A decorative transom is much like its name depicts. It is a transom that has been inserted for ornamental purposes. In newer homes, some homeowners love the aesthetic appeal that it brings and will often insert a decorative transom to add some ornamental value to their doorways.

Much like the previously talked about transom windows this can leave additional space for further development of pieces that will increase the overall quality of life within the space. Furthermore, some homes have utilized their decorative transom to place their house numbers on it, which provides a unique and interesting overall visual presentation of the home.

Many architectural styles incorporate the use of a transom and depending on the style of your home, this could be a fantastic addition to its overall look and feel.

Ventilation Transom

A ventilation transom is installed when there is a need or wants for proper ventilation throughout a space without the need for a door to be open. Much like the transom window, there are a few operational devices that could be installed that would help with this.

If you have a transom window that can open, you will generally find that it comes with a transom operator, which allows you to open and close the window at will. What makes a ventilation transom effective is the fact that it also provides the home with privacy. This is due to the fact that open doors are no longer needed as the transom provides the required ventilation of a space. 

It is also important to note that the transom is a separate entity from the door frame and sits just slightly above it. Within a home and door space, it generally serves as an operational barrier between the door and the overhead window.

Elevating Your Home’s Design with an Industry-Leading Partner

Euroline Steel Windows & Doors utilizes the best construction companies and architectural firms to ensure that you receive a service and product that takes your home to the next level.

Quality is a large determining factor when it comes to the design of your home, and we only partner with only the best in world-leading design and technology to create pieces that are both aesthetically pleasing and of a luxurious quality.

Safety is essential, and having a structurally sound and strong fixture is important in the overall design of your home. We have partnered with hundreds of homes and customers to install doors and windows that truly elevate a space whilst bringing your concepts and ideas to life.

To know what is a transom on a door, and to secure your house with the best in safety, quality, and design, contact our professional team at 877-590-2741 at Euroline Steel Windows & Doors today!

Author: Elyas Balta

Experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history in innovation and scalability in the luxury building materials industry. Passionate about inspiring and empowering others to grow in character and success. Determined in bringing art and engineering together to create and manufacture an exotic product line of steel windows and doors.