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Learn How to Order and Customize Your Transom

Customization Options

Click a tab below to learn about different customization options. Customizations for your transoms can be made in the Shop section during the "second part" of the ordering process (after you have chosen a size).


Ready-to-Install (RTI)

After you have completed planning in Step 2, our goal is to make your installation go as smoothly as possible.

The Ready-to-Install (RTI) options allow you to buy your transom pre-configured for your installation. The configuration options are:

  • Sash Only
  • Fixed Sash in Jamb
  • Operating Unit with Jamb (separate tab)

RTI Sash Only Option

Transoms Direct's basic product is a window sash -- that is, the wood frame carrier and glass.

Some installations do not require a jamb -- so you order your transom "sash only".

Also choose this option if your installation requires a jamb, but you plan on building the jamb on your own.

RTI Fixed Sash in Jamb Option

This is our most popular ready-to-install option -- as it matches many types of installations.

If you select this option, your transom sash will come pre-installed in a jamb.

Once you select this option on the order page, a box will appear where you will supply the wall thickness so that we can build the jamb the correct depth.


Ready-to-Install (RTI)

After you have completed planning in Step 2, our goal is to make your installation go as smoothly as possible.

The Ready-to-Install (RTI) options allow you to buy your transom pre-configured for your installation. The configuration options are:

  • Sash Only (RTI tab)
  • Fixed Sash in Jamb (RTI tab)
  • Operating Unit with Jamb

Operating Transom Options

As an alternative to a fixed jamb, interior transoms can also be configured such that the sash can be opened and closed โ€” that is, operable.

Operating transoms can only be ordered for installations that require a jamb -- because the operating mechanism allowing sash operation is physically mounted to the jamb.

We offer several different options for the operating mechanisms. These are described below.

Operating transoms are a direct (same size) replacement for an ordinary fixed jamb. Any interior application requiring a jamb can be ordered as fixed or operating.

What We Need to Know to Build Your Operable Transom

  • Wall thickness (jamb depth)
  • Type of operating mechanism
  • Finish color of the mechanism

Please Note: Only rectangular or square transoms are offered with an operable option on the order page. If you would like to explore making another shape of window operable, please call.

Operating -- "Chain & Latch" Mechanism

IMPORTANT: If you order this option, the unit comes fully assembled with all hardware mounted. It is ready-to-install.

Best for:

Transoms closed or opened occasionally

  • Comes ready-to-install with no additional assembly.
  • Simple to operate: Either closed (locked), or fully open (chain length).
  • Simple, reliable design.
  • Cost effective.
  • Hardware is relatively inconspicuous.
  • Opening angle cannot be adjusted (unless you manually change chain length -- which is not supported).
  • You may want a pole and hook for operation which must be stored elsewhere.
  • Only can be hinged at bottom for a "hopper" type opening configuration.
Notes: The hardware finishes available are shown on the order page. Pole and hook sold separately (call to order).

Operating -- "Pivot" Mechanism

IMPORTANT: If you order this option, the unit comes assembled with all hardware mounted. It is ready to install.

Best for:

Universal application.

  • Most simple to operate -- just push to change position.
  • Fully adjustable -- can be set to closed, slightly open or fully open.
  • Friction bushing at pivot point ensures that sash will stay put where it is set.
  • Unique, clean look with no visible hardware.
  • Less traditional than Chain & Latch option.

Operating -- "Slider Operator" Mechanism

IMPORTANT: This option requires additional hardware (purchased separately by you) before it is ready to install. Please read the description below carefully.

If you take a look at the picture below, the "Slider Operator" is actually a separate hardware kit that you can purchase from HouseOfAntiqueHardware.com or VintageHardware.com.

With the same hardware kit you can mount a transom hinged at the top, pivoting at the middle or hinged at the bottom.

Put simply, we build the transom mounted the way you want. You buy and install the hardware.

  • To order a transom hinged at the top or bottom, order the "RTI Operating Transom - Slider" option. You will decide top or bottom by flipping the transom unit when installed.
  • To order a transom that pivots for the slider option, order the "RTI Operating Transom - Pivot" option. The design of the regular pivot option (see above) and pivot for the slider are the same.

Pro-Tip: The proper installation of a slider kit requires careful work by a knowledgable person. If you (or your installer) do not have significant mechanical aptitude, we suggest you chose the Chain and Latch or ordinary Pivot mechanism. We do not provide support for slider installation -- you will need to get that from the dealer or manufacturer of the mechanism you choose.

Best for:

Unique, historic appearance or transoms that will be opened or closed often.

  • Adjustable: allows transom to be opened to any position in range of motion.
  • Relatively simple to operate once installed correctly.
  • Flexible: "awning," "hopper" or "pivot" style operation.
  • Self-contained: does not require a separate pole and hook that have to be stored.
  • Considerably more expensive (between $90 and $360 more).
  • Additional, in-depth, onsite assembly of slider mechanism needed (requiring some mechanical aptitude).
  • Hardware is very conspicuous (and its beauty is in the eye of the beholder).
  • More complex design may require adjustment or maintenance over time.
Notes: Casing profile must include a "flat spot" where slider rod mechanism can be installed. Angled or sloped casing will not work.
Slider Operator Available from houseofantiquehardware.com

Frequently Asked Questions About Operable Transoms

If I order an operable transom, do I get a jamb?

Does the rough opening hole for an operable transom need to be any different?

Will an operable transom fit inside a hole where a previous fixed transom existed?

Does the window open "down" or "up"?

Which way does the window usually swing?

How far does the window swing open? Can it be partially opened?


Standard Glass Information

All of our interior and exterior windows come standard with clear glass included.

  • Interior transoms come standard as single-pane, true-divided-lite windows. This means each pane is a separate piece of glass.
  • Exterior transoms come standard as insulated, double-pane, simulated-divided-lite windows.

For unheated applications (such as barns and garages), interior models can can be configured with single-pane glass and rot-resistant wood as a cost-effective alternative to an exterior-grade window.

Specialty Glass

Glass for both interior and exterior windows can be upgraded to specialty glass in a number of ways, including:

  • Substitution of artistic glass for clear glass
  • Tempering
  • Adding energy coatings and tints (e.g., Low-E, bronze or grey tints)

Not all specialty glass options are available on all patterns. Check the ordering page for a specific pattern/size combination to learn what is available.

Artistic Glass

For artistic (art) glass, the surface or composition of the glass is altered to make it distinct from clear glass. The resulting appearance can be uniform (frosted), organized (fluted) random (glue chip, antique, wavy) or even obscure (seeded).

In general, clear glass helps a transom blend-in to room, artistic glass helps the transom stand out.

Art glass certainly makes a stylistic statement, but some varieties also help obscure objects behind the glass adding privacy for bathroom and bedroom applications.

Artistic Glass Options


Clear, annealed, untempered is standard on all sashes.

Satin / Frosted

Satin or frosted glass is made by sandblasting or acid etching a clear pane of glass. This process renders the glass translucent because the light passing through the glass is randomly scattered. Frosted glass is a good option for maximum privacy while still permitting light transmission.

Reeded / Fluted

Reeded or fluted glass is a ribbed glass that provides good obscurity with lots of light transmission. When we assemble your transom we will run the ribs in the vertical orientation unless you give us a special instruction to run it horizontal.


Seeded glass (or "Seedy" Glass) is still clear, but it is intentionally "seeded" with small imperfections (gas bubbles) to give the glass more interest. Use seeded glass where you want generally clear glass with some distortion.

Glue Chip

Glue chip glass is a texture that looks like frost on a window pane during the winter cold. This attractive random pattern is created by applying hot glue to the sandblasted surface of clear float glass and allowing it to dry under controlled temperature and humidity conditions.



Antique glass is also still clear, but it has noticeable "running of the glass" that produces distortion. Genuine antique glass differs from modern glass in that antique glass was fabricated in a transition period between hand blowing and modern manufacturing. In this period, certain portions of old techniques were replaced with mechanical devices. The mechanical "rolling" of this period in the 19th and early 20th centuries gave this glass a unique appearance. Our modern replica glass resembles glass of this period.

Water / Wavy

Water or wavy glass first became popular around the turn of the 20th century. It's clear but has a pattern that obscures the item behind it while leaving it largely identifiable. We see this glass used both in historical renovations and in homes that want to achieve a more slightly more elegant feel.


Mirrored glass is exactly what you think it is -- mirrored glass that replaces regular, clear glass. Choose this glass if you plan to hang a the transom sash from a wall (for decorative purposes) or if you embed the transom in a wall to simulate an exterior or room-to-room window. You can see examples of these ideas in our Houzz Gallery LINK NEEDED here.

No Glass

We do occasionally have orders for transoms without glass. Most "glassless" applications involve screened porches or other areas where ventilation is required. Transoms ordered without glass will be manufactured without a glass slot. See our Sticking Profile customization for more information on sticking profiles that are available without a glass slot.

Tempered Glass

Tempered glass (also known as safety glass) is specially coated or specially formulated so that it is much stronger than regular glass and shatters in a way less likely to cause injury.

Our clear and artistic glass can be ordered tempered for your application. Be aware that all tempered glass transoms are made as simulated divided lite windows, and generally require an additional week or more to deliver since the glass has to be specially made.

Typically, tempered glass is only installed in areas where the building code requires it. These so-called "hazardous locations" are generally adjacent to doors, in stairways, halls or bathrooms.

Check your local building codes, but most locations where transom windows are installed (over doors or openings) are not considered hazardous and thus are not required to be tempered. This is because the windows are higher than the typical "plane of travel" -- that is, you can't run into them easily. Accordingly, sidelights (windows next to doors) are near the plane of travel and must be tempered. Windows in bathrooms should be verified carefully, but generally if they are 66" above a tub or shower's drain, they don't need to be tempered.


Standard Wood

Our standard windows come paint-ready and free of all but the smallest imperfections.

Interior, paint-grade sashes are generally made of Poplar and jambs are made of Pine.

Exterior, paint-grade sashes and jambs are made of a rot-restant wood like Red Grandis or Cypress.

We only fabricate windows in wood. Vinyl or steel windows are not available.

All wood transoms and jambs are carefully sanded before shipment.

Stain-Grade Wood

We also can build your sash or jamb in a number of what we consider stain-grade wood species. We have the following stain-grade species available as standard options:

  • Red Oak
  • White Oak
  • Maple
  • Cherry
  • Ash
  • Alder
  • Pine
  • Cedar
  • Cypress
  • Mahogany
  • Walnut
  • Douglas Fir
  • Read Oak - Quarter Sawn
  • White Oak - Quarter Sawn

Most people who order a stain-grade sash also choose to order a stain-grade jamb, if needed. However, our system does allow stain grade sashes to be ordered with paint-grade jambs if that is your preference.

Special notes on Stain-Grade Wood

Some types of wood are more workable than others -- so not all transom designs are available in all wood species. The ordering page will show wood species available for the pattern selected.

If you do not see your favorite wood selection in our options list, please call. We can source most any wood species. Just know that some exotic species may be more expensive, harder to machine, or require a longer lead time. We will price and evaluate special requests on a per order basis.

Staining and Painting our Windows

Wood samples shown in the picture have been finished with one coat of clear polyurethane. If you plan on using a different stain color (other than clear coat), we recommend testing it on the outside edge of the sash or jamb to obtain the correct mix BEFORE attempting to stain the transom unit.

All of our transom windows (interior and exterior) are delivered un-painted and un-stained. We do not offer painting or priming for our windows. Our installation section has detailed tips about preparing and painting or staining your transom.


What is a Sticking Profile?

Sticking is the edge profile on the wood immediately adjacent to the glass.

For window makers this transition is called a sticking profile, and the profile can be carved into different shapes.

Standard Sticking Profile

The traditional Beaded profile is our standard sticking profile.

Probably 90% or more of all windows ever manufactured have this profile, and it is our standard as well.

Unless you are trying to match a specific profile listed below, you are best going with this standard profile.

Optional Sticking Profiles

You may desire to match your transom to the sticking profile of adjacent wood windows, sidelites or french doors. Again, those items are likely to match our Beaded profile. If not, we offer additional options below:

The Ogee profile is similar to the "Ovulo" profile common to Colonial or Williamsburg style homes in the northeast United States. Our Ogee is nearly identical to our Beaded profile, but the part of the Ogee profile closest to the glass is rounded instead of squared. Our advice: unless you know you are matching the Ogee profile to something else in your project -- order the Beaded profile instead.

The Beveled profile matches the style of Arts & Crafts windows. Model numbers for our Arts & Crafts transoms always start with "AC." Instead of a "bead," the "beveled" transition is a single, simple 45 degree angle that clips the 90 degree turn. You occasionally see this profile on Bungalow and Mission style windows as well (look for "BM" patterns).

The Square profile matches the style of Shaker doors, furniture and cabinets. If you have Shaker elements in your home, consider this Square profile on a TR-1 or TR-4 pattern. This profile does not look good with patterns that have curved muntins.

No Glass Sticking Profiles

If you order your transom with no glass, the transom will come to you with no glass slot. Such "no glass" transoms are typically used for ventilation or decorative purposes.

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