Adding a Transom Window

As you may remember I went buck wild a few weeks ago and cut a hole above our guest room door to make a transom window. I really need to get out more if thats I what I called buck wild…eep.

So I cut a hole in the wall, and then 4 days later my in-laws were set be rolling into my house for Thanksgiving. I know…who starts a project days before company is due to arrive and sleep IN the room where the project is happening… Dont worry, it wasnt such an epic fail. I may not have finished the transom in time, but it was presentable. Now after a few more days work, and some custom cut glass, I am pleased to reveal our new transom.

How how’d we do it?

  • We used a stud finder to generally figure out what was behind the wall above the door. We found studs on either side of the door, and one right in the middle above it.
  • We did our research, and found that building code in our area has doors framed with King Studs and Jack Studs and a Header, and that the cripple stud above the door was nothing structural. (which means we can take it out without having to reinforce anything else)
  • Using the markings of our stud finder, we drew straight lines on the insides of the studs to use as a guide for cutting.
  • We cut our hole using a drywall hand saw (or should I say I cut 1/4 of it, then wussed out and El Granto cut the rest…there are you happy you got your due Mr. Granto?)

  • ¬†We removed the cripple stud with a combination of a reciprocating saw and a hammer.

  • We cleaned up our drywall ensuring there wasn’t any in our way for when we put casing on the transom hole.

  • We cased the window using 5/8″ mdf that we had laying around the house. It also happened to be the same thickness as our current door trim. We measured the depth of our transom hole and ripped some mdf with our circular saw to fit. We then brad nailed it in place.

  • We trimmed the transom frame with more of our 5/8″ mdf.
  • We made a little frame inside the casings to hold the window. Filled, caulked and sanded.

  • We painted two coats of our trim paint.
  • We measured our hole and got a piece of glass cut at an awesome local glass shop Snap Services.
  • We installed the glass with some silicone caulking and a couple glazing points. Now if you’re home owner with an old home you’re probably asking why we didn’t use glazing compound? Well it’s an interior window, and it wont be subject to direct sunlight or weather of any kind. SO, silicone will hold it in just fine (and keep it from moving rattling around when a truck drives by.) The glazing points combined with the mini frame we built for it will ensure the glass never moves.

Transom Painted

See how much light it brings to the hallway?!

Ta Da Transom!

SOURCE LIST:

Materials:
5/8″ MDF – Home Depot (scraps from our bedside table project)
CIL Trim Paint – Home Depot
Caulking
Custom Cut Glass – Snap Services

Tools Used:
Circular Saw
Mitre Saw
Brad Nailer
Caulking Gun
Paint Brush & Tray

Difficulty Level (on a scale of 1-5):

Two out of five

Total Cost: $10

9 Responses

  1. Hi - you made this look super easy! How do you find sound traveling to/from the room when door is closed? Thinking of doing this for a kids room but not sure if it'll noise will travel through - don't want to wake a sleeping kid!
    • El Granto
      We haven't noticed any excess sound travel. But this front room is rather noisy from street traffic.
  2. Transoms are a great way to make your door really pop!
  3. WOW! I WAS JUST PREPARING TO ORDER OVER $1000 IN INTERIOR TRANSOM WINDOWS UNTIL I READ YOUR BLOG. THANK YOU!!!
  4. Saw your transom on Pinterest. It's gorgeous! I have one question...how high are your ceilings?
    • El Granto
      Standard height, 8'.
  5. Thanks for the quick step by step. I'll be working on mine in the next few months!
  6. SHart
    Thank you for sharing. We are building and they left me the hole but no idea how to finish.
  7. Mharti
    This is just awesome!!!! Thanks for sharing the info~~

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