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Thread: Transom Windows?

  1. #1
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    Transom Windows?

    I don't know if this is the correct name what you would call these windows so going to describe them. When I start building my small shop which about 32x32 it will have 12' ceiling height. So just down below the ceiling line I would like to put in say a roll of non working windows that's about 24" tall but maybe 48" wide on both side of the garage. Not all four sides but just two sides, I believe these can be purchase but that would get into big bucks. So thinking about giving it a go just to make them myself since all they will be for is to just let some daylight into shop. It was suggested that instead of using glass was to use material that people use to make their greenhouse. Which sounds pretty good, to my question. Has anyone built their own windows for same purpose, if so any design ideas? Guessing other than a window stool to direct water away from the window, that should be about it. Never made anything like this so looking for those ideas.

  2. #2
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    Many folks do this kind of thing for natural light in buildings, particularly when there's a taller wall height involved.

    You absolutely can use polycarbonate panels that are typical of greenhouses if you are comfortable with the visual distortion. Alternatively, you can order double pane insulated panels to your exact size specification that are glass and also low-E which in your particular climate might be worthy of consideration if your are cooling your shop space. I build 5 windows at our previous residence using these panels.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
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    When I was re-doing my barn I bought some "Silverline" plastic windows from a local outfit that sells lots of remaindered building supplies as well as new material. They were so cheap I could not have bought the material to make something for anything like the price. Nearly 10 years later they are still performing well, all the glass packs have stayed sealed and there's no discernible air penetration through them. So you may want to look around for pre-made windows, they can work well especially if you don't need them to open. They are a heck of a lot less work.

  4. #4
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    See if you have a Habitat Recycle store anywhere near you. People carry all sorts of building parts there to donate for a tax deductiion, and then they sell them really cheap supposedly for the money to go to building Habitat houses. I've found useful stuff there, including almost brand new windows.

    The lower part on the outside of windows that is sloped to carry water away is called a "sill". A window stool is the "shelf" at the bottom on the inside. The stool typically sits on top of the sill.

    I've built fixed windows, and it's really pretty easy.

  5. #5
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    Can you build new with single pane windows? Not in California due to energy codes. Also have to insulate the walls and attic.
    Sounds like you mean clerestory windows. Transoms are above door openings. Or maybe a jalousie window?
    Bill D

  6. #6
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    I thought jalousie windows were the ones like a glass Venetian blind, but I may be mixed up. Fixed windows are available fairly cheaply at Habitat here, or from the Bargain Barn in Rome NY, and I wonder if there are similar kinds of places near you. Of course the sizes may not be just what you had in mind, so if you want them all to match it might be better to build your own or buy from a conventional retailer.

  7. #7
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    You can order insulated glass assemblies any kind of way you want with different types of glass, thickness of glass, and space between the panes. I put some custom skylights in a new standing seam roof on a house near us a few years ago. I ordered 24"x48" units with 1/4" Safety Bronze glass for the outter piece, 1/4" tempered for the inside piece, with a 1/2" inert gas filled center. I needed ten of them, and delivered they were $268 a piece. I just ordered them from the local glass company.

    The typical local glass company wouldn't have the equipment to make them sealed with Argon, or whatever the gas is these days, but they can order anything.

    When I have built fixed glass windows, I don't put a stop on the bottom of the outside, but glaze it so it can shed water.

  8. #8
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    I have 3 of those units along one wall of the shop. Inoperable transom units are not particularly expensive, and at least in my climate, I wouldn't want yo give up the insulation value of a real window unit.

  9. #9
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    I think this is what the op is referring to as Bill notes above. Try calling your local glass shop (if there is one)... I was pleasantly surprised by their capabilities and pricing around here, so you may be able to get 2-pane/insulated as Jim mentions earlier.

    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  10. #10
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    Clerestory windows are a classic under the top roof on wooden train cars.
    Bill D
    Attached Images Attached Images

  11. #11
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    I would use Multiwall Polycarbonate for those Clerestory windows.

  12. #12
    We use multi wall polycarbonate for some of our greenhouse roofs and ceilings. I also used it to replace a the glass in a lower level casement window at my house that kept getting hit by rocks from the snow blower. It definitely isn't as energy efficient as modern double pane glass, and actually I don't know that is even better the double pane from '75, but it has much better impact resistance

    Make sure you seal the top of the cells so that they don't get filled with condensation. About 1/2 of clear silicone works. Leave the bottoms open so they can drain and for expansion/contraction. You would think that sealing top and bottom would work but in our experience it doesn't. I think the temp difference (and by extension size difference) of the air in the cells between day in the cells causes problems.

    Multiwall polycarbonate isn't cheap, but it is cheaper than double glazing, and much easier to DIY. For my shop expansion, I'm considering doing a couple site built skylights with it.

  13. #13
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    If you go with single pane plan for double pane later. Glazing on the outside and a stop inside. A second pane could be set against the stop and a second stop added, if you plan it that way.

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