This page answers common concerns and questions about leaded glass repair and custom design.
Q: What is involved in creating a new stained glass window or door panel? A: With the help of an experienced studio the process is simple and very enjoyable. A knowledgeable craftsman will guide you through all aspects of the proposed project: design; decisions and options; budget; glass selection; frame choices; architectural woodwork; installation and care.
The basic procedure:
Visit the site and consult with our client. Examine the architecture, decorative elements, lighting and exterior environment; these are all elements which may have a profound effect on the finished window or panel. Careful measurements are taken at this time. Prepare a small coloured sketch to give an impression of how the artist visualises the finished panel. Obtain client approval. Prepare a specification of the technical aspects of the project, its materials, all costs, payment schedule, approval procedure, and the time frame necessary to complete the work. Submit colours and types of glass, lead or zinc cames, framing system, glass decoration techniques and a full size working drawing (cartoon) for final approval. Create and install the window or panel.
Q: How can I tell if our stained glass window requires attention? A: Look for any of the following conditions:
Buckled or bowed areas or sections
Cracked, bent or missing sections of lead came
Broken solder joints
Putty falling out from under the lead flanges
Separated tie wires or support bars
Glass separated from lead came
Broken or cracked glass
Painted glass deterioration
Deteriorated frames ( wood or metal)
Ventilators difficult to operate
Condensation between protective glazing and window (where fitted)
Windows, as with anything else, need periodic maintenance. It is best to consult an expert in stained glass restoration to obtain accurate information and advice, as the actual condition can be deceptive.
Q: Why do windows buckle or bow? A: The basic cause is the force created by the window expanding and contracting due to temperature changes. This force is exerted throughout the entire window.
The area where the window buckles or bows is determined by many variables, such as:
The pattern, type, and quality of the lead cames used to fabricate the window Insufficient or improperly applied support bars Inability of the panels of leaded glass to expand and contract within their frame. Use of hard setting sealing compounds Un-vented protective glazing (pressure of the trapped air varies as it heats and cools creating bowing)
Q: Do stained glass windows need exterior protective glazing? A: The primary reason for installing protective glazing is protection from vandalism. Stained glass windows do not need protection from the weather, sunlight or air pollution. The window is airtight and weathertight if the putty under the lead cames is in good condition.
Q: Can a damaged stained glass window be repaired in place? A: Only a very simple repair (usually of accidentally broken glass) with one or two pieces of damaged glass being replaced, can be satisfactorily performed in situ. Repairs in place require the lead cames to be cut in the corners, the flanges bent-up, glass replaced, and flanges puttied and flattened. Because the window is vertical, a proper solder joint is not possible, which leaves the window’s lead matrix in a weakened condition, which is why repairing anything more than one or two pieces is unwise.
All work beyond the most simple repairs must be done on a table in the studio. Temporary glazing or plywood sheeting can fill the window opening while the repair is undertaken.
Anyone proposing the restoration of windows (beyond a simple repair) without removing them is offering only a stop-gap measure. Any work performed in situ on a window with problems only deals with the symptoms of the window’s condition, not the root causes and is definitely not recommended.
Q: Can a stained glass panel be incorporated into a double glazing panel?
A: Yes! The decision to make a stained glass window into a double glazing unit must be taken BEFORE any unit is constructed. The panel is built into the spacer frame provided by the double glazing unit fabricator and the inner and outer clear glass panels bonded to this frame after the stained glass panel is built. We would be pleased to discuss this energy efficient option with you.