Stained Glass Repair & Restoration
Stained Glass Restoration
For older stained glass where the leading has crumbled, the glass is broken or falling out and the panel seems unstable the owner of the piece will have a decision to make. Do you restore the panel to it’s original glory or simply let it go and replace it with a new one?
There are arguments for both cases. On the one hand a new piece is probably less expensive than a restoration. So financially it will likely make sense to replace it.
However if the stained glass panel has either sentimental value or it could be considered to have an antique value associate with it then most of the time restoration will be the preferred route. At Scottish Stained Glass we are big supporters of restoring old glass. For one thing the textures and colors of old stained glass have unique qualities to them which are worthy of preservation and difficult to replicate.
We are often asked why restoration can be more expensive than new construction. Below is a very brief outline of some of the steps required in our restoration process which will give you an idea of the work involved.
1) The existing leaded/stained glass will be removed and brought to our workshop. Temporary glass is installed if necessary.
2) A computer generated pattern/template is made for each window.
3) Each window is soaked in a solution for 10 days or so to soften the cement and clean the glass. The windows are then completely taken apart. The unbroken glass is saved and the broken glass is put aside for possible reuse in smaller pieces. The old lead is safely disposed of.
4) The windows are rebuilt using new lead and glass is cut to replace the broken pieces.
5) The lead used will often be specially manufactured to have a profile similar to the existing and sometimes new glass needs to be manufactured to match the old.
6) Each lead joint is soldered using a molten mixture of lead and tin.
7) The panels are then cemented by forcing a thin black cement between the lead and the glass.
8) Reinforcing bars are attached to larger panels if needed in such a way as to support the weight of the glass and lead but at the same time cause the least amount of detraction from the appearance of the windows.
9) Clean and polish the glass
10) Return to the site and install the leaded glass panels.
Most of these steps are used on all stained glass but steps 1, 3 and 5 are specific to restoration work and in addition to what’s required to make a new stained glass window.
We hope the above information was informative and if you have questions regarding stained glass restoration please don’t hesitate to contact us.