Stained glass restoration is something we look upon as our duty at Scottish Stained Glass. Over the years we have amassed a wealth of knowledge in the techniques involved in taking once beautiful stained glass art pieces and restoring them to their former glory. As the guardians of this beautiful art we want to see the window and door panels preserved forever so that our descendants may enjoy them as we have.
Stained Glass Restoration due to Deterioration of Lead
While glass does not usually deteriorate significantly over time, the lead which holds the piece together certainly does. The lead will react with both air and moisture to oxidize and eventually become brittle. This process usually takes anywhere from 60 to 120 years so by the time the custom stained glass restoration starts, the glass has often reached antique status and, in most cases, is well worth spending the time and money to restore the piece.
Hail Damage to Stained Glass
Possibly the most devastating damage to stained glass can be caused by hail. In the 2 photos on this page the stained glass in this church in Pueblo, Colorado was hit by baseball sized hail. Scottish Stained Glass removed the panels, matched up the glass and re-leaded the pieces before re-installing them. After the stained glass restoration and as an extra protective measure we installed protective unbreakable glass on the exterior of the church to prevent the same thing from happening the next time a hail storm hits.
Wind Damage to Stained Glass
In most major cities older homes and churches can be seen with stained glass built into parts of the home. If these windows are original and are not protected from the elements, the wind can cause the lead to stretch giving a bowed or concave effect to the appearance of the stained glass. If left for too long this will eventually lead to glass pieces falling out or cracking. The solution is to remove the stained glass and restore it by either flattening it back if this is possible or by carefully removing all the glass pieces and re-leading the panel using the existing glass.
Re-Leading to Restore Stained Glass
The solution in both of the above cases is to re-lead the panel. This involves taking the pieces apart one by one and removing all the lead. The glass pieces are then cleaned and a new stained glass panel is created using brand new lead wrapped around each glass piece as before. The effect is that the stained glass window design will look like new after the process is completed and should then last at least another 100 years, especially if not exposed to the elements as before.
Preserving the Value of Stained Glass
When considering whether your stained glass needs to be restored, please remember that if the glass starts to break then the process becomes more complicated and expensive. In order to preserve the additional antique value which the stained glass window will have attained, the glass colors and textures must be matched precisely to the originals which is not always an easy task when dealing with 100 year old glass. At Scottish Stained Glass we have stored thousands of pieces of glass to use for these types of applications and in many cases can match an original color and texture.
Restoration Versus New Stained Glass?
Many of our clients ask us whether they should just make a new window rather than carry out restoration on an old one. That’s a difficult question to answer and needs to be looked at on a case by case basis. Restoration, if done properly, will often cost more than a new piece but when finished the restored panel will likely have a value of 2 or 3 times that of the new panel.
Free Advice and Valuations of Your Stained Glass
At Scottish Stained Glass we are happy to offer free advice and valuations of your stained glass before and after restoration. If you email us photos we can ever do some rough calculations over the Internet.
“I just wanted to thank you guys for the job you did on my stained glass. As you know we think the glass was original to the home and just over 100 years old. I was so upset when I discovered cracks in the glass after the party we had and at the time I didn’t believe it could ever be the same again. Your installers delivered the glass back to me yesterday and I honestly can’t tell which pieces you replaced. Please feel free to use this testimonial and I promise I will tell everyone who asks about the great job you did!”
Jan Taylor (Denver, CO)