Church Exterior Protective Glass

Stained glass plays always played an important role within churches and houses of worship across the nation. With proper maintenance and care, these treasured pieces of art can continue to inspire congregations for centuries. However, in order to slow down age-related deterioration and defend against various threats, it’s important to invest in the proper protection. When it comes to determining what type of exterior protective covers you need, you’ll need to define the scope and priorities of your church’s stained glass:

1. What are you protecting your church’s stained glass from?

What threats are common in your area? Is your church located in a high-crime area with a lot of vandalism? Are there severe weather and natural disaster risks?

2. Is protection or your church’s aesthetics the main priority?

When it comes to exterior protection, does the outside appearance of your property matter more? Or is proper security and protection the number one goal?

Once you’ve defined what your exact needs are in regards to your church protective covers, the next step is working with a highly experienced church stained glass restoration studio. These exterior protective glazings need to be custom-made with the right ventilation built-in. Installing the wrong protection can actually be harmful to your stained glass windows.

New Aluminum Extrusion Systems Available for Stained Glass Exterior Protection

Scottish Stained Glass is proudly offering premium aluminum extrusion systems for optimal stained glass protection in churches and commercial properties. These non-invasive systems can be installed onto any existing window frame for housing a variety of different exterior protective solutions including plexiglass, laminated, tempered, and plate glass.

These revolutionary systems can adhere to any shape of your existing architecture. The sturdy, modern systems are available in three standard colors: metal finish, dark bronze, and white. Custom colors are also available. With internal ventilation built into these systems, we no longer have to create ventilation through existing frames or glass. These new systems also provide the benefit of easier replacement if the protective glass is damaged from vandalism, natural disasters, or other threats.

The aluminum systems are less labor-intensive and actually, help lower your maintenance needs. The permanent, long-term solution preserves the exterior so that wooden window frames won’t require repainting every 5+ years. Preserve your stained glass along with your property’s window frames with this incredible protective solution.

Case Studies on Protective Glass Covers for Churches

Our team of restoration experts has created numerous custom solutions to address stained glass preservation among a wide variety of different situations and locations. We’re happy to share our one-of-kind solutions that we’ve developed in order to address your protective cover needs. Learn more about our custom-developed solutions in our featured case studies:

Vernon Chapel AME Church | Tulsa, Oklahoma

This incredible historic church had original stained glass windows throughout that didn’t have any protective covers previously installed. This unfortunately resulted in over 500 pieces of stained glass being broken. Our team installed 3/16 inch plates into the same glazing pocket as the original stained glass. We built venting solutions from the interior of the church directly from the framing. In addition to the exterior glazing, we also updated the window frames in order to address the outdated and damaged wooden frames. Security was the goal for this project as the church required conserving these historically important windows.

Before | No existing protective glazing and damaged, peeling wooden frames

church stained glass protective cover
After | 3/6″ exterior glass installed with custom interior venting through the frames

Central Christian Church | Jacksonville, Florida

There was a very thin layer of Plexiglass that the church had previously installed for exterior protection. Unfortunately, this Plexiglass was too thin to provide viable protection against vandalism and was broken with a large rock. The rock also damaged the stained glass window, requiring a better security solution against future vandalism. Our team installed a 1/4 inch thick polycarbonate protective cover that’s 240 times stronger than normal glass for this project.

Before | Thin, outdated Plexiglass with no built-in ventilation

After | 1/4″ polycarbonate with custom built-in ventilation

First United Methodist Church | Del Rio, Texas

The church had invested in a polycarbonate exterior protective cover but it didn’t have any ventilation. This led to yellowing over time and harmful heat buildup for the stained glass windows. The yellowing considerably detracted from the church’s exterior and the stained glass’ interior appearance. The original steel frame was painted an outdated cream color and needed to be modernized. Our team replaced the polycarbonate with 1/4″ thick glass in custom sections and painted the framing black. We built the exterior protective glass 2 inches away from the stained glass with vents created from the inside of the glass. Both security and aesthetics were the priority for this project.

Before | Outdated cream painted steel frames and yellowing polycarbonate

During/After | 1/4″ protective glass with ventilation and fresh black painted frames

First United Methodist Church | Leavenworth, Kansas

The church had previously installed Plexiglas for their stained glass protection. There were aluminum frames holding the Plexiglass in place which caused an outdated, less than ideal exterior aesthetic. Our team built new exterior protective covers with 3/16″ and 1/4″ plate glass cut to the shape of their existing stained glass. The protective glazing was glazed into the frame about an inch from the windows with vents created from the interior and the frames. This enhanced both protection and appearance.

Before | Outdated Plexiglas with aluminum frames

After | the interior appearance of the stained glass is a lot more vivid and bright with the new exterior glass

MacDonald Church of Christ | Oakland, California

The church invested in a 3/16″ annealed glass cover for their stained glass protection. Unfortunately, it is located in a terrible crime area in Oakland which made it more susceptible to vandalism and crime. The annealed glass was broken with rocks and required a more effective solution. Our team installed a 1/4″ polycarbonate exterior cover set about one to two inches away from the stained glass. We created internal ventilation as well, providing a viable, premium security option.

Before | Broken annealed glass exterior protective cover

After | 1/4″ polycarbonate with custom ventilation

Wheat Ridge Congregational Church | Wheat Ridge, Colorado

This church made the common mistake of installing Plexiglass in the 1990s. Plexiglass installation was very popular for church protective covers when churches and certain stained glass studies didn’t anticipate the importance of proper ventilation in exterior glazing. Hot air becomes trapped during the day between the Plexiglas and stained glass, creating a pushing motion against the stained glass window. When the temperature quickly cools at night, it creates a sucking motion that pulls the windows outwards. The constant pushing and pulling rapidly accelerates the deterioration and creates a convex/concave shape in the windows. Our team installed 3/16″ plate glass with built-in venting through the frame in order to combat this issue.

Before | Outdated Plexiglas with no ventilation

After | 3/16″ plate glass with ventilation from the interior window frame

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