When should Stained Glass Be Restored?


Knowing when it is time to replace or restore your Dallas Church’s stained glass is not intuitive. Many parishioners do not notice anything wrong with their stained glass–except maybe it looks a little dingy. Which is why we urge you to get your church’s stained glass inspected by a professional.  However, there are ways to do an initial inspection yourself to let you know if it may be time to have them restored. When it comes to whether or not a chapel’s stained glass windows need repair we tell our potential clients to refer to the two A’s–Age and Appearance. Read on to find out how to use these two simple reference points can tell you a lot about your stained glass.

Consider the Appearance of Your Church’s Stained Glass

How your Dallas church’s stained or painted glass windows looks will tell you a lot about its state of repair. There are a lot of visual cues coming from it that will not only tell you whether it needs repair but why and what is happening below the surface that you may not realize. So, to help you understand what to look for we have collated a complete list of seven common signs you glass likely needs repair.

Appearance: 7 Top Signs of Stained Glass Deterioration

  1.  Sagging or Bulging Glass: Walk up to your stained glass window as close as you can get. Peer up at the window and panes of glass. Do you see any bulging? Do any of the panes of the window appear to have a concave or convex appearance? Stand at a distance from your stained glass and look at the horizontal lines–are they all even? If any of these are true your window could be suffering from wind damage or structural decay.
  2. Dull or Faded Looking Stained Glass: Can you see excessive dirt build-up between the lead and the glass? Do the colors appear muted? Or. does the light look weak beaming through? This could mean a lifetime of grime is on your Dallas church’s stained glass windows–inside and out. Many things “stick” to glass over time: environmental debris, dirt, grease, and even improper cleaners that may have been used. DIY cleaning alone in these cases is likely not enough.
  3. Cracked Stained Glass Panels: Feel free to get as close as you can and look closely as the glass. Many times cracks will radiate from attachment points. This is from the movement of the supporting structures, especially wooden ones, over time. Other cracks, in the middle of the glass panes, likely came from damage from its surroundings. Things like hail, tree branches or even an accidental bump from someone or something inside causes these. While small cracks are fairly innocuous, over time the glass pieces will rub against each other and exponentially increase the damage and need for repair.
  4. Gaps In The Glass: When looking for gaps in the glass, a good time to look is in the early evening with the lights off. When you get close the stained glass you will be able to see daylight streaming through more brightly through gaps around the frames of the affected panel. These gaps mean the glass has shifted with the movement of the frame. In some cases may have even broken off completely in those areas.
  5. Detached or Failing Frames or Support Structures: Carefully inspect all the support structures around the window. There should not be any steel bars showing or protruding. Likewise, if you have wood framing the panels, which is broken or missing–you have severe structural damage. Since these are the structures actually keeping your very heavy glass in place–you definitely need to shore up these supports at the very least.
  6. Soft Lead: If you can access the stained glass of your Dallas cathedral–go up to it and carefully squeeze various parts of the lead beading. If the lead is soft it is degraded and could bend under the weight of the glass causing sagging. In fact, this type of damage almost always accompanies sagging or bulging glass. *Lead is a toxic substance so we suggest wearing gloves if you want to do this yourself. Calling a professional to deal with any sort of lead caming is the best/safest option.
  7. Cracked Lead: If you look at the leading on your stained glass windows and see cracks or missing pieces of lead–your window needs to be re-leaded. The stained glass on your window is actually the strongest part. When stained glass windows need restoration, almost all issues stem from the degradation of the lead, since glass itself really doesn’t “degrade”.

Age:  Why it Matter To The State of Your Dallas Church’s Stained Glass

we are at an interesting era of stained glass history. This is because a large proportion of stained glass in churches–here in Dallas and across the United States– are reaching the outer limits of their life. You see, stained glass created at the turn and the beginning of the last century lasts about 80-100 years before needing repair. Since it is 2019–this means now. Churches, especially those west of the Mississippi river were primarily built around this time. So if your Dallas church is older or historic and has stained glass windows–it is likely time to have them repaired.

Whether because of age or any of the seven appearance signs of degradation– if any of these criteria apply to your church it is time to call in a professional. Reach out to us at Scottish Stained Glass in Dallas to schedule a free on-site assessment for your church today!

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