Coloured glass in sash windows can look amazing but over the years it takes a real beating and of course the lead will breakdown and perish around the glass. That’s why restoring led glazing is a significant undertaking and can be an extremely costly process but in this article we should go through and have a look at some of the best ways to try to restore some of your leaded glass as cost-effectively as possible. In some circumstances you might even be able to have a go at this yourself. But let’s take a look and see if you’re confident enough based on the information that I provided for you.
First stages of restoring your leaded glass.
One of the first things you need to do when you’re restoring leaded glass is to ensure that it’s actually the condition that you’re expecting and understand. Firstly you need to see that if there’s any broken glass or if any of the lead has become loose/broken apart. In either of these situations then it’s going to be a lot more than just a simple clean up job. This I would suggest, that you are probably going to need a professional to help with. But, if you are feeling brave I’ll show you how to go about repairing leaded glass in place and it is actually quite simple. You take an extremely sharp utility knife, and simply cut away the lead around the broken pane of glass. Once you’ve cut the lead back you just simply peel the lead back and you can drop out the broken pane of glass with no fuss at all. Please be careful here, you’re handling broken glass and a sharp knife, due diligence and all that…
The big problem is however, how you source the new pane of glass to match the existing. Most of the glass that you see in these windows is actually over 100 years old and finding that glass again can be quite tricky. Most leaded glass restoration specialists obviously have a stock of this glass, where we are only undertaking the program once in our new home it’s just unlikely we will have any of that glass available to us. That said, what I found is that it’s actually possible to find old panels that have been recycled on eBay. If you can find some coloured glasses of similar match then this is going to save you an absolute fortune because the leaded glass sash restoration specialist will charge a premium.
So if you have actually managed to salvage the glass or source some then the next stage is to cut the piece and drop it into the hole that you’ve just opened up. Cutting glass is extremely easy believe it or not, just a simple glass cutter that you can buy almost anywhere will suffice. You simply score hard down the glass and just break it. The score that you make weakens the glass and therefore the break will follow the line that you’ve made. Dropping the glass in is really easy, what I normally do is just have a dab of silicone to ensure that it actually doesn’t move around once you push the lead back and then placed the glass in. You didn’t simply fold the lead back over around the glass and you have an effective repair. From here what professionals will do is take out there soldering iron and solder the joints back that you’ve just cut open. With the joints soldered you’ve made a much stronger and more lasting repair. Please bare in mind that this is a very simple spot fix and far from an entire panel restoration of leaded glass in sash windows.
What if my leaded glass on my sash windows is just dirty?
In this situation you should just go about repairing the leaded glass yourself. It’s just going to be a simple case of getting yourself some newspaper and buffing up the lead and at the same time this will clean the glass. It’s actually quite amazing to see what will happen with a bit of newspaper when you buff the leaded glass. Another way to get this job done is sawdust. Sawdust is a light abrasive and so if you grab yourself a handful of sawdust, and then simply buff away at the lead glazing it will come up and give you an amazing new led light look. Obviously, because it’s sawdust it’s not abrasive enough that it will damaged the glass as well which makes it handy in terms of cleaning the glass too. Once you buff up the lead you’ll be amazed at how it really comes up nice and shiny. So then the thing to do is to make sure that there’s no loose or rattling panes of glass and if there is just simply grab your silicone gun and put a dab of silicone into the frame just to ensure that it holds the glass in place so that you don’t get that horrible noise of rattling glass in the wind.
As you can see restoring leaded glass really has two genuine options. You’ve either got a situation where the leads well beyond simple restoration and you should seek the help of a professional leaded glass specialist. The other option is that the lead is just simply weathered and really needs a good clean. If it’s the latter I would highly recommend doing this yourself because you can literally save £100 per pane of leaded glass and it’s also quite a fun project to do. You’ll be amazed how quickly you transform your leaded glass in your sash windows.
If you think that I’ve missed anything in his article then please do pop me an email will go through lead on sash windows together but otherwise please enjoy the new restoration process of your lead light.