A more simple solution can often include repairs of glass and lead while matching the same (or similar), glass and lead. This often also includes “re-putty” of the channel. While this can be time-consuming, it is still less expensive than a total restoration.

It is also possible to adjust the design to accommodate a crack where glass is not available to replace. This can be done with lead or copper foil.

This is an inexpensive way to fix a window. Once the repair is made, a patina is added to match the dark shade of the lead.

Other things to consider would include additional structural support such as re-bars (reinforcement), and knowDepending on the damage, and if the window was created by a famous artist will help you decide how much to spend on restoring a stained glass window. Most people are able to pick up old windows for a good price at churches, antique stores, or estate sales. Here are things to look for:

  • Buckling of the window
  • Broken solder joints or loose reinforcement bars
  • Broken and cracked glass
  • Missing sections of lead
  • Deterioration of putty in lead channels
  • The poor condition of frame, rotten sills or peeling paint
  • Signs of water damage
  • Dirt, plant growth, or atmospheric contaminants
  • Placement of window within the structure (leaking gutters nearby, etc.)

If you’re not sure about the value, it is best to have a professional restorer take a look. However, often the price is so low, that many people take a chance and purchase a panel regardless of flaws and problems. If you know for sure that a famous artist created your panel, it is often worth spending whatever is necessary to restore it. So you can see cost can vary from a few hundred to thousands (depending on the amount of repairs needed).

This can still come out to your advantage, however, you need to know how much is involved. A total restoration can include removing all the old lead and completely rebuilding the panel with a new lead. This is a good option if the lead is contaminated and has become so soft that the panel cannot be properly supported by a simple support restoration. This can cost more, but in the long run, you will have a structurally strong window in the original design that will last many years to come.

Depending on when the original was made. Often when an older panel is in a frame, you should also consider if the frame is painted that the paint on the frame is not lead-based. We check for lead levels and explain your options.

In addition, the glass itself can be an issue. It is often easy to match glass that has been made within the last 100 years or so. The ship shown here had sentimental value and the owner didn’t want too many changes. Fortunately, the glass used was only 30 years old and still being made.

There is some specialty glass that is no longer made, however, there are resources to acquire glass from salvage or manufacturers who have old stock. Beveled glass can be replaced easily as there are fabrication shops that use machines to bevel exact matches. 

If you have questions regarding the condition, and restoration options, contact Rae Studios for assistance. We’ve been restoring windows since the 1970s and can help make your recent antique purchase a beautiful piece of art again.