Preservation and cleaning of stained glass and leaded panels

Stained glass windows have been around for ages and even the oldest ones are still beautiful

The glass part of stained glass is virtually forever , but the weakness is the lead came used for holding the glass together. This lead will deteriorate over time and eventually will crack and fail altogether causing your window to crash to the floor in pieces. The older came strips were made of pure lead with a short lifespan , but the new came is much more durable and should last 50 years at least.

The first signs of a window or panel in need of some professional care is leaking when it rains , rattling or loose pieces of glass , cracked or missing pieces and sagging or bulging of the panel. When first built , a cement mixture is forced between the glass and the lead to weatherproof it and this also lend some structural strength to the panel . All panels larger than 400mm x 400mm should have some form of extra support in the form of an iron bar across or internal hidden re-inforcing between the glass and lead. This is to support the weight of the glass and to prevent the soft lead to sag or bulge , causing the cement and eventually the glass to fall out.

If you are in doubt , rather call a professional to inspect it and recommend the proper course of action . If caught in time the restoration or maintenance of a panel is not too expensive .

To clean a stained glass or leaded panel always use a soft cloth and a little domestic dishwashing liquid in lukewarm water. Never use any other chemical or window cleaning mixture . It is better to not clean it too often as this can cause more damage in the long run

You can buy special polish to apply to the stained glass panel but do not attempt to polish it weekly or daily.

If you ever come across stained glass that is not looking good or damaged and broken windows , please contact me immediately with the details. We must all try to preserve this precious heritage.

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