Leaded window restoration specialists in Morpeth
Based in Morpeth, Vitrail Studios offers high-quality restoration services across Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, Whitley Bay, Cramlington, Ashington, Bedlington, Alnwick and Hexham. Get in touch with your restoration query today.
Life expectancy of a leaded window
The expected life of a leaded window is impossible to predict accurately. Glass will survive for centuries before corrosion occurs but the lead will have a duration of between eighty to one hundred years or more depending upon several factors:
Whether the position of the window is sheltered or not
Whether the window has been strengthened sufficiently with steel glazing bars
The quality of the lead itself
Our experts will assess all these factors and then begin the restoration process. We work on churches, museums and commercial properties as well as residential homes.
The restoration process
Distortion of leaded windows can be caused over decades by wind pressure. The window will usually tolerate some degree of “bowing” before glass begins to crack. Pronounced distortion is an indication that maintenance is necessary. Due to repeated stress, leaded glass windows set into doors will generally require attention sooner than windows. The use of several reinforcing glazing bars will help to lengthen the life of leaded door panels. When a leaded window has reached a severe level of distortion the solder joints will begin to fracture, the weatherproofing cement (between lead and glass) will fall away, leaving the gaps open to wind and rain. If no action is taken the window will eventually fall apart. Re-leading the window is the only way to rescue windows in this state. It is also an opportunity to replace glass which has cracked over the years and to thoroughly clean the glass.
The lead is stripped from the glass which, after cleaning, is reglazed using new lead. Broken glass can usually be replaced with an exact modern replica, or at least, a sympathetic substitute. The restored leaded window will then look as good as the day it was first created and extend its life by around one hundred years. The cost of reglazing depends upon the complexity of the design and the size of the window.
Local damage to a leaded glass window can often be repaired by careful replacement of individual pieces of coloured glass. This is delicate work which becomes impossible to attempt if the lead matrix has been distorted. Should this be the case, then the window can be dismantled as far as the area of damage and partially re-leaded. Any re-leading will necessitate the removal of the whole window for repair.
Sometimes it is found that pigment is lost or faded (generally through poor firing). Because repainting and refiring is potentially dangerous, lost pigment can be retouched using acrylic paints.
In addition to restoration, we also provide conservation services and painted and stained glass solutions. In case of any requirements, please feel free to get in touch with our team. We also provide our services in Newcastle upon Tyne.