A Division of Mominee Studios, Inc. Jules Mominee – Stained Glass Restoration Consulting
FAQS – Stained Glass Window Restoration
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Q. How do I know if my windows need restoration? A. Cracked or broken pieces of glass are fairly obvious issues. Other changes in condition, such as bowing or loss of glazing compound, may not be apparent for many years – until they reach a critical point. Here are a few things you can look for: ● Daylight between glass and lead. Glass and lead naturally expand and contract from heat and cold, but over time, lead can no longer contract as much as when it was new. The glass it holds in place shifts position as the lead continues to stretch, creating gaps. ● Loose reinforcement bars. Reinforcement bars help to stabilize a stained glass window as it expands and contracts. If the window begins to bow, or if the reinforcement bars do not permit natural movement, the bars may break away from the window and might even pull bits of lead away with them, depending upon how they were attached.
● Glass rattling in the window. The putty which surrounds and seals the glass within the lead channels dries out over time. It may loosen and fall away unless regularly amended. Without putty to make the glass weather tight, the window may develop leaks during heavy rains.
● Deteriorated frames. Proper maintenance of window frames helps to preserve the stained glass as well. Deteriorated sashes retain moisture, and prolonged contact with moisture contributes to corrosion of the metal channel on the outer edge of the stained glass window. Rotted framing members also cannot maintain proper support for the glass panels, contributing to any structural weaknesses inherent in the stained glass. Q. How often do stained glass windows need restoration? A. Restoration can occur at any stage in the life of a stained glass window, through result of damage by vandalism, storms or other forces of nature. In ideal circumstances, complete restoration only occurs when the lead is no longer able to provide adequate structural support, approximately every 100 - 150 years. Like any other window, stained glass windows need to be examined yearly to be maintained in good condition. Minor maintenance includes washing the surface of the stained glass window and amending the putty at least every 2 - 3 years. [Note: Stained glass windows cannot be cleaned in the same ways or with the same cleaning agents as ordinary glass windows. A professional stained glass studio should be contacted about cleaning your stained glass windows.] Q. What happens when a stained glass window needs to be restored? A. Qualified restorers follow these basic steps: Pre-removal, On-site Documentation: Pictures, measurements and notations must be recorded before any work is done, and before windows are removed from a building.
Removal: Stained glass windows must be stabilized and labeled prior to their removal, and then securely crated or packed for safe transportation to the restoration studio.
Preliminary Documentation in the Restoration Studio: Additional pictures, measurements and notations are made.
Disassembly and Cleaning: Because each stained glass window is unique, it will have different requirements for how it must be handled, especially if the window has any special considerations such as fragile painted detail or multiple layers of specialty glasses.
Re-assembly: The cleaned glass pieces will be reunited with all new lead that matches the profiles of the old original lead. Assembly and soldering techniques will be similar to those originally used. Finished panels are re-cemented with putty formulated for use with stained glass windows, carefully removing all excess from both glass and lead.
Reinstallation: If the window frames and sashes received appropriate maintenance during the time the stained glass windows were out, everything is now in good condition and the restored windows will be fitted back into their openings and sealed with the correct materials for the situation. The results should last for many years.
Final Documentation: The restorer will compile a record of the restoration from the pictures and notes made during the entire process. This gives the client valuable information for insurance purposes, and for the next time the stained glass windows need such attention. Q. How do I find a qualified restoration professional? A. It is possible for you to search for and locate any number of stained glass studios through the internet or by referrals, but the results can be confusing and overwhelming. A professional consultant can help you narrow your search to those studios most capable of performing the desired work within your budget. He can help you set up parameters for the qualifications the studios will need to meet in order for them to bid on your project.

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