Repairing At-Home Stained Glass Windows

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Stained glass windows are a stunning, decorative way to add a little extra something to the look of a building. While it more often appears in churches and religious buildings, it’s also possible to have stained glass windows in your home.

Stained glass was first created in Southwest Asia, before becoming popular in England and Europe in the Medieval period. It took a little longer to reach the United States – the first major producer of stained glass here was J&R Lamb Studios, established in New York City in 1857. American John La Farge patented the opalescent style of stained glass in 1880, and the famous Tiffany style followed. The traditional stained glass saw a resurgence in the early 1900s with Charles J. Connick, who created hundreds of windows right across the country.

Source

The world’s largest stained glass window, 37 feet high and 93 feet wide, is at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City.

Types of Stained Glass

There are 20 different types of stained glass:

  • Textured
  • Bevels 
  • Jewels 
  • Glass nuggets 
  • Rondels
  • Architectural
  • Cathedral
  • Antique 
  • Semi-antique
  • Fractures and streamers
  • Flashed
  • Craquel
  • Glue chip
  • Mirror
  • Iridescent
  • Opalescent
  • Seedy
  • Streaky
  • Ring-mottled
  • Opaque

Repairing your stained glass

If you have stained glass in your home, it’s intricate nature means it may need occasional maintenance. As the window’s putty dries, it can fall out of the lead that keeps the glass in place, causing it to rattle. If your windows rattle, it’s time for repairs.

If you’re not the DIY sort, visit www.willethauser.com for expert stained glass repairs.

You’ll need lamp black, glazing putty, and linseed oil. You should be able to find everything at your hardware store. You’ll also need a small pick with a sharp point (toothpicks work well), a small bowl, and a stick to stir the mixture.

Remove the old, loose putty from the lead cames and mix your ingredients into a spreadable liquid. It doesn’t matter if the color doesn’t match exactly. Once you’ve cleaned up the window, you won’t really see the putty. 

Apply your putty to the window, making sure to push it down into the lead cames. You can also press down the edges using a small wooden stick to make sure it’s all the way in. This process will cover most of the window surface and look kind of messy, but don’t worry. It’s easy to clean up once you’re finished.

Once the putty mixture is dry, you can clean the glass surface pretty easily, but don’t let it get too dry, or it will be harder to remove. Wipe the putty mixture towards the lead, so you know it’s entirely into the cames, and then let the window dry until it’s hard. You can clean the rest off with steel wool. This has the added advantage of cleaning the window, so your glass will be sparkling as well as stable.