Renovating your windows with stained glass is a great way to add value to your home, create more privacy, and play with natural light aesthetics. But before you dive into your renovation, there are three commitments you should prepare to make.
1. Accepting That You May Accrue More Costs
While it is possible to find some pre-made stained glass in online and in hardware stores, the downside is that the selection may be limited, and you could end up with a "churchy" look rather than a design that is more suitable for your home.
The good news is that while you may have to pay more for custom windows, the increased price range doesn't have to be ridiculous. Improvenet.com says that installations for stained glass are about $520 to $730 for one room, while non-custom glass is a broad range of about $200 to $600.
One way to mitigate costs is to choose a simpler, modern design. Windows with more shapes involve more materials like solder and copper foil, and they require more craftsmanship and labor. Red glass is the most expensive color, so avoid using it in your design if you want to cut costs. Since it tends to fade more quickly, small traces of gold must be added to maintain its color.
If you can't afford a stained glass window right now, there is a way to mitigate costs for a future installation. Since a stained glass window requires lots of supporting bars between panels to secure it in place, it's best to install a window that has a narrower trim beforehand. Then if you decide to install a stain glass window later on, you won't have to modify your window sill and remove a wider trim.
2. Making Sure You Research Conservation Issues
Although conservation issues are mainly for extremely old windows with historic and cultural value, there are some issues you should be aware of. Any kind of stained glass is vulnerable to weathering, inclement weather, and pollution. Whomever you choose to install your windows should be aware of any potential problems and their solutions. For instance, even though glass as a material is stable and durable, you may want to apply a protective glazing to your windows.
If your glass breaks or needs any repairs, you should know what options are available and what they are best suited for. For instance, a repair method like epoxy edge-gluing is great for disguising cracks in your glass, but the bond can eventually dissolve if its exposed to harsh sunlight. If your stained-window has a small repair, copper foiling could be used; but, it should be avoided if your window's glass has aged and is unstable for a heating process. Since a repairman who specializes in stained glass may be hard to come by, make sure you ask whomever installs your windows for some recommendations.
3. Committing Yourself to a Unique Cleaning Schedule
While you can definitely clean your stained glass windows, you can't use a typical glass cleaner. Ingredients like vinegar and ammonia are big no-nos since they can strip the metallic structure of lead cames (the dividing bars between small pieces of glass). Also, you'll want to avoid using rough scrubbing pads or any abrasive powders since that can scratch the glass and warp the colors.
A non-ammonia based glass cleaner is usually just fine to clean the windows with, but you should double-check with your installer. Old rags, sheets of newspaper, and q-tips can all be used to clean the glass surface. You'll want to spray the glass cleaner on the rags first and then wipe each individual piece, avoiding the lead cames. While you may be tempted to clean grime of the lead cames, it's best to leave that to a professional. You may accidentally remove necessary putty that protects the window from air and moisture if you try to clean them yourself.
If you are willing to make these three commitments, you're ready to get started on your renovations!
For more information, you may want to contact a local window and glass company, like City Window & Glass Repair.