Stained glass windows are a rare and elegant feature. Many churches and homeowners cherish their stained glass, so when it’s damaged, they’re willing to invest in repairs.
Sometimes, the window is a family heirloom and therefore it has sentimental value. If it’s part of a historic building, then there are cultural and educational reasons for its preservation. In some rare cases, if it was made by a famous artisan such as Louis Comfort Tiffany, Frank Lloyd Wright, or the Greene brothers, the window may be worth a lot of money.
In these cases, it makes sense to invest in repairs for the stained glass. But how much does this process
cost? Well, that all depends on what types of repairs need to be made and how bad the damage is. Let us explain.
Signs that Repairs Are Needed
The majority of the time, people are completely unaware that their stained glass needs upkeep. They don’t realize that their stained glass needs repairs until the windows are in very poor condition.
We always tells owners to inspect their windows regularly. Doing so gives you a better chance of spotting damage before it is beyond the point of repair. Some things you should check for are cracks, chips, flaking paint, discoloration, chalky leading, loose putty, and/or detached metal bars.
How Are Stained Glass Windows Restored?
Repairs for stained glass
can fall into two categories: minor or full restorations. Minor repairs can usually be done without removing the entire window. Full restorations, on the other hand, are usually conducted off site as the process is far more complicated.
If there are only a couple of small cracks or damaged pieces, these can easily be fixed on site. Each window is assessed on a case by case basis. Sometimes, it’s possible to mend the cracks, which means that the antique glass can be saved. Other times, the glazier may find it better to replace the damaged piece. If the window is painted, the new sections will have to be repainted to match it.
are much more intense. This option is usually recommended if the damage is severe or the window is very old and therefore fragile. The first step in this process is to remove the window so it can be taken in for repairs. The old putty is chipped away and the window is carefully extracted. The glass company will take it to their workshop for the rest of the repairs. There, it is cleaned, documented, and taken apart piece by piece.
All severely damaged glass is replaced with matching pieces. Hand painted details are added if necessary. This sometimes requires several attempts to get the paintings to match perfectly. The old lead is disposed of and replaced with new leading and the whole window is assembled back together.
When it comes to stained glass repair, less is more. Most glaziers who are concerned with historic glass preservation understand this and will try to be as conservative as possible while still addressing all of the serious issues that need to be taken care of in order to save the window from total destruction.
How Much Does It Cost to Have Stained Glass Repaired?
The cost for stained glass repair depends entirely on the situation. Repairs can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. It all depends on what needs to be replaced and how much time and effort it will take. Here is a breakdown of the average cost for different repairs:
Labor: The cost of labor depends on the difficulty of the work. Usually, labor costs run from $50 to $100 per hour.
Minor repairs: Minor repairs range from $30 to $500 on average.
Residential restoration: Residential stained glass restoration usually falls somewhere between $1,000 to $5,000 per panel.
Church restoration: For church stained glass windows that need anything beyond minor repair, the cost usually runs from about $10,000 to $40,000 per window. However, this is only an estimate.
Additional costs: Other factors may increase the cost for repair. For example, if the color of glass is not available, a custom color will have to be ordered and manufactured by a glass company. Costs for installation, transportation, and removal also affect the total price.
Get More Information
When it comes to stained glass repair, the best way to get an idea of the cost is to schedule a consultation. Seeing the stained glass in person is the best way to gain an understanding of the condition of the glass and what repairs need to be done. If you are interested in scheduling a consultation, please contact