Leaded glass panels

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Gothichome
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Leaded glass panels

Post by Gothichome » Sun 21st Jun, 2020 12:46 pm

Folks, I am going to have some custom leaded glass panels made up for our front doors. My question is to those of you with original leaded glass. How have they held up over time and would you be inclined (if you could) install a glass panel in front of the leaded glass on the weather side? I am worried about condensation and the inevitable degradation caused by the moisture.

Ron

Feltwell
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Location: Shropshire, England

Re: Leaded glass panels

Post by Feltwell » Sun 21st Jun, 2020 1:25 pm

Hi Ron

I have a leaded light here which was completely untouched for around 110 years before we moved in, that I've since renovated.

I wouldn't worry about protecting the weather side unless it's in a very exposed position - our one showed no sign of degradation different on the outside to the inside. However, our one was badly collapsing - the lead had sagged and bent across the bottom 2-3", causing the glass above to drop. Several pieces of glass were broken. Fortunately previous owners, rather than ripping it out, had fitted a wooden frame and a sheet of plain glass on the inside.

Hence I'd concentrate on ensuring the window is adequately supported - thin steel rods across the window, with copper wires soldered onto the lead and twisted around the rods to offer support. You can also get reinforced lead cames for the verticals - stainless steel strips embedded in the H section of the came.

This old thread may be of interest:-

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=11429&p=145513&hilit=leaded#p145513

This is mine, you can see the bars on the lower window. Top windows were too small to need them. Shame about the 'orrible white plastic thermostat on the wall, another "one day" job...….

Image

Incidentally, I've never had any condensation between the inner secondary glazing frame and the leaded light.

Gothichome
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Re: Leaded glass panels

Post by Gothichome » Tue 23rd Jun, 2020 10:59 am

Feltwell, thanks for the input. The stained glass artist mentioned she will incorporate strengthening rods in the panels.

Flyfisher
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Re: Leaded glass panels

Post by Flyfisher » Tue 23rd Jun, 2020 11:23 am

Mrs FF recently became interested in stained glass work and discovered that it's not uncommon for panels to be incorporated into DG units, which provides complete protection even without strengthening rods.

Obviously this would not be possible in all circumstances depending, on the windows, but where physically practical it might be worth considering.

This video shows the repair and then encapsulation of a large stained glass panel, though the process can obviously be scaled down for smaller panels:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpN69yTZ1n8

Feltwell
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Re: Leaded glass panels

Post by Feltwell » Tue 23rd Jun, 2020 12:56 pm

Hmm, what happens in 15-20 years when the DG seals fail though? Can it be extracted into a new DG unit without harm?

Cynical me doesn't like seals that can fail. It's why I still plumb everything in solder-jointed copper rather than use plastic pipe and push fit - all those little O rings to perish and leak in years to come. I'm in a minority though! I did use pushfit in the garage plumbing, as it's all exposed and plastic is better at surviving pipes freezing - I have to admit it is incredibly easy stuff to use.

Flyfisher
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Re: Leaded glass panels

Post by Flyfisher » Tue 23rd Jun, 2020 1:46 pm

I don't see why a DG unit couldn't be taken apart if necessary.

I know what you mean about DG failures but we have one DG window that has been here since the 1970s (a big ugly thing from the outside but gives a great view over the garden from the inside) and there's not a trace of internal condensation. I've always thought that internal condensation was the sign of DG failure (in a previous house we had a conservatory with about 50% failed DG panels) but perhaps they can fail without internal condensation building up? I find it hard to believe a 1970s DG unit hasn't failed but if it has then I can't explain the lack of condensation. Or perhaps it really hasn't failed? How else could I tell?

I'm with you on plastic plumbing and much prefer soldered copper joints. Having said that, Ive also used plastic pipe and push-fit connections for some temporary plumbing soon after we moved here . . . you know, the sort of 'temporary' that is still there after 13 years . . . and it hasn't been a problem. So perhaps it's better than my prejudice allows for.

As for freezing, I did have a leak one winter with an attic pushfit connection where the joint was simply pushed apart by the frozen water rather than actually damaged. That was a genuinely temporary fitting, long since replaced with a new length of MDPE water pipe. The annoying thing was that I was fully aware of the freezing risk so had turned off the water to that pipe and drained it at the toilet cistern it was supplying. My mistake was not to put a big red 'NO' notice on the stopcock to warn everyone else in the house NOT to turn it back on (don't ask!). :roll:

malcolm
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Re: Leaded glass panels

Post by malcolm » Sat 27th Jun, 2020 3:29 pm

I was offered the option to retain my original leaded glass within double glazing. I didn't like the idea. It's the faceted appearance of leaded glass that makes it special - the light reflects in all directions as you walk by outside. From inside it doesn't matter - you don't see the reflections from inside during the daytime.

I would hate to have a boring sheet of glass outside. I like the beauty and also it feels like a statement. "My windows are 100 years old, how old are the latest replacement set of uPVC windows in your house?". Secondary glazing is especially suited to older leaded glass as the air gap has a little ventilation which should reduce the risk of condensation.

For energy efficiency (and from memory) a secondary glazed window is twice as good as a single glazed window and brings it up to the standard of soaking wet 9 inch brick walls. Given that wall area is much larger it would be better to focus on walls rather than waste any more resources on making windows last less long.
Last edited by malcolm on Sat 27th Jun, 2020 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

malcolm
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Re: Leaded glass panels

Post by malcolm » Sat 27th Jun, 2020 3:47 pm

For supporting leaded glass the traditional way is to set 3/8 inch square steel bars (glazing bars) into the window frame with 12 inch spacing between the bars, then solder thick wire to the leaded glass and tie the wire around the bar for support when you install the windows. A bit like this photo but with less paint:

Image

Gothichome
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Re: Leaded glass panels

Post by Gothichome » Sun 28th Jun, 2020 11:48 am

Malcolm, thanks for the input. I certainly hope my bars aren’t that thick. These windows will be very tall but also very narrow so I think the long term issue will be the vertical loading rather than sagging in or out. I will leave those solution to the glass artist. Buy the way here I are the doors the panels will be going into. Sheltered well from the weather but exposed to heavy wind gusts at times.
Image

MatthewC
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Re: Leaded glass panels

Post by MatthewC » Wed 1st Jul, 2020 4:38 pm

Gothichome wrote:
Sun 28th Jun, 2020 11:48 am
Malcolm, thanks for the input. I certainly hope my bars aren’t that thick. These windows will be very tall but also very narrow so I think the long term issue will be the vertical loading rather than sagging in or out. I will leave those solution to the glass artist. Buy the way here I are the doors the panels will be going into. Sheltered well from the weather but exposed to heavy wind gusts at times.
The point that malcolm made about glazing bars with wire soldered to them is that they do take some of the vertical load, which is why they are that thickness. As you say, rely on the artist!

On an earlier point, the church here has leaded windows in the clerestory (the high windows in the nave) and you don't get much more exposed than that. They were replacements in 1960 and developed a few little leaks (streaks down the cill) a few years ago which were fixed by gently pressing the lead back into place.

Gothichome
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Re: Leaded glass panels

Post by Gothichome » Sat 11th Jul, 2020 1:53 pm

Matthew thanks for the input. I understand that the came to glass gets sealed with a compound that gets rubbed in. Hoping it will be the only long term maintenance that will need doing in a few decades.

Flyfisher
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Re: Leaded glass panels

Post by Flyfisher » Sat 11th Jul, 2020 2:20 pm

Yes, the lead-glass gaps should be filled with a ‘cement’ compound to ensure the panel is completely weather-tight.

https://youtu.be/aE6S-DEIXYg

MatthewC
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Re: Leaded glass panels

Post by MatthewC » Sun 12th Jul, 2020 11:49 am

Flyfisher wrote:
Sat 11th Jul, 2020 2:20 pm
Yes, the lead-glass gaps should be filled with a ‘cement’ compound to ensure the panel is completely weather-tight.
I think the issue is that, if the glass is exposed to sun and weather, then the compound can fall out over time. The south facing windows were re-leaded in the early 60s but, as I said, we had a few tiny streaks inside on the cills and I fixed them by pressing the lead closer to the glass.

Flyfisher
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Re: Leaded glass panels

Post by Flyfisher » Sun 12th Jul, 2020 12:08 pm

I’m sure the ‘cement’ could degrade over time, like most things really, and would need some maintenance over a period of decade and for a properly weatherproof seal it should be replaced and is not too difficult, especially if it’s just a small section. Pressing the lead came against the glass will certainly ‘tighten up’ the glass pieces but will not create a weatherproof seal. Maybe not so important if the panel is in a sheltered position but if exposed then water will definitely creep in over time.

malcolm
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Re: Leaded glass panels

Post by malcolm » Sun 12th Jul, 2020 8:51 pm

The leaded bedroom window that had a new edge and lead ties also had some compound rubbed in for sealing. Downstairs ones haven't been done for 100 years. They are draughty but don't water in. I'm planning to use the draughts to ventilate the secondary glazing

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