How to Maintain your Stained Glass Window

If you are a proud new owner of a custom stained glass window, you might be surprised to find out that there are very specific ways to maintain your window and keep it in pristine condition for years and years.

Here are six tips to maintain your stained glass window:

1. Schedule monthly routine maintenance and inspection.

Stained glass can deteriorate quickly if not maintained properly. This can result in a loss of artistic or historical value of the art piece. A stained glass window needs to be preserved well, and it requires different care than a regular glass window. Every month, you need to inspect the frames, caulk, cement, and glass for any weak points.

2. Hire a professional stained glass studio for yearly inspections.

A professional stained glass studio should be hired to come and inspect the panel for any problems with the paint, putty, and caulk. The actual glass in the window should be carefully investigated every five years. In addition to yearly “checkups,” you should call your professional studio if you see any visible signs of deterioration, like bowing, space in the lead, broken wire ties, or failing frames or support. Any hands-on maintenance should be conducted by professionals due to the hazards of handling lead.

stained glass maintenance

3. Replace missing or loose putty as needed.

If you notice cracking or flaking putty on the outer edges of the window, quickly replace the putty and paint over it to extend the life. Keep replacement putty on hand for a quick repair.

wood frame water damage

4. Check wooden frames often for moisture intrusion.

If the wood frames are not maintained properly, water can seep into the wood and damage the stability of the entire art piece. Moisture sealant and paint should be used to keep the wood from failing. If the wooden frame malfunctions, it could endanger the window as well.

5. Clean glass as needed.

Your glass piece does not need to be routinely cleaned like a regular window. Take great care when cleaning the glass surfaces. If the stained glass becomes dirty or dusty or has a growing buildup of residue, you can gently clean the glass with distilled water and a soft cloth. If the window is hand-painted, verify that the paint has been fired into the glass before cleaning, or you might risk damaging the artwork. A stained glass window can be professionally taken apart and cleaned by a stained glass studio during restoration.

6. Touch up loose or missing glazing between lead and glass.

The waterproofing compound that cements the glass and lead together is sometimes called glazing. If the compound begins to deteriorate, the glazing can be touched up by hand into areas and gaps between the lead and glass by applying fresh glazing compound into areas where the glazing has deteriorated. Do not apply fresh glazing until all broken and loose putty particles have been removed.

Glass art is a beautiful addition to any building or church, but it needs to be treated as an art piece and not as a regular exterior window. Stained glass requires careful maintenance and upkeep to sustain the artwork for many, many years. Please contact your trusted professional stained glass studio for more information. You can contact us if you have specific questions about maintaining your stained glass window. Check out our restoration portfolio page for some completed restoration jobs.

Stanton Studios is accredited by the Stained Glass Association of America in historical preservation and restoration of stained glass windows.

Stained glass window restoration
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