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Updated Jan 2013
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South London Stained Glass FAQs

What’s the difference between ‘stained glass’ and a ‘leaded-light’?
Stained glass – has the decorative details – faces, flowers, scrolls, lettering etc fused onto the glass pieces making up the design after having been applied by brush.
A leaded light has no painted details – its made up of pieces of uncoloured or coloured glass – where the colour is integral to the glass.
In both stained glass and leaded lights the individual glass pieces are held together in the lead matrix (lead ‘cames’ with the joints soldered) and made rigid and waterproof by applying ‘cement’ – a black putty-like compound.
Much of what we do are leaded-lights, tho stained glass is the most commonly used term.

Do you install stained glass?
Yes – we fit (and remove the old glass, if relevant) most of our own work. 

Will you just supply stained glass and leaded lights and not fit?
Yes - and we have quite comprehensive instruction available to our self-fit customers.  However installing stained glass and leaded lights successfully is not like fitting regular glass, and its not uncommon for self-fitters to break the panels they try to fit.

How long does it take?
For a new piece, it usually takes around 2 weeks from when the design is agreed and the coloured glass chosen, to being ready to fit – thats if we have no backlog of work – so generally allow around 4 weeks.

What determines the cost?
Generally the cost of the materials, design and installation costs are similar for most designs (related to the size).  The more complex a panel is – in terms of shapes, and particularly the number of individual pieces of glass that have to be cut and assembled, the greater the cost.

What can be done to increase security?
Installation of leaded panels behind laminated safety glass affords much greater security, since it is almost impossible to penetrate.  It also provides protection to the leaded panel, particularly for busy households. If installed on the outside – providing maximum deterrent factor, the outer sheet of glass means that the external appearance particularly in daylight is different to an unprotected panel due to reflections.

Will repairs be noticeable?
We will try to match the new glass to the existing as closely as possible – but precise matches may not be possible – either in texture or colour.  New lead may have a slightly different profile to the original, and will have a more uniform satin dark grey finish, different to the patina of the old lead.

Can damaged stained glass be repaired without removal?
If there are one or two minor cracks in an otherwise perfect panel that is well fitted, then consider leaving them alone.  Cracked pieces may sometime be replaced in-situ, provided the panel is accessible and in otherwise good (ie its not bowed, and the glass isn’t loose in the lead) condition, although the manipulation of the lead may be visible.

If it can’t be repaired in situ what’s the alternative?
If the panel is so damaged that it can’t be fixed in place, we remove it, board over the opening for security, disassemble the glass from the lead, and wash to glass.  We then cut new glass to replace the broken or lost pieces, and rebuild the panel with new lead in the traditional way.  It’s then refitted in the opening, often with new steel support bars.

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