How to Restore Stained Glass

Stained glass windows are truly, truly stunning, and when restored, can bathe rooms in a gorgeous colourful glow which means that there’s little need for artwork. They are incredibly expensive to replace, however, as the glass would need to be cut exactly to size and painted in order to match the other pieces – plus, re-leading and re-arranging the glass all takes a lot of time, patience and manpower, which is why it’s best to restore if at all possible. Generally, you can do a lot of the restoration work yourself as it tends to just require a good cleaning, and possibly a re-painting of the glass (if your contractor/the council agrees that this is appropriate). If you’re unsure, contact a glazing specialist or builder here.


First things first, pull on a pair of gloves, and grab yourself a bucket of warm soapy water and a toothbrush. If the windows are very fragile, gently brush them over with a charmois cloth to get rid of any bits of dirt or debris. If they’re pretty sturdy, give them a brush with a wooden bristle brush. Even better, get your vacuum attachment up there to get rid of cobwebs etc.

Next, working section by section, gently scrub away at the glass using your toothbrush and soapy water. Work in circular motions and don’t expect all of the dirt to come away at once, especially if it’s a particularly old house. Do one layer, rinse, dry, and then repeat. It’s pain-staking work but it’ll be worth it in the end.

If your building contractor/glazer/local council agrees that you can restore the windows by using glass paints, take them up on the offer. It’ll brighten the colours of the window instantly and is a fantastic quick fix, especially if you don’t have the budget to replace any of the glass.

If the leadwork is broken or simply not in the best of conditions, again, it can be repaired rather than replaced entirely. You’ll probably need the help of a glazing specialist for this. Make sure that the glass is supported before removing the broken leadwork. Once removed, this can then be repaired by gluing new leadwork into the broken gaps, or by melting new metal (depending on the source material) along any broken pieces to act like a super-strong glue, holding everything together. Once repaired, the leadwork will have to dry and settle completely. This may be done with the glasswork still in situ, which could mean that you have to be extra careful not to get any metal or glue onto the glass itself. Generally, though, you should be okay – you can use cardboard shields to protect the glass.

Source: Love Home