If your home is fortunate enough to be fitted with leadlight windows, you are surely aware of the fact that they are quite delicate and vulnerable to damage or deterioration. To ensure that your windows are offered maximum protection and that they will serve you for many years to come, it is important that you have established a preventative maintenance program. You might also want to consider the installation of some physical form of protection.
What causes damage?
Firstly, it is important to be aware of what can actually damage or corrode your leadlight windows. It should be noted that damage to the surrounding area can also cause problems for the glass. The list includes:
- Ultraviolet rays from the sun;
- Extreme weather events;
- Pollution and environmental factors;
- Pests and vermin;
- Dirt and windborne debris;
- Accidental damage and vandalism; and
- Wood rot.
How can we avoid damage?
There are a number of ways that you can work towards preventing damage from occurring. Your windows should be cleaned regularly using a special cleaning agent (that has been specifically designed for leadlights) and a soft cloth. A deep clean should also be performed on occasion, but this should only be handled by a professional. You should also ensure that the frames receive regular maintenance, such as cleaning and repainting.
Every now and then, you may come to the conclusion that the windows require restoration, reconstruction or even modification. These sorts of tasks should also only be handled by a professional. When choosing a professional, it is vital to ensure that they are covered by liability insurance and are able to supply references (samples of past work are also beneficial). This will help to lessen the possibility of the restoration, reconstruction or modification going wrong.
How can we protect them?
You have a number of options for further protecting your leadlight windows against damage. These coatings can be applied over the top of or in front of the glass to further protect it. The list includes:
- Wire mesh (which will provide protection against accidents and vandalism);
- Polycarbonate glazing (which can help to prolong the life of leadlights, but can degrade or scratch over time);
- Laminated glass (which contains an inner layer of PVB to prevent shattering by keeping the glass bonded);
- Tempered glass (which is toughened via thermal or chemical treatments to make it harder to break); and
- Float glass (which is solidified on the surface of a higher-density liquid to improve its hardness).
Any sort of protective coating that is applied to leadlight windows needs to fit with the style and shape of the windows. You also need to ensure the installation of an adequate ventilation system, as this will help to prevent condensation and heat build-up between the protective layer and the leadlight. We hope that the maintenance and protection instructions provided above have given you plenty of ways to prolong the life of your windows and keep them looking their best.