Prioritizing Stained Glass Window Restoration When Budgets Are Tight in Kansas CityMartin Faith
For churches, museums, and historic buildings in Kansas City containing valuable antique stained glass windows, limited budgets often force institutions to strategically prioritize necessary restoration repairs. With thoughtful assessment of damage and considerations of severity, restoration can be carefully staged over multiple phases as funding allows.
Evaluate Damage Severity
The first step is thoroughly surveying all stained glass windows to categorize and document each issue in detail based on severity. For example, sections containing shattered or missing glass segments present immediate safety risks to occupancy and surrounds. These require urgent stabilization versus areas with cloudy finishes that only affect outward aesthetics. Compile documentation noting damage locations, sizes, photographs, probable causes, and other specifics to inform priority considerations.
Prioritize Structural Stabilization and Safety
Repairs that stabilize core structural deficiencies and prevent incremental collateral damage warrant the highest priority focus, especially when safety is jeopardized. Sagging crossbars, cracked or bowing tracery pieces, and corroded anchors that threaten catastrophic collapse if left unaddressed jeopardize everything. Rapidly stabilize these urgent structural risks first before smaller items.
Quickly Address Any Sources of Water Infiltration
Areas allowing water infiltration behind panels or into window frames can cause rapid and exponential deterioration of surrounding wood, metals, paints and other materials if left unchecked. Finding and fixing defective exterior seals, cracked glass, deteriorated glazing, and other vulnerabilities that compromise weather-tightness is critical to preventing escalating collateral damage across the window and interior walls.
Replace Any Missing or Broken Glass Segments
Broken, cracked or missing individual glass pieces compromise the window’s overall weather-proofing and stability while enabling the elements, pests, and pollutants to progressively infiltrate the interior over time. Carefully replacing damaged segments or missing panes helps contain damage to the isolated area until full restoration. Be sure to source replacement glass that precisely matches the original hues, opacity, and texture.
Repair Protective Systems
Closely inspect window frames, architectural surrounds, glazing seals and compounds, ventilation mechanisms, and other physical defenses ensuring the stained glass windows’ ongoing structural stability and protection from weathering. Repair identified deficiencies such as areas of rotted wood, failed sealants, eroded mortar, and absent vent screens as soon as possible to maintain a sound barrier against deterioration.
Restore Window Framing and Overall Structural Supports
Over the decades, building shifting, vibration, and aging inevitably weaken the window framing as well as stained glass panel support systems. Restoring these structural elements helps properly re-stabilize and securely fasten the irreplaceable glass for the long term. Use historically appropriate materials and techniques when possible for ideal authenticity and performance.
Clean Exterior Glass and Improve Water Shedding
When budgets allow, gently cleaning accumulated environmental deposits, paint, and debris from the exterior glass helps restore the windows’ visual light brilliance and clarity without defects. Also improving exterior water shedding capabilities with new metal flashing prevents water from overflowing the tops of frames and penetrating crevices. However, avoid irreversible aesthetic treatments until structural restoration is complete.
Restore Finishes, Glazing, Colors Last
Lower priority aesthetic repairs like restoring darkened or patinated lead came lines, renewing aged protective finishes on supports, and cleaning or replacing individual cloudy panes of glass come last when funds allow. While important for visual integrity and building heritage, first ensure the windows’ physical wellbeing and performance. Contact Kansas City Stained Glass to prioritize your restoration.