What Is The Leadlight Restoration Process?
For many who have invested in a period home, one of their favourite features is the leadlights panels that decorate their leadlight windows and doors. Because the original panels are often quite old, it is not uncommon for them to become damaged or to deteriorate due to age and weathering. If this describes a situation that you have found yourself in, you might be interested in learning more about the leadlight restoration process.
Step 1 – The contractor will begin by coming out to your home to view the leadlight panel in question. They will need to assess the damage in order to determine the best way to rectify it. At this point, they will also be able to provide you with a quote for the works.
Step 2 – One another day, the contractor will return to your home. The leadlight will be carefully removed from its frame and a replacement pane of glass or timber board will be put in its place – after all, you want to ensure that your home remains safe and secure whilst works take place!
Step 3 – The leadlight is taken back to the studio where repairs begin. The contractor will begin by drawing a paper template of the design. This will function as a guided map for each piece of glass, ensuring that they are all returned to the correct place within the frame.
Step 4 – The lead that surrounds each piece of glass is then carefully removed, piece by piece. This must be completed with extreme care to avoid causing further damage. As it is freed, each piece of glass is placed in a mild acid bath to remove any dirt, paint or grime build up it has accumulated.
Step 5 – Once the leadlight pieces have been cleaned, they are laid back out in the original design (this is where the paper template comes into play). At this stage, damaged or broken pieces of glass are replaced. Your contractor will match the glass either perfectly or as closely as possible.
Step 6 – Now the border, which surrounds the entire leadlight, is replaced. The contractor will then begin moulding the lead into the shape of each piece of glass and locking it into place with horseshoe nails. Once the panel is fully reconstructed, the corners will be squared up and locked in.
Step 7 – The joins are prepared for soldering, which is done using flux that binds the solder to the lead. Once the join is heated, solder is melted onto it, bonding and welding it together. This procedure is undertaken on every join in the leadlight, both front and back, until the panel is complete.
Step 8 – Putty is pushed between the lead and glass. This makes the panel more ridged, as well as stopping the glass from rattling and making it weatherproof. Excess putty is removed and the leadlight is left to dry. The panel is hand polished and returned to your home.
Whilst the leadlight restoration process may sound daunting to begin with, we hope that this article has allayed your fears a little. There will be a little cost involved (but rest assured that no work will be undertaken until you have agreed to the price), the end result will be a leadlight panel that looks just as it would have done when first crafted. We are sure that it will continue to serve your home for hundreds of years into the future.