More design content under development
There are many examples of bespoke designs we have made, and traditional designs we have rebuilt in our gallery pages, which tend to be organised by the shape of the opening to be glazed and on our Instagrams:
Somerset and London.
Are there Regulatory issues relating to stained glass?
Building Regulations and/or listed building consent may affect your project, and therefore the design process. Be clear on your obligations. If you are simple replacing exiting glass you are unliley to be affected.
Regulations (https://www.planningportal.co.uk/info/200128/building_control) apply to various aspects of building work, including new glazing. New windows
and doors (essentially when the framework attached to the fabric of the building is replaced along with the casements, door etc) in outside walls are controlled by Building Regulations for (amongst other things) thermal efficiency, and
so need (along with thermally efficient framing etc) to be fitted with insulated glass units, suitably installed – they need to be (at least) double glazed. There are also requirements for safety and performance of windows and doors
in certain locations, covering 'means of escape', glass breakage, fire resistance and burgulary security. A regular timber door set into a timber frame is very unlikely to meet the requirements, even if its double glazed, and in any case
a double-glazed unit may be too thick to set into a normal timber door.
Listed building have their own issues. We aim to be fully compliant with all regulatory requirements. Listed buildings are not
outside the scope of Building Regulations (https://historicengland.org.uk/advice/hpg/compliantworks/buildingregs/). Take advice from the relevant
Local Authority Officer (Buildings Inspector/Contol Officer, Historic Buildings Officer... For larger projects you might consider appointing your own approved Officer.
Strength, protection and security
Its glass - it breaks when you hit it. Will your installation have any security issues? It's only practical to use toughed glass in stained glass and leaded lights when the individual pieces are quite large, and in regular (4mm thick) glass, which in any case isn’t made in any interesting colours or textures.
The weight and flexibility of the panel mean that unless it is well supported it will sag and bow - even quite small panels have this tendency. To overcome this, and generally add strength, external and internal reinforcement may be used. Visible support bars tied to the lead with copper wires are a typical feature of installed stained glass – and sometimes they need to cut across the pattern (though we aim to hide them behind the lead) but the eye tends to tune out these interruptions.
Its common, and good practice for security and enhanced durability to install behind a sheet of laminated (or maybe toughened) glass. This may be seen as detracting from the appearance of the design. The protective pane is set to the outside to be effective.
Internal panels and Fanlights
Apart for the issue of lighting, large internal panels in busy areas may be subject to breakage risk, and may need protective safety glass panes on at least one side.
Fanlights and other Internal panes have often been glazed with 'wire-cast' glass - usually as part of a system to arrest the spread of fire. These should not be casually replaced. Stained glass has no fire resistance unless properly installed with modern clear fire check glass.
Stained glass looks good when there is light behind it – viewed by transmitted light. It’s not like a painting or photograph which usually needs light shining on it - viewed with reflected light. This can pose issues for stained glass located within a building – e.g. a fanlight over an internal door, so the design (and maybe new lighting) needs to take account of this. The nature of stained glass (think church) is it looks best with the light behind it - usually viewed from inside the building looking out. One of the appeal of stained glass is it changing appearance with the light and the coloured shadows it can cast of walls and floors.
We like borders - any stress at the edges of the panel (from door slamming etc) leading to cracking is then usually limited to the border pieces, so might even be overlooked.
Apart from delimiting the design, the border may give the appearance of the panel being suspended in the space, and this can work particularly well with a double border – the outermost in uncoloured glass, and the inner coloured
There are various options with how corners are dealt with, and this should not be overlooked.
A pane made up from a few large pieces of glass will generally be less robust than one of the same size made up from more pieces. The number of pieces in the design will be a contributing factor to cost. Typical ‘high’ Victorian style panels tend to have a lot of small pieces of glass.
For some images of the materials mentioned below see our materials page
Art and coloured glass
A very wide variety of 'art' glass is made today, mostly in the US, China, and Poland. There is some top-quality material made in France, Germany and some in England. Very little ‘regular’ art glass is made here. Normal glass from glass merchants tends to be less suitable for leaded lights.
There are many different colours and textures - and we can source most of the available material from our suppliers. We keep certain kinds that we tend to use of a regular basis. The costs of the glass varies considerably with type, and some of the more spectacular handmade material is really quite costly.
Plain glass for leaded lights
As well as 3 and 4mm thick ‘float’ window glass from glass merchants, there are a number of other options when trying to achieve the appearance of glass in old leaded lights. There are ‘restoration’ quality glasses – in plain and tinted glass – both in rolled and mouth blown qualities - which tend to be quite costly.
Float glass is cheap, very flat and regular with no imperfections, so arguable, look too ‘prefect’ to be old.
We will often use a combination of low cost drawn sheet glass (when available), which is less ‘prefect’ than float, along with an expensive hand-made glass – which has ‘movement’ and ‘seeds’. This provides (we think) a more authentic look at a reasonable cost.
There is scope to use different widths and profile of lead in a single pattern, and we commonly use 5, 6, 8, 10 and 12mm wide, in both 'round' and flat profiles
Roundels, jewels, lenses
These are various, often circular small feature pieces which may be included in designs...most commonly roundels- usually in coloured glass, and like the foot of a wine glass with the stem snapped off.
More design content under development.