I act as a consultant to a traditional window frame restorer. The other week I was called out after a variety of alternatives were offered to the householder. The householder wanted to keep the leaded glass which dates from the 1920's. It turns out that such radically different alternatives had been offered that an independent assessment of the windows was wanted. As a service to the restorer, I went out early one evening on my way home.
Upon arrival, I was told that so far she had been offered the options of:
- Replace the lot with a new design. The existing windows are so old that retaining them will be difficult
- Triple glaze. Put the leaded glass inside a double glazing unit
- Replace the lot with a new copy. The reason you need to do this is because the glass has faded and is not as bright now as it was originally.
The glass is a mixture of a lightly tinted textured glass background in which the milky glass that turns amber in strong sunlight and a few streaky colours were combined into a stylised motif. The Stained Glass Overlay man was adamant that his material was superior to the original and was guaranteed for ten years.
Well, of course, I disagreed with all of them. The windows are sound. The ties are all still attached to the glazing bars. No work at all is required, as there are not even cracks in the existing glass.
However some work is required on the door. One of the nine light door panels requires re-leading and most of the others require re-puttying. The others had made no comment on the door at all. Oh, and the sidelights were sound too.
Maybe this illustrates why SGO is a thriving business and I have not yet been able to franchise my business over the world. It also shows the underhand - in my opinion - business practices of some people in the stained glass world. The other two companies do traditional leaded glass as a large element of their businesses.
But for me, the statement "Your glass has faded" now ranks along the statement that "All your leaded glass windows are going to flow until they become a puddle on the sill. You need to have these windows recreated on toughened glass to preserve them."
Somebody needs to preserve the clients from such "unethical" practices.