Protective Covering & Restoration at West Albemarle Baptist Church in Albemarle, NC
In the spring of 2015, Michael A. Laws, president of Laws Stained Glass Studios, Inc. met with the church committee at West Albemarle Baptist Church about the care and restoration of their leaded windows. They had already met with a few other stained glass studios, and they were confused. The recommendations were different from each company, and the prices varied by more than $100,000.
Mr. Laws examined the stained glass windows. The church has beautiful opalescent glass windows made by High Point Art Glass over 50 years ago. (High Point Art Glass made many high quality windows from the 1920s to 1970s, but is no longer in business.) Some of the glass had been replaced, and in a few places the lead was damaged where the glass was changed out. But overall the leaded windows were in good shape. There were no major bulges, and the lead was not corroded. The exterior protective covering which was a polycarbonate, probably Lexan, had yellowed or became opaque. The wood frames on some of the windows had rotted at the bottom, but overall the wood frames were in good shape. The exterior paint on the wood frames had crinkled up and needed to be scraped and re-painted. The putty had became loose in many places and needed replacing.
Mr. Laws did not recommend re-leading or re-cementing the windows. Since they were covered by protective covering, the leaded windows did not need to be waterproof. Many leaded windows will last 75 to 150 years before they need re-leading. These windows had a lot more life in their lead. Mr. Laws did not recommend new window frames, but suggested replacing the few rotten wood with treated lumber. The sides and top of the window frames were in good shape and had lasted over 50 years that way - no need to change them. Mr. Laws recommended new protective covering, 1/4" acrylic Lucite, because it would protect the windows and not turn yellow over time. He recommended removing all the loose putty and re-glazing the leaded windows with polyurethane glazing, which will last longer. He recommended cleaning the inside and outside of the windows and repairing the windows in a few minor areas. He recommended scraping off the loose paint and prime and painting the exterior of the windows.
In the summer of 2015, Laws Stained Glass Studios, Inc. began work on the leaded windows at West Albemarle Baptist Church. The scope of work consisted of:
- Removing the old discolored protective covering
- Remove all loose putty, re-glaze with polyurethane glazing, and paint the glazing
- Scrape off loose paint, prime, and apply one finish coat of paint on the exterior
- Clean the windows on the inside and outside
- Scrape, clean, and paint the concrete sills with concrete paint
- Flash sills with heavy aluminum flashing
- Install new 1/4" Lucite acrylic as protective covering using (1) rows of 1/2" x 1/2" white aluminum stop to hold in place.
- Install vent buttons in the protective covering
- Replace piece of mismatched glass
- Remove all dummy lead lines, clean glass, and caulk crack with clear silicone caulk
- Replace one piece of lead
- Replacing rotten wood.
Pictures below are before the repair & installation of new protective covering
Before installation, rotten sill with chipped paint
Before installation, more rotten wood and chipped paint
Before installation, loose putty & chipped paint
Before installation, more loose putty
Before installation, note the discolored protective covering
Before repair, note the damaged lead where some glass had been replaced previously
After repair, note the replaced leadline by Laws (before soldering)
Note how straight the window is. It has no bulges.
Before repair, note the mismatched glass.
Pictures below are during and after the repair & installation of new protective covering
Exterior view from a distance
Another exterior view
Before repair, note the rotten wood.
Replaced rotten wood, before sealing & painting
Replaced wood ready for painting
Scraped and ready for priming & painting
Primed & painted
New 1/4" Lucite as protective covering with vent buttons
BEFORE repair & restoration
AFTER repair & restoration
Note the "dummy" leadline on the left side
Same window as at left with "dummy" leadline removed