FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. How can we be sure that our new windows will turn out the way we want them to?

Our designs are properly rendered on large printouts so that you can see what they look like prior to installation. Designs are formally approved in writing with a customized budget. For examples of our quality craftsmanship, view our online portfolio. 

2. What can we do about the damage to our beautiful old stained glass windows? The glass has cracked and the glass painting has deteriorated.

Bovard Studio takes care in restoring valuable old stained glass art. We utilize techniques that restore the lost splendor of your windows and preserve them for many generations to come. Contact us for an estimate on window restoration.

3. How can we find out what can be done within our budget? 

You can call us and we will speak with you directly or connect you with one of our nationwide sales representatives. We can provide an estimate with several solutions at different price points. Be prepared with information at hand on the project you envisage. General inquiries can be sent through Our Office page and estimate forms can be found on our Cost Estimates page.

4. How do I approach fundraising for my church's stained glass windows?

If you don't have the funds on hand to purchase stained glass art for your church or other place of worship, you still have options. Some funding strategies that can help you get the stained glass panels, windows, or ceilings you want for your religious space include:

  • A notice in your service bulletin

  • Fundraising announcements at Sunday School or a weeknight service

  • Accepting donations from members of your church or parish and others who want to help

  • Displaying a fundraising poster and allow people the opportunity to donate 

  • Seeking sponsors willing to pay for your religious stained glass. Your sponsor might be an individual, a family, an organization, or a class willing to donate the stained glass art you need for your religious space. In exchange for their generosity, a small bronze plaque commemorating the donation can be displayed near the stained glass art. Or, the donor's name can appear in the artwork itself. 

  • Purchasing one piece of stained glass art and solicit donations to help pay for the rest. Get the first stained glass windows ordered and installed to allow potential donors to see what they are supporting. New pieces of stained glass can be added as funds become available.

  • Applying for a historical preservation grant

5. What is Bovard Studio's Stained Glass full restoration process? 

After a contract for a full restoration or relead is received:

  1. Removal: A field crew is scheduled for window removal.

  2. Once on site, the crew will set up access to the window. Usually this includes scaffolding, ladders, or a man lift.

  3. If an exterior removal, protective covering will be removed. If an interior removal, the crew will protect surrounding surfaces with plastic and drop cloths.

  4. A HEPA filter will be used nearby to remove dust and contaminants that may be generated during the removal process.

  5. With personal protective equipment, the crew will begin the process of window removal.

  6. The removal technique will vary depending on the type of frame, and method of glazing. It may involve removal of stops, glazing putty, sashes, or mortar to free the window from the opening.

  7. Windows in very poor condition will be stabilized with conservation tape prior to removal.

  8. Transport: Once removed, windows are carefully packed in a foam lined wooden crate for shipment, usually in our own enclosed trailers.

  9. After the window arrives at the studio, it is unpacked and documented.

  10. Documentation: Windows will be photographed for documentation. A restoration project book is then created outlining specific guidelines for restoring individual projects. This book includes all information the craftsman will require, such s glass replacement samples and quality control approval sheets.

  11. Disassembly: Two rubbings are made on paper with hard wax or graphite. Notes are made on the rubbing about texture, lead sizes, direction, repairs and measurements.  Windows with stable paint are then placed into a shallow water table for underwater disassembly. The water limits the lead exposure to the craftsperson, softend the cement, and helps clean the glass. The old lead came is removed and placed in secure toxic waste barrels for recycling. 

  12. Disassembled stained glass pieces are then dried and placed on one of the rubbings exactly as removed from the original window.

  13. Assembly: Building stops are secured onto one corner of the build rubbing. A lead H channel called “came” is placed into the build corner first, then glass, then came and so on until the panel is complete.

  14. Soldering: The exposed joints at the Came intersections are then soldered on one side of the panel, using an electric soldering iron and then it is turned over and soldered on the opposite side.

  15. Cementing: After inspection, the panel goes to Post-Production where it is waterproofed with a compound called “cement”. This compound is is mixed to a thin, cake batter consistency and forced under the lead flanges with a brush on both sides. The excess is then brushed off and powdered whiting is dusted over the panel to soak up excess cement compound.  After a few minutes, it is brushed off again and set to cure. Next, the came edges are picked clean until no residue is left on the surface. Following another round of curing, the panel is placed on the table for the addition of reinforcement bars. Once the bar is attached and cleaned again, it is carefully crated for transportation and re-installation by the field crew.

  16.  Installation: Again the field crew is scheduled to reinstall the restored window and the first task is to set up access to the window. Once set up, any board up is removed and the opening frame is prepared, cleaned and often restored before the stained glass is reinstalled. When installed, the glass is fully supported and secured by the surrounding frame with stops or anchors, glazing compound or sealants depending on the specifications required. Reinforcement bars have been notched for allowance and steel “T” bars are often used to divide sections of stained glass for long term durability. The exterior frame is then finish coated if required and the window goes through a final cleaning.

  17. Protection: After window installation, the restored stained glass is protected by another applied storm window.  This protective covering has it’s own specially designed and vented frame which supports and secures the glazing material which is sealed from water infiltration.  Some installations demand impact resistance, clarity durability, and in some cases hurricane resistance.

  18. Completion:  The access structure or equipment is then dismantled and removed from the work site. The work site is then cleaned, often better than found. Finally, the customer inspects and reviews the completed work.

Our process as out lined above can be viewed on the Science Channel's “How It’s Made”  Program.

4. What causes bulging?

As some stained glass windows age, the flat surface deflects, a condition that is commonly referred to as bulging. This can be a symptom of significant structural failure.

As the stained glass window expands and contracts over time, the stained glass panel can break away from its steel reinforcing system. The expansion and contraction cycle also causes the glazing cement, a major structural as well as weatherproofing component of the stained glass window, to loosen weakening the window. As the stained glass panel weakens and breaks away from its steel reinforcing system it begins to sag resulting in bulges. (Note: Some stained glass window designs are more prone to bulging than others.)

Temperature changes are what cause expansion and contraction cycles in all building materials including stained glass windows. Heat from solar gain is trapped between unvented, improperly designed protective covering and the stained glass window. Stained glass efficiently absorbs the sun's energy causing solar gain to be trapped between the stained glass and protective covering. This is a major cause of accelerated deterioration in stained glass windows resulting in premature bulging in stained glass windows.

In the case of serious deflection of a stained glass window, the stained glass will crack and eventually even pop out of the lead came.

5. Why does the protective covering currently on our windows discolor so severely and rapidly?

The type of protective covering that you are referring to is polycarbonate, which yellows from ultraviolet (UV) light. Polycarbonate is much softer than glass and windblown dust can cause microscopic scratching on the surface which causes the surface to haze over time. The combination of yellowing and hazing results in severe discoloration in simple polycarbonate. Most plastic protective coverings placed on church windows up through the 1980's are simple polycarbonate. Due to this problem, General Electric developed Extended Life Lexan® (Lexan XL-10), a type of polycarbonate resistant to yellowing and hazing. Lexan XL-10 has a coating of acrylic, a material that is significantly harder than polycarbonate and also blocks UV light on its exterior surface. Bovard Studio offers Lexan® and an equivalent long-lasting polycarbonate that greatly reduce the yellowing and hazing problem.