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Stained Glass Repair Cost

Stained Glass Repair Cost

National average
$500
(cleaning, repairing minor cracks, tightening cames, and replacing the cement of a 12 x 24-inch window)
Low: $300

(cleaning and replacing the cement)

High: $5,000

(cleaning, replacing several broken pieces, releading)

Cost to repair stained glass varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from local contractors in your city.

The average cost of repairing stained glass is $500.

In this guide

Common problems
Cost factors
Labor
Maintenance
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQ

How much does it cost to repair stained glass?

Stained glass windows add value, beauty, and privacy to a home. Stained glass comes in many forms and can be made from several different materials. But because all stained glass panels are pieced together from several small pieces of glass held with either lead or a lead-zinc mixture, the panels can deteriorate over time.

Most homeowners who have a stained glass window repaired spend around $500 on moderate repairs and recementing of a 12 x 24-inch window.

Common problems

The term stained glass is a fairly general one. A stained glass window is some form of colored glass held together by lead 1 came strips. But the pattern, number of pieces of glass, and the type of glass vary enormously. The material the cames are made from also varies. They can be traditional lead 1, zinc, colored zinc, a mixture of lead 1 and zinc, or even brass or copper.

The glass itself may be painted, which may be applied cold or baked on. The glass may also be true colored glass with the color embedded in the material or applied with foils. So before repairing a stained glass window, the restorer must first examine it to determine what the window is made from in order to determine how to proceed. Keep in mind that some types of glass and cames may be more costly to repair than others. Likewise, the size of the glass pieces, shape, and position influence the repair as well as the problem that your window has.

Therefore, repair costs can only be a general estimate until you have your window examined to determine the issue, makeup, and the best method for fixing it.

For some problems, the entire piece may require repairing even when only a small area seems affected. For example, broken cames in one area means replacing all the cames or releading the entire piece. Replacing only the damaged area puts stress on the rest of the glass, potentially resulting in more damage.

ProblemPotential solutionCost
Chipped or cracked glass

Replace the affected section

Use a filler of film to seal the crack

$50-$300
“Faded” glass or glass missing the foil

Replace the affected section

Use a color or paint to replace the color

$50-$300
Damaged glass paint

Replace the glass

Use a color or paint to replace the affected area

$50-$300
Water leakageReplace the waterproofing$100-$500
Missing cementReplace the cement$100-$500
Panel separation from the frameReplace the frame$100-$500
Damaged frameReplace the frame$100-$500
Failed or missing sealantReplace the sealant$100-$500
Yellowing of the protective glass

Clean the glass

Replace the protective glass

$100-$500
Missing or damaged camesReplace the cames$300-$3,000
Broken solder jointsResolder the joint$500-$1,000
Bulging or sagging glass

Flatten the glass and tighten the cames

Replace the cames

$500-$3,000
Detached reinforcement bars 2Replace the bars$500-$3,000


Cost factors

Many things impact the cost of this project. The problem you are addressing is only one small part of the repair. Sometimes, it is mostly time that accounts for the cost, such as for cleaning and reassembly. Other times, it may be because a replacement piece is needed. If that piece is complex in shape or difficult to reach within the panel, a majority of the window may need to be disassembled and reassembled to replace one piece.

The materials themselves also influence costs. Lead cames have a different price than zinc ones. Some glass colors may be more costly than others. For example, a piece of cobalt-colored glass may have a different price than the same size and shape of a gold-colored piece.

Foiled or painted glass has a different cost than glass that has been infused with the color prior to forming. The age of the piece affects the repair cost because some older pieces may be more difficult to work with or require more specialized repair. The complexity of the design, as well as the texture of the pieces, may also have an impact.

This is why most glass restorers take the time to photograph your window and examine it closely before providing a final cost for the project. Too many variables are involved for a quick price quote.

Labor

When dealing with stained glass, work with a stained glass artisan or restorer. These people work exclusively with these materials and understand the details involved.

Most glass artisans charge for repairs by the hour rather than by the job or square foot. Costs per hour begin at around $50, but for some very complex or antique glass windows, the costs may exceed $100 per hour for repairs. This does not include the cost of any materials needed, such as the glass or a new frame. Costs for individual glass pieces usually start at $30. A stained glass window that requires replacement of multiple pieces of glass as well as releading the cames can approach $10,000 in total costs for large windows like those found in churches.

Some windows can be repaired on site for minor issues, while others need to be taken to the restorer’s shop. If this is the case, there is usually a flat fee for removal, transport, and reinstallation. This fee varies from $50 to $500 or more depending on the size of the window and the distance it needs to travel.

For a small window found in a home measuring 12x24 inches, costs are closer to $500 for the labor of cleaning the glass, tightening loose cames, and replacing the waterproofing cement.

Maintenance

There is very little maintenance that can or should be done to a stained glass window. Typical cleaners can harm the color or discolor the cames, so we recommend cleaning them with a soft cloth using only plain soft or distilled water. In some cases, a protective outer glass is installed, but this is considered controversial because it decreases ventilation and may cause condensation that can harm the glass.

Simply keep an eye on your stained glass, and if you notice water leaks, bowing, sagging, or other minor damage, have it repaired as soon as possible. Damage to these windows can spread if not dealt with in a timely way.

Enhancement and improvement costs

Repainting

If your stained glass window is made of painted glass and you are having it repaired, you may wish to have the glass repainted. This is done at a rate of around $35 to $50 per hour.

Releading

If you have any damaged cames on the window, it is recommended that they all be replaced. Replacing only a few will stress the remaining joints because they will now be different strengths. This leads to the weaker joints putting stress on the glass, which can crack. Therefore, if you have any damaged cames, we recommend releading the entire window. Costs start at $100 an hour for this process.

Additional considerations and costs

  • If the window must be removed for repair, you can do this yourself to save some of the transport fees, but the risk of damage is high. Some minor repairs can be done with the window in place, which eliminates the transport fees.
  • It is important to accurately document the window in its location with drawings and photos prior to removal and repair. This is especially important for historical or antique glass.
  • All stained glass windows deteriorate over the years. Age and time are the two biggest factors that lead to breaking, cracking, sagging, and other issues with leaded glass windows.
  • While lead itself is not considered safe for painted surfaces or children’s toys, it is fine for use in a stained glass window. Lead cames do not shed or produce dust, and provided they are not licked or ingested, there is no safety issue with having a leaded glass window in your home.

FAQ

  • How much does it cost to replace a stained glass window?

Stained glass windows have a wide cost range depending on the style, complexity, material, and size. Costs can range from $50 to $10,000.

  • How do you repair stained glass?

The repair depends on the damage. Cracked or chipped glass can be filled with silicone or replaced, and the cames can be tightened or releaded as necessary.​​

  • Is lead still used in stained glass?

Yes, lead is still used in most types of stained glass with except in prairie-style windows. ​

  • How do you clean old leaded glass windows?

The glass should be cleaned with a soft cloth using only plain soft or distilled water unless it has been tested to see what else it tolerates.​​

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Lead 1 Lead: A naturally occurring heavy metal that is highly toxic to humans, and has been used in paint, gasoline, piping, and other applications
glossary term picture Rebar 2 Reinforcement bars: A mesh or bar made of alloy, used in construction projects to reinforce concrete

Cost to repair stained glass varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Blue and green stained glass window next to a lamp

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Athens, GA
-9%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
Labor cost in your zip code
Last modified:   
Methodology and sources