Pros and Cons of Stained Glass Windows


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Stained glass windows are beautiful and personal. They can positively alter mood, increase house values, provide privacy, and create employment. If one pane breaks, the damage is isolated. They are costly and targeted by vandals. They reduce light infiltration and visibility and can limit home renovations.

Pros of Stained Glass WindowsCons of Stained Glass Windows
They are beautifulLight infiltration can be negatively affected
Certain glass colors positively affect your moodRepair and replacement are more difficult
The stained glass windows personalize a homeMore expensive than regular glass
They’re a great alternative to frosted glass for privacySome patterns limit visibility out windows
Cracks can’t spread beyond a small, isolated paneVandals often target stained glass windows
You can take part in preserving or even creating historyThese windows can be more dangerous in a fire
You will help sustain the people employed in the local industryHistorical protection can inhibit house renovations
Can be a great selling point 
The Pros and Cons of Stained Glass Windows

Pros of Stained Glass Windows

They Are Beautiful

We live in a utilitarian world, where one must get up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, go to bed, and rise the next day to rinse and repeat the same cycle every day of our lives.

All of this effort and striving culminates in the ability to pay for a house we spend most of our days away from, a car to drive to and from work in, and food so that we have the energy to perform at work.

This description may seem like an oversimplified and overtly glum view of life, but this is the life people live when art is absent.

For centuries individuals, communities, and even nations have passionately pursued art and beauty as a way of finding meaning; of being more than grim beings determined to survive in a hostile world.

The Stained-Glass Windows of St. Andrew’s Dune Church: Southampton, New York

Why Is Beautiful Artwork a Necessity?

Beauty in life is not a “want”; it is a “need.” It feeds the barrenness of a spirit worn down by the ugly realities of life. Stained glass art brings mindfulness and peace to the hearts and minds of people who are struggling.

Numerous studies have found that the subjective enjoyment of visually pleasing artworks, like stained glass windows, is not limited to a fleeting feeling of pleasure. These aesthetically pleasing works of art produce a long-term, profoundly positive impact on psychological and physical wellbeing.

The positive effects of beautiful art persist beyond the viewing period resulting in:

  1. Decreased stress levels.
  2. Improved memory and learning capacity.
  3. Increased empathy.
  4. Significantly better performance in mindfulness.
  5. A positive upliftment of mood and diminished anxiety.

Stained glass windows transform a house from mundane to magical, as they gift their beauty to both the people living within and people walking past. In their beauty, stained glass windows sing a siren’s song of peace and rest to those who look upon them.

Certain Glass Colors Can Affect Your Mood

Light and color are integral to the experience of stained glass windows. Stained glass windows provide a unique and ever-changing pattern of light as the sun marches across the skies.

Colour Theory: For Beginners

Many people may be surprised to find that the dancing patterns of colored light can induce measurable changes in a person’s mood, physiological responses, and even cognitive performance.

The Welcoming Ambience of Warm Colours

Warm colors such as low-intensity reds and yellows have been found to induce a sense of coziness and a perceptible air of welcome, as presented at the International Joint Conference of Ambient Intelligence.

The uplifting nature of warm colors makes them ideal for people who struggle with feeling depressed and alone. However, excessive use of reds and yellows can lead to feelings of alarm and panic.

The Green-Yellow Spectrum Needs a Delicate Touch

When associated with nature, green has a positive effect related to growth and renewal. However, like red, green must be used with a delicate hand. Overuse of green can be off-putting and make people avoid certain rooms.

The Calming Peace of Blue-Grey Colour Schemes

The impact of light and color do not exist in isolation but have varying effects depending on the interior colors used, the interior room’s layout, and light intensity.

Stained glass windows with cool blue light and greyscale color schemes were preferred when combined with rooms featuring warm natural materials like wood. In contrast, warm colors were chosen in rooms featuring “cold” materials such as slate, concrete, and stone.

Blue light has a calming effect on aggressive individuals, reducing systolic blood pressure, subjective experience of anger, and muscle tension.

The judicious use of stained glass windows featuring specific color patterns will enhance the room’s ambiance, character, and therapeutic effect.  

(Sources: EXCLI Journal; Constructing Ambient Intelligence; Journal Of Current Research In Science; International Journal of Unmanned Systems Engineering)

The Stained Glass Windows Personalize A House

In recent years the aesthetics of home design and architecture have been brought into the spotlight. No longer is a building designed exclusively to serve as a utilitarian structure, but it must also now be a haven of rest and upliftment for those dwelling within.

Coavas Privacy Window Film Stained Glass Window Film Non-Adhesive Frosted Glass Film Decorative Static Cling Window Film for Home UV Blocking/Privacy/Heat Insulation 17.7" x 78.7"

Nothing stamps a building with a swirling air of magic, quite like stained glass windows. Many people associate stained glass windows as outdated and impersonal works of art suited only to historic buildings and places of worship.

However, one need only look at Neile Cooper’s stained glass cabin to realize that stained glass art is a relevant medium of modern artwork.

Transforming a building into a home takes more than throwing a few rugs and decorative cushions around. A home should reflect the family culture and personality of those living within.

Custom or reclaimed stained glass windows provide a unique opportunity to recruit the building’s functional architecture as a display canvas for those living within. Stained glass windows tell a story of whimsical light, color, and fantasy!

Great Alternative to Frosted Glass for Privacy

Privacy is essential, particularly for people living in street-facing houses. It is slightly horrifying to think of strangers peering in as you go about your daily business.

Even in homes with excellent privacy features, certain rooms need a little more privacy than others, i.e., privacy is paramount in bathrooms, bedrooms, and offices.

Stained glass windows acting as privacy screens offer a welcome relief from the standard frosted glass. When using stained glass windows for screening purposes, it is essential to consider the relative transparency and color schemes used in the window’s design.

Haton Privacy Window Film Rainbow Window Covering Stained Glass Film Static Cling Sticker Decal Non-Adhesive Removable Anti-UV Heat Control Sun Block for Home Office, Pebble Pattern, 17.5 x 78.7

People using the bathroom don’t care if they’re adorned in a halo of gorgeous golden light courtesy of the highly transparent yellow stained glass window if they’re still vulnerable to curious eyes!

Opaque faux stained glass windows or textured stained glass windows are the best options where absolute privacy is required. Acrylic stained glass windows and untextured lightly stained glass windows provide minimal screening and are better suited to offices than bathrooms.

Cracks Can’t Spread Beyond A Small Isolated Pane

Minor structural weakness, like small cracks and chips, makes glass vulnerable to mechanical and weather damage.

Have you ever considered why insurance companies are so quick to fix minor cracks and chips in windscreens? Small chips and cracks have an unfortunate and expensive habit of spreading, leading to the catastrophic shattering of the entire window.

The fragmented nature of stained glass windows provides built-in crack protection or at least partial protection. The small individual glass panes exist as discreet entities joined by cement and lead lines.

Thus, if a crack occurs in a single glass pane, it won’t spread to other parts of the window. The spreading spider web of cracks cannot extend past the lead lines, so while you may lose one small pane, the rest of the window is untouched!

You Can Take Part in Preserving or Even Creating History

Stained glass windows are designed to last decades and even centuries. Many well-preserved stained glass artwork can be seen in historical buildings such as churches, old manors, and other places of worship.

Viewing a cultural artifact can create a sense of distance and emotional detachment when perused as a tourist. However, incorporating a reclaimed stained glass window into your home or caring for an existing stained glass window creates a sense of ownership.

History comes alive when it’s made personal to people. Caretakers of historic stained glass windows will develop a greater appreciation for the stained glass window’s silent testament of humankind’s dynamic capabilities and tenacious beauty.

History is not just an impersonal retelling of the past; it also exists in the actions we take today and the legacies we leave for those yet to be born. Commissioning or creating a custom stained glass window is not just about the pleasures gained in this time and age but also how they may benefit future generations.

Stained glass windows embody both the fragility and enduring strength of their human creators. One day, these modern artworks may inspire someone many generations removed to stand up and fight, to live up to their heritage of resilience, and create beauty from ashes.

You Will Help Sustain the People Employed in Local Industry

The creation and maintenance of stained glass windows are dependent on the skills of a small group of dedicated artisans.

The more people who incorporate stained glass windows into their homes, the wider the customer base becomes and the more sustainable the industry is. Artists gift us with extraordinary works of art, but few of them achieve the level of popularity needed to survive off their art-generated income.

Artists will often need to take a second job and thus cannot spend as much time perfecting their craft. As the standard of stained glass windows falls, so does their popularity.

Supporting the stained glass window industry provides a positive upliftment in the art community, providing jobs and preserving the ancient skills of glasswork.

Can Be a Great Selling Point

Real Estate concept on big dollar background

Stained glass windows are a significant determinant in improving house sales. The Scottish Stained Glass Company believes that for every $300 of stained glass investment, the house’s value goes up by $3000.

High-quality stained glass windows are valued at approximately $100 for every square foot when determining a house price, according to a local estate agent.

Houses with street-facing stained glass windows have improved curb appeal. Stained glass’s vibrant, quirky nature is more likely to capture and hold potential buyers’ attention than a row of cookie-cutter houses!

Lastly, house sales are made when the perceived value matches selling prices, i.e., people believe they’re getting a good deal for what they’re paying. The visual appeal of stained glass windows increases a house’s perceived value, making buyers more likely to sign on the dotted line.

Cons of Stained Glass Windows

Light Infiltration Can Be Negatively Affected

Stained glass windows allow colored light through by filtering out specific wavelengths. The more opaque a stained glass window is, the less light that will pass through. Homeowners who thrive in homes with unobstructed sunlight should stay away from stained glass windows.

Overuse of stained glass windows can lead to a clumsy and chaotic experience of light. Stained glass windows should be used discreetly throughout a house to achieve a colorful but not overwhelming effect.

Empty room with stained windows and their reflections on the floor.jpg

Most artists and interior decorators employ a balance of natural and colored light by using stained glass in part of the window or door.

Windows made entirely of stained glass are a dominating presence in any room. These windows should be carefully placed to enhance viewing enjoyment and not accidentally overstimulate the room’s occupants.

Repair and Replacement Is Difficult

Stained glass windows require routine maintenance, and unlike standard glass, you cannot just pop down to the local hardware store and pick out the items you need.

Homeowners who notice cracks, rattling, or color loss in their stained glass windows should call an experienced artisan or preservation expert as soon as possible. These artists have spent years upon years perfecting their skills and, as such, are not the cheapest professionals to employ.

Routine maintenance and regular care are the secrets to avoiding expensive catastrophes and large-scale restoration projects.

More Expensive Than Regular Glass

Stained glass windows are much more expensive than standard annealed glass panes or even tempered glass windows.

However, it is difficult to precisely say how much more expensive stained glass windows are than clear glass windows. Clear glass windows typically cost between $5 to $14 per square foot of glass plus installation costs.

The prices of stained glass windows are more difficult to quantify as they depend on:

  1. The colors used.
  2. The thickness of the glass.
  3. The complexity of the window design.
  4. The artist’s skill and popularity.

Stained glass windows typically cost between $100 to $300 per square foot of completed design, although high-end products have been known to sell for as high as $500 to $1000 per square foot!

Both clear and stained glass window installation prices will vary based on the size, geographic location, and placement of the window.

(Sources: Artistry in Glass; Cumberland Stained Glass; Michigan Stained Glass Windows; Lancaster Paint and Glass)

Some Patterns Limit Visibility out Window

Complex patterns depicted in richly layered color may obscure the view outside; however, this is rarely a significant cause of concern unless security is an issue.

Stained Glass Panel - The Tree of Life Stained Glass Window Hangings - Art Glass Window Treatments

Limited visibility through windows provides would-be intruders with the perfect opportunity to pass through the gardens undetected.

Vandals Often Target Stained Glass Windows

Sadly, one of the chief dangers to stained glass windows is malicious vandalism. Stained glass windows’ bright, sunny nature provides the perfect target for immature teenagers and not-to-bright drunkards.

Would-be vandals are relatively easy to deter with the use of security lights and visible household occupancy.

This can be somewhat countered by double glazing the stained glass behind security glass.

Can Be More Dangerous In A Fire

Tempering is a process in which clear glass is heated and rapidly cooled, creating a crack-resistant glass known for its excellent performance in conditions producing thermal shock, i.e., thermal glass doesn’t shatter during house fires.

Genuine stained glass is not pure glass; instead, it is a heterogeneous mixture of colored metal oxides and glass. Only homogenous glass structures can be successfully tempered, and thus stained glass is not a suitable candidate for tempering.

The thermal shock experienced during a house fire can cause the stained glass window panes to crack or even violently shatter inwards or outwards, depending on the location of the heat source.

In addition to this, the lead lines used in stained glass windows may emit toxic gasses due to excessive heat exposure during a fire. 

Annealed glass panes have the same weaknesses as stained glass, only tempered and laminated glass performs better.loo

Historical Protection Can Inhibit House Renovations

Stained glass windows noted as being of historical importance may interfere with house renovations.

With or without stained glass windows, homeowners of listed houses will need to obtain planning permission from the relevant authorities to make any structural or aesthetic changes to their homes.

Stained glass windows are a feature in many listed homes and have additional legal protections restricting what and how home renovations are performed.

Sources

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00739/full

http://glasscabinstudio.com/#eat-together

https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-642-31479-7_10

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8481791/

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mohammad-Ghomeishi-2/publication/327578780_The_psychological_effects_of_stained_glass_in_traditional_Iranian_architecture_the_case_of_orsi/links/5b97bcc5299bf14ad4cc8649/The-psychological-effects-of-stained-glass-in-traditional-Iranian-architecture-the-case-of-orsi.pdf

https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/publications/the-effects-of-ambient-blue-light-on-anger-levels-applications-in-2

https://www.scottishstainedglass.com/stained-glass-benefts/how-stained-glass-affects-home-value/

https://www.dreamstime.com/wooden-staircase-stained-glass-windows-house-first-half-xix-century-tbilisi-georgia-image147192211

https://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2015-11-11/the-worlds-most-spectacular-stained-glass

https://www.christiesrealestate.com/blog/stained-glass-living-in-color/

https://www.artistry-in-glass.com/quick-guide-to-stained-glass-pricing/

https://www.lancasterpaintandglass.com/custom-cut-glass-cost.php

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