The Difference Between Stained Glass & Leaded Glass Windows

May 24, 2021

The terms stained glass windows and leaded glass windows are often used to describe the same windows, which is why we’re always being asked to explain the difference between the two options. Although interchangeable, both terms do not have the same meaning and stained glass windows and leaded glass windows can be windows in their own right. In this article, we explore the similarities and differences and why the two windows are often confused.

What are leaded glass windows?

Leaded glass windows have been used for centuries. Often seen in a diamond style, original leaded glass designs can be found in old medieval and Tudor buildings dotted across the country. They are also commonly found in traditional churches and some listed buildings. The reasons for their use historically were both decorative and to reinforce the structure, providing support and security to a single glazed window. Over the years, leaded windows have come in and out of fashion, including the 1920s Art Deco period and in many residential properties in the past few decades.

Nowadays, leaded glass windows are used for their ornate designs and stained glass can be used to create stunning pictures or coloured finishes that set the windows apart from any other. There’s also been a resurgence in leaded light windows in recent years, particularly in older properties and with homeowners of country homes that are looking to restore their windows using a traditional leaded style. They are not only beautiful but nod to our country’s history and heritage in a way that cannot be paralleled.

What are stained glass windows?

The clue is in the name; stained glass windows are stained or coloured. However, stained glass windows are usually incorporated into leaded glass designs, which is why the two terms are often used to describe the same windows. Individual pieces of coloured glass are set into leaded patterns which firmly hold the glass in place and help to create the design. You also cannot achieve an intricately detailed stained glass window without a leaded frame. Only when coloured glass has been used in a leaded window can it be accurately referred to as a stained glass window.

Although ornate church and cathedral windows come to mind, there are a whole host of uses for stained glass windows in modern-day life. Just as they were used centuries ago, stained glass windows can be used to add vibrancy and decoration to the windows of any building, and stained glass can even be used on doors, creating a luxurious, opulent feel.

Which is most popular?

Though typically used in different settings, stained and leaded glass designs are equal in popularity. Clear glass is generally more common in a residential sense, with most people wanting the view outside to be as uncompromised as possible. However, stained glass can be used as an accent colour in clear glass leaded windows, adding a beautiful feature to your home. And like hanging your favourite painting, stained glass windows are a great way to add more style and colour to a space. They can also be used in areas where more privacy is required.

With or without colour, or a mixture of the two, Sherriff Stained Glass Specialists design, build and install stunning stained glass windows and leaded glass windows across the UK. Contact us today to discuss the maintenance, repair, creation and restoration of your stained glass or leaded windows. Get in touch via our online form or call us on 01202 882208 for more information.

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