Congregational church windows restored 8.6

Written by David Green.

For John McCartney, it’s all about preservation.

He’s seen windows and doors replaced, and sometimes entire buildings torn down when the original could have been saved.

“It’s important to preserve the old rather than always tear out and build new,” John said. “We promote preservation as a better approach than dumping materials into a landfill.”

The major focus of his business is saving old church windows from deterioration.

John and his colleague Brian George were in Morenci last week working on windows at the First Congregational Church where members are preparing for their 150th anniversary Aug. 17. Full Spectrum Stained Glass played an important role in getting the facility in shape.

Several decades ago, church members decided that a Lexan plastic covering should be placed on the outside of the structure’s old stained glass windows. It would provide protection to the windows and offer some insulation in cold weather.

That was a good idea, but it came with some problems.

John isn’t sure if a chemical reaction took place or whether the Lexan became clouded through decades of wind blown dirt and dust striking the surface. Whatever the reason, the protective covering became so opaque over the years that the stained glass design was nearly impossible to see from the outside.

That’s the obvious problem that passersby notice. A stained glass specialist sees other trouble: heat and moisture.

“It actually adds to the deterioration of the stained glass,” John said about an improperly installed glazing.

When heat is trapped between the window and the plastic (the glazing), it accelerates the expansion and contraction cycle of the glass pieces and the solder holding them together, explained John’s business partner and wife, Valerie.

Trapped moisture accelerates the deterioration of the surrounding wood.

Full Spectrum removed the old Lexan and cut quarter-inch plate glass to take its place. The new glazing includes several ventilation plugs for each window...


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