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Measuring and Installation Guidelines

Common Window Terms
First of all, shown below are some common terms used in describing window parts.

Definitions of Common Window Terms
A piece of glass in a window.
The inner frame which holds glass in operable and fixed window units.
light ("lite")
A separately framed piece of glass in a window or a single glass pane or piece.
A vertical member, as of stone or wood, dividing a window or other opening.
A strip of wood or metal separating and holding panes of glass in a sash.
Consists of a head, jambs, and sill. Forms an opening into which sash panels fit.
The main horizontal member forming the top of the window frame.
The main vertical members forming the sides of a window frame.
The horizontal piece that forms the bottom of a window frame.
A window usually above a door (usually horizontal).
A semicircular window often placed above a door or another window.
Windows to the sides of a door.


Measuring for a Commission or Purchase
One of the most common problems with commissions is inaccuracy of the measurements provided. While measurements can be approximated during the design concept phase, final measurements will need to be to the nearest sixteenth of an inch before design drawings and fabrication can begin.
When providing initial measurements, please let me know whether they are approximate for estimating purposes or actual measurements. If you provide me with measurements of where a stained glass panel is to be installed, you are responsible for the accuracy of those measurements.

You may want to print this page as a guideline and write your measurements directly on it.

Here's how to measure:

  1. Measure from sill to head (vertically) in three locations and from jamb to jamb (horizontally) in three locations to the nearest sixteenth of an inch (see Figure A). This measurement will give the nominal window opening if a panel is to be installed.
  2. Measure the actual glass surface between the moldings both vertically and horizontally (see Figure B). Note whether the width of the molding that shows inside the sill (i.e. how far it extends towards the center of the opening - see Figure B) is the same all the way around the window. This will help me to ensure that the molding doesn't cast a shadow on the stained glass window.
  3. Measure the depth of the sill up to the molding (see Figures C and D).

Figure A
Figure A
Measure Glass Area
Figure B

Figure C
Figure C - Single Glazed Exterior Window
Figure D
Figure D - Double Glazed Exterior Window

Installation Guidelines

The most common type of residential stained glass installation utilizes the existing window sill. In most cases, it is not necessary to remove the present glass to install a stained glass panel.

For a Fixed Installation:

  1. Always re-measure the opening and the stained glass panel to ensure that it will fit. I always use reinforced lead H-channel around the outside if a panel is to be installed, just in case it needs trimming. A box knife is good for this purpose.
  2. On the inside of the existing window, install a spacer trim using one-half inch square wood stops. This will position the new panel slightly away from the exterior window glass (See diagrams below). In an arched or round window, vinyl weatherstripping can be used for this purpose. Be sure to leave a few gaps to allow for excess heat to escape. In a sealed unit, heat buildup due to solar radiation can reach hundreds of degrees, causing heat stress and eventually destroy the structural integrity of the stained glass.
  3. Place the stained glass panel inside the existing sill (See diagrams below). Use shims as necessary to center the window in the opening. Install quarter-round molding to hold the stained glass in place. In an arched or round window, mirror clips can be used to hold the panel in place.
Hint: By pre-painting or staining the stops before nailing them in place, all you will need to do is touch them up afterwards

Installation - Single Glazed
Single Glazed Exterior Window
Installation - Double Glazed
Double Glazed Exterior Window

For a Hanging Installation:

  1. Your window can be framed in zinc or wood with ring-hooks on either side. You simply measure how far apart the rings are.
  2. Find the center of your home window and lightly mark the wood casing.
  3. From the center mark, measure one-half the distance between the rings and make another mark. Do this in both directions from the center.
  4. Verify that the measurement between the outside marks corresponds to your panel.
  5. Screw hooks into the casing at your marks, add chain to the frame hooks, and hang.

Hanging Installation

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