Many centuries ago stained glass windows were used almost exclusively in grandiose cathedrals. The installation was easily achieved as on opening was made in the stone and concrete structure to the window specifications (or the window was made to the size of the opening) and metal loops and bars were cemented into the window opening during construction specifically to be soldered to the metal bars and loops that are attached to the stained glass window. Stained glass in no longer limited to places of religious worship or even to just the rich and famous, so how does one go about installing a stained glass window in a modern day structure?
You have a several options available to you, assuming that you do not live in a grand cathedral and that your home was not specifically constructed with stained glass windows in mind.
One of the easiest ways to install your stained glass window is over the existing window. Your stained glass window overlay should measure about 1/8″ smaller around each edge than the original window. First make sure the existing window and inside window frame is clean and dry, you don’t want any dirt or moisture permanently pressed between the pieces of glass. First, check to see that the stained glass panel will fit into your window. You can place 1/8″ cardboard or wood spacers around the bottom of the window and run a small bead of caulk around the inside edge of the window frame.
You may use either clear caulk or a colored caulk that matches your window frame. Now, press the stained glass panel into place and fill in carefully with additional caulk. Be sure to smooth the caulk carefully with your fingers, wiping the excess unto clean tissue and discarding immediately. It is important not to get the caulk on the stained glass panel (if you do simply wipe it away with clean fingers and wipe them with clean tissue). Once the window is caulked in place you will need to secure it there for 24 hours to allow the caulk to set properly.
Using wood blocks or stacked pieces of cardboard brace the window in place and tape across the bracing for the next day. At this point, you may consider the job complete or you could add some wood trim around the inside for a more finished look and added stability. Another easy solution would be to use your stained glass panel as a window hanging and simply solder hooks to the rebar on your stained glass panel secure a chain into the window frame and hang the stained glass panel. This option allows you to take your stained glass with you if you move.
The next option may require some professional help. You may want to have your stained glass panel put into a wood, aluminum, or vinyl window frame. The stained glass window can be protected on either side with tempered glass which will provide better insulation to your home as well. At this point the window can be installed in the same way as a normal new or replacement window, by screwing it into the window frame. Whatever method you choose, your new stained glass window is sure to add beauty, value and enjoyment to your home.