If you have original leadlight panels in your front door, then the panels may be starting to show their age. While leadlights are more robust than you might think, they do develop problems over time.
For example, if your leadlights are very old, then the lead that holds the glass in position may be failing. How can you tell if this is happening?
You Can See Damage on the Lead
Sometimes, it's easy to spot damaged lead in a panel frame. The lead itself may be broken and pieces may have fallen out of place. It may have cracks in it, or its original solder may look crumbly and broken.
Even if you can't see a glaringly obvious problem, take a closer look. Lead can suffer from fatigue over the years. Temperature changes make it expand and contract — eventually these changes can cause some damage.
In this instance, the lead may look intact from a distance, but when you get up close, you can see that it has tiny cracks on its surface. These tend to happen most in areas close to where lead has been soldered together. This is a sign that the metal is losing its integrity and might not last much longer.
You Can See Bulges on the Panel
A robust leadlight panel should be flat. If you can see bulges in your glass or areas of buckling in the frame, then the chances are your lead is close to the end of its working life. You may also notice that some of the putty in the panel has fallen out or has come loose.
The lead was originally strong and stable enough to create a panel that holds the glass in place. Each piece of lead was slotted together and held its position.
However, if you see bulges or buckling, then this is a sign that the lead has lost some of its strength. It has changed shape or moved; it may be softer or weaker. At this stage, it can't hold the glass safely for much longer. If the bulging or buckling gets worse, then the glass will ultimately pop out of the frame.
If you're worried about the condition of your lead, call out a leadlight door restoration specialist. They can take a look at the leadlight as a whole to check out its overall health. If your lead does need replacing, then they can remove the panel and rebuild it for you.