Drawbacks to Leadlights

Leadlight glazed by Adelaide Glaziers in 1946 S.A. Railways Vintage Tram

While leadlights can add aesthetic charm and historical value to a property, there are also some drawbacks associated with them:

1. Maintenance and Durability:

  • Lead Deterioration: Over time, the lead cames can oxidize or deteriorate, which may require restoration work.
  • Glass Damage: The individual glass pieces can crack or break and might be difficult to replace, especially if they are of a specific color or texture.

2. Energy Efficiency:

  • Insulation Concerns: Traditional leadlights may not offer the same level of insulation as modern double-glazed windows, potentially leading to higher energy costs for heating or cooling.

3. Security:

  • Limited Security: Leadlights may not provide as much security as other types of windows due to the relative ease with which individual glass panels can be broken.
  • Modifications Required: Enhancing security may require additional modifications, such as installing secondary glazing or security films.

4. Cost:

  • Expensive to Create or Repair: Custom leadlight designs can be expensive to create, and repairs or restorations may also be costly due to the specialized craftsmanship required.

5. Limited Privacy:

  • Visibility Issues: Depending on the design, some leadlights may not provide enough privacy, especially if clear glass is used extensively in the pattern.

6. Health and Environmental Concerns:

  • Lead Exposure: The lead used in leadlights can pose health risks if not handled correctly during installation or restoration. Additionally, lead production has environmental implications.

7. Design Constraints:

  • Style Limitations: The traditional and ornate nature of leadlights may not suit all types of architectural styles, potentially limiting their applicability in modern or minimalist designs.


While leadlights can bring character and elegance to a space, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks in terms of maintenance, energy efficiency, security, and cost. These factors can influence the decision-making process for homeowners or designers contemplating the installation or restoration of leadlights.


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