We purchased a house with French Leaded glass front doors which we like very much. They are also double pane with one being very cloudy. How can we remove the one pane inside plain glass to be able to clean. This is not a little leaded glass. This glass measures approximately six inches from the top of the door and approximately 10 inches from the bottom on metal doors.

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    Is this actually 'encapsulated double glazing'? Real leaded glass inside a modern double-glazed surround [or a leaded face on modern double-glaze]? If so, you need to have it rebuilt professionally - the gas has gone.
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 19, 2021 at 18:52
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    there are drill bits for making holes in glass. I fixed a foggy one by pulling back the trim and drilling two 0.25" holes in opposite corners of the pane, and feeding a fish pump's tube into one of them. It cleared away all the condensation overnight leaving a surprisingly clear interior surface that needed no further cleaning. I re-sealed with a square of scotch tape on a dry afternoon. I lost some R-value for sure, but it looks fine.
    – dandavis
    Aug 19, 2021 at 19:19
  • Pictures of the entire door and close ups of the trim and any other detail that you think could possibly be relevant would be extremely helpful.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 20, 2021 at 15:19
  • @dandavis - doing that you just gave yourself an annual task, until such time as mould grows, then you've wasted one pane & need to replace it as part of the re-assembly. No-one will guarantee a drilled pane on a newly-sealed unit.
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 22, 2021 at 17:36
  • @Tetsujin it already needed replaced when i arrived years ago, and it's been fine as-is since, saving me at least the interest on the cost of an inevitable replacement.
    – dandavis
    Aug 22, 2021 at 20:48

1 Answer 1


This is not a full answer - until we get confirmation of details - this is just to be able to show examples to my comments…

These pics from a job I'm currently working on, coincidentally.

This is what happens when the seal goes & the original gas-fill escapes. You first get condensation build-up, but after a while mould starts to grow. The only way to fix this is to have the panel stripped, cleaned & re-sealed.
Trying to dry out the condensation is going to be an annual event, until you have to eventually give up once it's no longer just condensation - just postponing the inevitable. Of course, if you've drilled one pane to facilitate the drying process… you then need a whole new pane. No-one is going to guarantee the job if you drilled it.

enter image description here

This is modern "fake" leaded glass. the leading & coloured elements are actually stuck to the outside face of a piece of plain glass, part of a standard double-glazed sealed unit. In this instance the inside pane is privacy glass, patterned. You can just see a part of the aluminium arc top left of the sealed unit. The alternative is that 'real' leaded glass is completely encapsulated inside two skins of modern sealed unit, in effect making it a triple-glazed unit. This is usually only done to 'rescue' an existing [probably very expensive] hand-made original pane. You can't seal real leaded glass as part of a regular double-glazed unit - it just won't stand it; it will bow inwards & very likely just leak the gas-fill in a week.

enter image description here

If you find a willing contractor, this task could be done in a day. Making up sealed units is not a particularly time-consuming task.

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