Hints and Tips

This page is intended to offer help and assistance to our customers and boat owners who wish to remove or refit their windows and hatches as well as general upkeep.  More product specific help will be published in our Blog, so please check this out too.


As with any help page we are confident you appreciate that we are unable to accept any liability for mishaps or damage arising from the use of any information or guidance presented here.


Before commencing any work, here are a few general hints and tips that we hope you may find useful.

 

  • It is best to allow plenty of time for any task.  Patience is a virtue....

  • Always use good quality tools (sharp if appropriate) that are the correct size for the job you are carrying out

  • Make sure someone else is close by to help you especially when working on larger windows​

  • Plan your work carefully and start off with an “easy” task first. e.g. remove the smallest window first.

  • Never use excessive force.  There is probably a good reason why something is resisting you and it's best to find this out before you regret the damage that will likely result if you continue.

  • After years without movement, fixings will resist.  Heat (eg heat gun) and releasing fluids will help, as will careful consideration.

  • Apply pressure evenly as new panes won't sit well in bent frames. ​

Now some specifics, in easy access sections;

Hatch removal & refitting

Removing framed windows

Replacing framed windows

Fitting a frameless window

Window / hatch care

 

Removing & re-fitting a hatch

The brilliant news is that generally speaking the older hatches are straight forward to remove.  Newer Lewmar (LP/MP) units can be another story (RS - I'll do a blog post on this).

 

As with the windows, use a piece of masking tape to identify the location of the hatch.  Take photos with your phone so you can remember how it was before.


Unless it is necessary, do not remove the base plate (or ring) that is attached to the deck of your boat. This should have a good seal, and if it is removed, will require cleaning and resealing. Most hatch tops or lids can be removed by either knocking out the hinge pin with a mallet (not Rollstop please) and parallel punch or unscrewing the hinges from the top or base.


If you are sending the hatch to Eagle Boat Windows for repair, please leave all the handles and hinges attached as we will service and reseal them.


Refitting the hatch should be straight forward and opposite of the above sequence. Please be aware that if a new seal has been fitted, the hatch will feel very stiff/tight on fastening down.

Removing an Aluminium framed window

Tools required: Masking tape (19mm or 25mm), screwdriver, combination pliers, 2”-3” good quality filler knife/scraper and lightweight hide or nylon mallet.  A variety of thin wedges are useful too.

The first thing to try and work out is what is holding the window in position.  If lucky it will be old bedding compound which will give way so easily as to appear to welcome your efforts with open arms.  If the windows have been in for 15+ years this is a likely situation.  Alternatively, if nursed from the dark side, ie installed with the devil's own gunk (sikaflex or silicone) then you may regret (more) the day you became your fine boat's custodian.  The devils gunk is an adhesive, probably a very good one which like a killer shark will fight you for every mm of movement.  Good luck!  In contrast (take note for re-installation) bedding compound is designed to seal, but let go...  

Let's assume you are lucky....


Using the masking tape, label the windows and the inner trim rings (if fitted) to include location and orientation, e.g. STBD AFT ?  Loosen the screws all the way round the window – if you have inter-screws (threaded sleeve nuts) fixed to the trim ring inside your boat, you may need the help of someone to hold them with a screwdriver or pliers to stop them from rotating (or like many they may refuse to move even when the windows are out).


Remove all the screws in pairs that are diagonally opposite each other. Remove any other fittings or attachments that may impede your access to the windows. The trim rings will now be loose and will drop down so be aware of any potential problems e.g. the headlining may be attached to them or they may scratch some wooden interior fittings.


Using the mallet, gently tap the filler knife into the joint between the window and the GRP/wood of your boat. It is best to only tap the filler knife in about 1/8” or 3mm and work your way around the whole window. Repeat this several times until the filler knife comes in contact with the inner flange of the window frame. If your window is a piece of Perspex screwed directly onto the boat, the filler knife blade should be visible from the inside of the boat. If your windows have been sealed with an adhesive type sealant, you may need to insert a long thin blade into the joint to cut the sealant.


Your windows should now be ready for removal. If it does not come out readily, someone on the inside can assist by gently pushing from the inside. On no account should you use a screwdriver or other tool to lever the window out – it will result in damage to your boat and window.  If using the wedges, make sure they are evenly distributed so as to avoid any bending of the frame.


Count and store all the trim rings and fixings until required again for re-fitting the windows. 

 

Don't fall into the trap of thinking that was easy, I'll just take them apart a bit... We won't give a discount if they arrive in bits as we then have to work out what goes where and we still have to clean even if you think you have.  It's our reputation.​...

 

Re-fitting an aluminium framed window

The notes below refer to sealing the window with the non-setting bedding compound as supplied by Eagle Boat Windows which is recommended for this application. Do not use an adhesive based sealing compound as this will cause problems and prevent you from removing the windows without damage to the frame and the boat (as warned above).


Check the fit of the window in the aperture. Carry out one or two “dry” fits of the window using all the fixings and inner trim rings (if used) to make sure that there are no problems.


To fit the windows, cut the nozzle at 45°, and apply a 6mm/¼” bead of bedding compound in line with the screw holes around the inside of the window flange that butts against the GRP/wood of your boat.


Present the window to the aperture (remember orientation!) and press it against the boat. You will see a witness of bedding compound appear in the holes where the screws locate. If your windows are fixed using inter-screws, you must remove the witness of bedding compound otherwise it will be trapped in the inter-screw and you will not be able to tighten the screw correctly. Insert the screws and tighten very lightly around the window. Working your way around the window several times, tighten the screws so that there is only a small gap (1-2mm) between the frame and the boat.  Do NOT overtighten!  If you squeeze all the compound out there will be nothing left to seal and/or prevent leakage.


Leave the witness of bedding compound to harden for a few days and then, using the small plastic scraper supplied, peel off the excess compound. If there are any stubborn remnants of material, use a soft cloth and White Spirit to remove it.

Just a few more notes...

As mentioned in passing above, the most common issue with refitting is applying too much pressure (torque) to the fixings, particularly if these are bolts (including inter-screws) rather than screws.  Come on, what's the point of applying all that lovely bedding compound/sealer and then squeezing it all out!  So, I hear you say - 'how can I ensure a good seal'?

If using tube based bedding compound, try and make sure there is a whisper (ie ~ 1mm) of seal left between the frame and the hull/coachroof.

Alternatively, if your flange is wider (~25mm+) and you are using bolts of some description you can consider using a combination of butyl tape and bedding compound.  The product we supply is called GZ tape and comes in a 12m roll for the same price as a tube of bedding compound.  It's about 12mm wide and 2-3mm thick (other sizes and suppliers are available).  One approach is to use the tape on the inner edge and then some bedding compound outside this (ie on the 12+mm of the flange remaining.  The butyl tape will squeeze down some, but will always leave a gap for the lovely bedding compound to stay.  Note that this really only works for bolts as more torque is required to squeeze the tape. If using screws it's likely you'll strip the threads so don't.

 

Phew!

 

Fitting a frameless acrylic window

Warning - do not use a powered screwdriver when fitting a Perspex window!

As with the aluminium framed window above, the notes below refer to sealing the window with the non-setting bedding compound as supplied by Eagle Boat Windows which again is recommended for this application.  A worthy alternative however is so called SCAPA tape which can also give a cleaner appearance - see the note at the end of this section.

Back to bedding compound, the gooey version...

Check the fit of the window on the side of the boat and check the alignment of the fixing holes. It may help to carry out a “dry” fit of the window using all the fixings to make sure that there are no problems.

To fit the windows, cut the nozzle of the bedding compound at 45°, and apply a 6mm/¼” bead of bedding compound in line with the screw holes around the inside of the window that butts against the GRP/wood of your boat.

 

If your window is not being fitted to a flat surface (e.g. it is fitted to the side of your boat), then it may be helpful to insert a small plain stainless steel washer between the Perspex and your boat at each screw position. This will ensure that the thickness bedding compound is even over the whole length of the window and that there will be little or no migration of bedding compound in the middle area of the window.

Present the window to the aperture (remember orientation!) and press it against the boat. You will see a witness of bedding compound appear in the holes where the screws locate and this must be removed. Insert the screws and tighten very lightly around the window. Working your way around the window several times, tighten the screws so that there is an even gap of about 1 to 2mm between the Perspex and the boat. Always be aware of the torque you are applying to the screw and watch for any bowing of the window between the screws.

Leave the witness of bedding compound to harden for a few days and then, using the small plastic scraper supplied, peel off the excess compound. If there are any stubborn remnants of material, use a soft cloth and White Spirit to remove it.

 

One of the issues with using goo on frameless windows is the uncertainty of how the goo will flow on the inside of the edge and around the opening/cut out in the hull.  SCAPA 3507 tape is a grey single sided tape which comes in a variety of widths and lengths and given it's so easy to source (think eBay) we don't stock or supply this ourselves.  How you use it is up to you but I would suggest applying the sticky side to the hull first so as to get a nice even edge around the cut out.  If your overlap is larger and/or your corner radii are tight you may want to use several pieces of narrower tape.  If you butt them up together relatively tightly the join will be hidden when pressure is applied. With the tape applied you can offer up your window and screw/bolt in position (you may want to have added some reference marks to aid this positioning beforehand).  Clearly the tape works by having the window pressed against it so it probably favours using bolts rather than screws, but not too much pressure.  Don't use countersunk heads of any form as this will split and crack the plastic, if not immediately, soon after a hot sun reaches your window - you have been warned.

The SCAPA 3507 tape option

 
 

Looking after your windows & hatches

There are many polishes and treatments on the market for the upkeep of aluminium frames, a few of which might work. The most common problem that our customers encounter are scratches in glass or acrylic:

Scratches in Glass

Almost all glass used in boats is toughened (heat tempered) glass and by the process of annealing, the surface is very VERY hard indeed. If you have a large or deep scratch, there is virtually nothing you can do about it other than replacing the glass (which we can do).

If the glass has a small scratch or a metal abrasion mark, this could be removed (polished out) with the use of an electric drill equipped with a polishing head and a Cerium Oxide solution. There are kits available (but not from us) and should contain all the necessary parts and instructions for you to carry out the job.

Scratches in Plastic

As with glass, if the Plastic has a deep scratch in it, this cannot be removed. If your Perspex is crazed, this too cannot be effectively polished out; the crazing is caused by the effect of UV light on the material and can be up to 3mm deep.  If Polycarbonate, it's likely the panel will have a yellow tint and this too cannot be removed.

To remove small scratches, obtain a couple of pieces of soft cotton cloth and a bottle of liquid car polish that does not obtain any abrasives. Do not use a colour restorer (T Cut) or pre-coloured car polish or the hard wax polish in tins. On a small area first, apply a spot of polish on the cloth and rub in lightly. Leave to dry and remove the residue with the other cloth. Repeat if necessary.

Using car polish once or twice a year on your Perspex keeps its appearance and can offer some protection against minor abrasions.

Another obvious comment is to be careful what you use when cleaning windows.  If it is in any way abrasive it will scratch as well as clean and whilst dirt will reappear, the scratches won't go away....

Moving parts

Hatch handles and moving parts on opening windows should be cleaned and lubricated at least once a year.  We can often source new exterior handles and pads (eg Lewmar Ocean friction lever pads).  Alternatively, if you're a good customer we may well spray paint the components.  Dubbing with vaseline, butter or even an oily finger will restore the colour for various durations, measured at best in days so hardly worth the effort.


Channels in sliding windows should be cleaned out every year and if the sliding action becomes difficult, apply some silicone or maintenance lubricant (but bear in mind this may not have a lasting effect).  Also, make sure any drain holes are clear as if not the water will likely end up inside your boat.  Sliders - the devils work - a window which can never truly be watertight!

©2020 Eagle Boat Windows

THE MARINE WINDOW & HATCH REFURBISHMENT SPECIALISTS