Window & Portlight Refurbishment - Openers

Openers come in two basic forms, one with the pane enclosed in an opening frame (framed openers), the other where the fittings (hinges/latches) are directly connected to an unframed pane (unframed openers).

In both cases the fixed frame (attached to the hull) will have a closing seal which may require replacement.  As mentioned elsewhere, some seals are difficult to source and even if available, difficult to fit, particularly in-situ (as opposed to flat on a bench).  As a result you may need to consider removal of the whole window unit.  However, if the closing seal is in good condition we don't need the outer frame to be sent in, just the opening part.

As for hatches, a smooth pane edge is important so all these units are machine cut on the CNC which will also add any fastening holes and rebates.  We have vector templates for most Lewmar units, though others can be added.

Where just a new pane is required for an unframed opener, we can produce this directly if we have a template sending the result direct to you, even before removing the old one.  We may need you to check your unit first as there can be more than one version for each size (eg Lewmar OS size 4 where the position of the latch holes can vary).  If we don't have a template then we will need you to send in your existing unit.  We prefer not to use paper templates.

Typically openers use Acrylic of 8-10mm thickness, CLEAR or GREY tint.

Framed Openers

Examples include the single size Lewmar Ocean portlight and the Lewmar Astar Openers (commonly found on Hallberg Rassy yachts - in custom sizes).  

Generally speaking all can be done, except for those where the pane is held in place with a mechanical fixing which cannot be removed.  An example would be Vetus plastic openers where an inner rim is hot welded in position to hold the pane in place.  Some outer frames (eg Astars above) have complex profiles which require more time to clean.

Panes in framed openers often have rebated edges to allow sealant under as well as by the side of the pane within the frame.  This adds to the complexity.

Unframed Openers

Examples would be the Lewmar Old-Standard opening portlights in various sizes.

A key consideration is how fittings (hinge/latch) are attached to the pane.  If mechanical (ie bolted) this is fine, as we can programme the holes or rebates to accommodate, as with the Lewmar Old-Standard (to 1997) units.  If bonded, like the Lewmar New-Standard (>1997) units then sadly we can't help, as no-one outside Lewmar is currently approved to bond such fittings.  The good news for owners with catalogue sized units is that Lewmar sell these (including new fittings) as a spare (available through us).  For those with custom sized units I'm afraid there is currently no option, though we are working on it...

Process - what we do best

For framed units our outline process is as follows;

  • On receipt, the window is assessed and inspected. If any damage or severe corrosion is noted, we will contact the customer.  The opening part will be removed from the outer frame and any components/fixings stored.

  • If the use of specific glazing tapes or preformed seals is recommended by the manufacturer these are sourced from stock or ordered from suppliers.  This will include closing seal.

  • Split lines are checked and any fishplates released to facilitate dismantling.  

  • The frames are dismantled and glazing removed.  All parts are labelled.

  • If toughened glass, the glazing is checked to ensure it can be reused.  If faults are found, the customer is given the option to have a new panel cut and heat tempered, or replaced with plastic.

  • The outer frame channels holding the closing seal are thoroughly cleaned.  This is particularly time consuming, but necessary for long term adhesion of new closing seal.

  • The inner frame (opener) is cleaned and the surface prepared.

  • The cleaned channels are abraded ensure a sound bond prior to being treated with an appropriate specialist primer.

  • Where new plastic glazing is required, this is cut and/or machined to shape and edges finished.

  • If the pane edge is rebated the fit is checked to ensure the spacing is correct to ensure a flush finish, taking account of any glazing tapes or preformed seals being used.

  • The window glazing is treated with another appropriate specialist primer.

  • The glazing is positioned within the inner frame/channel with chocking rubber when appropriate, to ensure an even void ready for sealant.

  • The complete window is re-assembled and joints are sealed.  If new fishplates are needed these are manufactured and fitted.

  • The glazing is re-sealed with a pressure injected sealant and allowed to cure for at least 48 hours.

  • The new closing seal is fitted to the outer frame, glued in position.  The opener is closed and secured to hold the closing seal in position and apply even pressure while curing.

  • Upon completion the window is inspected and cleaned to remove any traces of sealant on the glazing surface.

  • New plastic glazing is covered in protective film to reduce the risk of damage during re-installation.

  • All windows are carefully packed ready for dispatch/collection.

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