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Window & Portlight Refurbishment - Unhinged Openers

Unhinged openers tend to be part of a larger fixed custom window, typically on a motor boat.  These tend to be large windows and often have toughened glass panes.


As these are often older (<1980), the frames can be in poor condition with significant surface corrosion and as a result dismantling can take considerably longer.  As the window will have several sections; some fixed, some opening, this just adds to the amount of fastenings and additional edge sections which have to be photographed, removed, labelled, cleaned and stored.  Frames with sliders will be twin-channel which by implication means more cleaning.  Sliders utilise 'flock' channel along which the pane slides.  These have to be removed, sized, sourced and later replaced.  Sliding panes often overlap fixed panes making resealing tricky as access is very limited in the overlapping area.  I'll be honest and say we don't like sliders; they always take much longer than anticipated and though priced higher rarely prove profitable.   Equally, most of the old boats these come from are low value so we understand that spending several thousand on windows can exceed the budget.  That said leaking windows will continue to leak.

Process - what we do best

For framed unhinged openers 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 complete window will be photographed so that the components can be subseqently reassembled to their original position, orientation and fit.   Any external fixtures (eg catches) are removed and stored along with any fasteners used.

  • If the use of specific glazing tapes or preformed seals is required these are sourced/checked from stock or ordered from suppliers.  This will include closing seal, flock channel and possibly Herzim trim.

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

  • Existing sealant is cut to remove excess and facilitate removal of panes from the frame sections.

  • If a glass/glass rubber seal is used (slider) this may not be available as a spare and if so existing rubbers may be cleaned and refreshed to improve flexibility and longevity once reinstalled.  Where alternatives do exist lengths will be sourced as replacements.

  • The frames are dismantled and glazing removed.  In most cases frames have to be gradually forced apart until release can be completed manually. All parts are labelled in a consistent (upright) manner.

  • 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.  If new toughened glass is required this is ordered as early as possible as lead times can be 2-4 weeks.

  • The frame channels are thoroughly cleaned.  This is particularly time consuming, but necessary for long term adhesion of new seals and/or sealant and flock channel.

  • The cleaned channels may be further abraded to 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.  

  • Flock for the sliding elements are cut, positioned and fixed in position.

  • 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.  In the case of the fixed pane behind the slider it may be required to part seal this before frame reassembly as access can be very restricted.  Where severely restricted priority is given to the lower seal (as this will be the most likely to otherwise leak).

  • External fixtures are reattached and their operation verified.

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

  • 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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