FAQ: Plexi-glass windows
Can I replace or fix the Plexiglas, Black Tinted Cabin Windows?
Chap Hodges wrote:
There aren't any articles in the past Mainsheets on replacing fixed windows that I'm aware of. I did put this on the C34 Net back in June 1998. Guess it must have slipped through the "FAQ crack"!
As far as removing them, I believe that is fairly easy. Remove the screws that are holding the panel/panels in place. Insert a putty knife about 1-1/2" wide (careful with the gelcoat) and pop out one corner. Then you are going to take the putty knife and just go along breaking the seam all the way around until the entire edge of the window comes out. The most difficult spots will be the areas between the galley and the aft cabin (starboard) and the head and above the Nav table (port). There is about a 4" area of solid caulking there. You may end up breaking the window.
Before installing the new windows, make sure that the indented surface
is absolutely clean. Lacquer thinner works well. Pre-drill the new windows
by using the old window as a template. Apply a liberal amount of caulking,
and when you think you put too much on, that's about the right amount.
(Catalina uses black Dow 795 Silicone for sealant, I prefer polysulfide).
Make sure there are NO voids in the caulking. Hopefully, your new windows
will have a protective paper like covering still attached. On the inside
of the window, remove the covering, leaving the covering on the outside of
the window. Before pressing the new window on to the caulk, use small
pieces (approx. 1/2" long x 1/4" high) of foam tape every
4" on the inside of the window toward the sealant. This tape will
maintain 1/8" thickness of sealant when tightened down. Otherwise all
the sealant will squirt out especially in the center where there is a
contour. Press the window firmly on to the caulking and replace the screws
to hold it in place. DON'T touch the caulking on the inside or outside.
Let it dry. It may take a few days. After it has hardened, take a single
edge razor blade or X-acto knife and trim the caulking from the window
both inside and outside. Easy, so you don't scratch the window. Be careful
on clean up if you use lacquer thinner or acetone as it is not too
friendly to acrylic and will leave marks (try mineral spirits first). Last
step; take the protective covering off the outside. Hope this helps.
I ended up checking all the screws on all the fixed ports.
In retrospect, if I had some on board, I would have used clear sealant,
although I was careful enough so that the white stuff didn't ooze out all
over the place. Plus at least I can see that it's consistent all the way
around. Rained like blazes here last week, checked today, no leaks. Next
fun and games are the Beckson ports.
PS - Ron's second note referred to the old chat space. Here's the article from Charles Holder, #617. A man truly ahead of his time:
Fix loose cabin windows
The old sealant line should give you a good idea of where to lay the
tape edge. The reason for the tape is to keep the sealant off the areas
around the window to make cleaning up easier. Gun the caulking into the
window frame indented surface, in a continuous bead. Don't skimp, you want
the whole sealing area filled. Carefully press in the window but don't
push it in too the extent that all the sealant is squeezed out. You want
the sealant to allow relative movement. Insert the screws but not too
tightly. Wipe excess sealant off the masking tape before the sealant forms
a skin. Depending on the sealant you use this could be a few minutes or up
to perhaps ten minutes. Clean kitchen paper towels are good for wiping off
the major excess. I prefer to use Sika's sealant cleanup fluid for the
final clean up around the window, off tools and my hands. Sika's fluid is
in a yellow bottle about six inches high. One bottle lasts me years, you
don't need much. Remove the masking tape before the sealant skins over if
possible. Once you've removed the tape don't mess with the sealant until
it is completely dry, probably the next day. Use a sharp, hard back, razor
blade, available from most hardware stores to trim any excess sealant. A
word on sealants: don't be cheap, use a reputable marine brand like SIKA
or 3M but not a household quality. There is a good reason the marine
sealants are more expensive and its not just because they're for use on a
boat, they are different. BUT DON'T USE 5200 for this application, you
won't be able to remove the window the next time it has to be done, and it
will have to be done. You've probably recognized from the above
description that speed is important. Once you've applied the sealant work
quickly but don't panic. There's no problem about cutting lots of excess
sealant off its just time consuming. Go gently with the razor blades, you
can easily cut the gel coat if you angle the blade too steeply.
Important: The opinions expressed here are those of the individual contributors to this page, and not those of the Catalina 34 National Association or Catalina Yachts, Inc. Additionally, this material has not been reviewed by Catalina Yachts, Inc. for technical accuracy. This page's maintainer cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information or the desirability of suggested modifications or upgrades. Please obtain assistance from a competent marine mechanic or boatyard prior to making any significant modifications to your vessel.
Last modified by Phil Imhof, Wednesday, August 11, 2004 . Copyright © 2001 by Catalina 34 International Association. All rights reserved.