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wchevron 12-01-2008 04:25 PM

Window replacement
most of the windows on my catalina leak. i was planning on removing, re-gasketing and reinstalling this winter. should i replace the glass with acrylic or would it be better to apply some window tint to the interior of the glass. i like the darker windows to give a bit more privacy at the dock. i'm worried the exterior side of the acrylic would get scratched after a while from cleaning the exterior of the boat. i usually use brush on a pole to scrub down the boat after a sail.

sailingdog 12-01-2008 04:30 PM

If the brush is clean of grit and has soft bristles, it shouldn't scratch the acrylic noticeably.

However, I would recommend using a polycarbonate, like Lexan or Makrolon, with an anti-scratch/UV-resistant coating instead of glass or acrylic, unless you can get fairly heavy laminated tempered glass cut to the right shape for the ports on your boat. Chances are likely that the "glass" isn't actually glass, but acrylic of some sort. Polycarbonate is far stronger and breakage resistant than acrylic.

AllThumbs 12-01-2008 05:01 PM

I am also doing my windows. I have learned through research that Polycarbonate (lexan) is much, much stronger than acrylic (plexiglass), however it is softer so it sratches more easily. It's worth the tradeoff tho as acrylic is much too brittle and will often crack when being drilled and/or installed. lexan has been used to build see-thru snow plow blades and is almost indestructable. You can fold it 90 degrees and it wont crack.


wchevron 12-01-2008 06:05 PM

actually the glass is glass. its original to the boat from 1978. the glass is in good shape so i can re-use it. its the surrounding gasket which needs replacement.
allthumbs, thats what i was worried about with the lexan/acrylic. i installed a new lewmar port this summer with an acrylic lens. just from general cleaning of the boat it is getting minor scratches on it.

AllThumbs 12-01-2008 06:58 PM

If the glass (I find it hard to believe it's glass) is ok, I might try the car tint on the inside.

sailingdog 12-01-2008 07:08 PM

Hmm... that's very unusual.... but if it is in good it by all means. Automotive tint film is probably your best choice for darkening it. :)

Perithead 12-01-2008 08:32 PM

I would say forget the old stick on window tint. There is a new technology that has surpassed the old window tinting ways and it is spray on window tinting.

You do it yourself and should be able to make it as light or as dark as you want it. I have seen some things that were sprayed with it and they looked excellent.

I would be worried that the sticker tint would begin to peel in a marine enviroment. I am planning on using this stuff on my South Coast 22 project boat some time soon.

You can get this one at and search tint at the top in the search box. There are other spray tints out there too.

wchevron 12-01-2008 08:41 PM

thanks for the info. i think i'll give it a try.

Perithead 12-01-2008 08:45 PM

No problem, I hope it goes well and I didnt suggest a horrible product.

Let us know how it goes so that I will know if I should attempt to do the same thing.

Faster 12-01-2008 09:03 PM

Since you've got glass in good shape I'd most certainly reuse it.. all the other replacement options will eventually go opaque with time. even Lexan, and while strong it's remarkably easy to scratch.

We've had success replacing the gasket seal with aluminum-framed ports with Dow Corning 795 sealant. Save some small pieces of the orignal rubber to center the glass in the frame. Mask off the glass and the frames to ease cleanup after it's all assembled.

Good luck.. it's pretty nice to eliminate window leaks!

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