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07-04-2013 01:13 PM
Re: Making flush mounted acrylic replacement windows

This is a copy of a post I made in another forum with lots of links:


I have been doing a lot of research into replacing the windows on my boat. Leaking is a big factor in my decision making, followed by the cost of either rebuilding or replacing all 7 windows/ports on my boat. After weeks of searching and reading the positives and negatives, and weighing all the different options, I have decided that I am not going to rebuild my existing windows. They leak, the exterior frames have cracked, several of the acrylic lens have cracked, and there really isn't much left that is salvageable...

I am going to have my local glass company cut new windows out of 3/8" or 1/4" dark tinted acrylic using templates that I will will create from my original broken window frames, and have them bevel the edges for a factory look. Then I plan to mount them using only an adhesive like Dow's 795. That's right, NO SCREWS OR BOLTS!!!! It sounded crazy to me at first also, but the more I've researched, the more I like the idea!

Dow 795 Info:


Here's a few links if you are interested in such craziness:

Installing windows - Ottawa River Sailing Page

How to install boat windows and port lights

Portlight Replacement

S/V MOMO: Replacing Boat Windows: Polycarbonate (i.e. Lexan) or Acrylic (i.e. Plexiglas)

And a video of a guy using an overpriced kit($1500), to do exactly what I am talking about:

I will be getting an estimate of what it will cost to have the windows made, and if it is too high, I will just make them myself! The acrylic sheet is fairly easy to cut and bevel, and It looks like with shipping and tax, all the materials would be under $150. I think it will really update the look of the boat! The more I have researched, the more I like the idea of this. There is only one possible place for it to leak, and the reviews of the Dow 795 in this application are fairly impressive."

I decided not to have my local glass place cut them for me, I felt their quote was too expensive, and for slightly less I could invest in the tools to add to my workshop or future projects. I currently have everything to complete this project, and I believe I've only spent about $275 to $300 total on the project(including $120 for the scroll saw and blades). Now all I need is some more free time to finish it up! I highly recommend that anyone that tries this should practice cutting with the saw on some junk material first. The thicker tinted acrylic isn't cheap, and I only ordered enough for the project. Not much room for mistakes...
07-04-2013 10:33 AM
Re: Making flush mounted acrylic replacement windows

I am interested in replacing windows on my HR28 as well. Where is your website? I cannot find a link... Thanks.
06-29-2013 05:53 PM
Re: Making flush mounted acrylic replacement windows

I appreciate the words of advice! You are correct about the silicone not sticking if there is any residue from old silicone. I am prepping for some gel coat repairs on the the deck, and will be painting the entire deck as well. Hopefully I shouldn't run into that issue by the time I get to the point of mounting the new windows!

I will be using Dow 795 to install my new windows, if anyone is interested I have lots of links and info as to why I have chosen to go this route, even a video or two of others installing some kits that are available. The main reason I have gone this route is simplicity. I'm not planning on using any screws to mount the windows, so there's only one possible failure point the sealant/adhesive joint between the acrylic and the fiberglass. I also love the clean look that this method creates. I chose the Dow 795 because of it's ability to allow expansion between two different materials which allows it to maintain a good bond as the two materials expand and contract at different rates.
06-29-2013 02:39 PM
Re: Making flush mounted acrylic replacement windows

Very nice!

One word of caution -- you need to strip all the residue of silicone off the frames. They sell chemicals that help with this. I'm re-doing some hatch lenses and am about tied with you progress-wise, so I don't have any specific feedback on a good product for that. I'm trying something I got at HomeDepot in a cylinder bottle with a spray top. We'll see how well it works.

New silicone does not stick to old silicone. This is the main reason Mainesail is so opposed to using silicone at all, if I remember correctly.

06-29-2013 12:49 PM
Making flush mounted acrylic replacement windows

I finally got started on making my windows! I am fixing up a 1983 Starwind 22 i scored for free last fall.

The window frames and windows are cracked, leaking, and covered in silicone by the previous owners failed attempts to stop the problem.

First, I pulled the interior trim to make a template:

Then transferred it to some cheap plexiglass I picked up cheap at Home Depot:

I cut everything on my new toy:

Using the scroll saw is an art in itself, especially when cutting on an angle to bevel the edges. It has a variable speed for the blade. Turn the speed up too fast and the acrylic melts back together as the blade passes thru... I'm starting to get the hang of it...

I'm over sizing the new windows to allow for a proper contact area for the adhesive to bond to the hull with substantial strength. The bottom picture is a shot to show the old window size versus the new for comparison:

I have some rough spots to clean up on the first window, but it came out pretty nice. The nice part is, I'm getting the hang of it quickly. The thicker the material, the harder it was to cut on the scroll saw with a professional edge. I'm using a blade specifically for cutting plastic with a high number of teeth per inch of the blade. I'm pretty excited to finally get going on this. More to follow, hopefully soon!

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