Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Final details of pilothouse window installation

As I've written before, I replaced all the side and front windows in the pilothouse as the Gulf 32 came with acrylic windows in plastic frames and they were extremely crazed and dead. Couldn't slide the darn things without busting a fingernail and only then with an appropriate decibel of cursing.

Anyway, when I put them in this winter it was 35 degrees and raining, which is always how it is here in winter. I didn't take the time to do some of the detail work.

In the last few days I pulled the windows out and finished up the job in final form. This involved two changes. One is I replaced the caulking I had used, which was Mortite, with the appropriate and amazing butyl rubber. The other change is that I epoxied in the corners in the places where the aluminum frames do not turn as tight a radius as the old plastic frames did.

I cannot speak highly enough of butyl rubber for window caulking. It was what was used orginally, and when I pulled out those 20 year old window frames, that rubber was as soft and sticky as the day it was installed. Hard stuff to find though. I had to get some while down in Portland, Oregon from an RV supply store. They use it for the same reasons I did. It comes in a 1 inch ribbon about 1/8 inch thick. Perfect stuff.

As the pictures here show, it is easy to place around the frame and then just tighten up the window and trim off the excess. Having used every sealant and adhesive product out there for various jobs, I again cannot say enough how easy and perfect butyl rubber is for this application when compared with any other option.

I thickened the epoxy up with silica and found shaping the corners an ideal job for my dremel tool. With the sanding attachment, I was able to shape the corners exactly how I wanted them and effortlessly. Because I did not need to use cloth for these small corner applications, as they are not structural but only to prevent water from entering and provide a good sealing surface, I was concerned about the epoxy being just a bit brittle and didn't want to cut it with a blade of any sort. Using the dremel worked so perfectly I smiled the whole time I did the job. Shaping all 7 or 8 corners took all of 10 minutes or so.

So the windows are back in, and done, done, done. Boy they are beautiful and work like a dream. So clear and so strong, a wonderful upgrade to our Gulf.

1 comment:

Saiing from heat said...

Looks like a great job! Love those new windows and especially their view. Sailing from heat