In this Beneteau 38 replacing the windows goes hand in hand with exchanging the vinyl cabin sides (and ceiling) to wood to give the cabin that custom wood look.
In a nutshell (I could write a book if every aspect of the project should be covered) the process involves removing all windows, frames and in this case vinyl paneling (with old, pulverized foam backing). Aluminum window bolts have corroded and are frozen into the frames so all of them need to be drilled out- let the fun begin!
Windows are removed from the frames. Cutting into the caulking along the glass (lexan/ poly carbonate) and prying it out without ruining the cast aluminum frame is what we’re after! Next everything gets cleaned with steel wool, scraped, and/or sanded with 180 grit paper. Frames will get new (Automotive rim) spray paint and new neoprene seals later so it all needs to be clean and smooth.
New lexan is acquired and cut to size, corners rounded on the 12” disc sander according to the original panels. For the fixed center window on this Beneteau the outside frame is used as template to drill the holes into the new window material. Frames now get the primer and paint. Heavy duty 1”wide double sided rubber tape is applied to the center window where it connects to the cabin side.
The smaller windows are made ready in the same manner and new glass glued in with clear caulking. All new stainless bolts (and special “post screws” for the fixed window) are now gathered.
Next the new 11’ long, about 15” wide and ¼” thick mahogany cabin sides are rough cut, fine tuned and spliced (scarfed) at a point where most of the connection will be hidden by window and frame.
Note: All new bolts have to allow extra length for the thickness of the new wood that goes under those frames!
Window openings are cut and the side gets “Gorilla glued” to the bare fiberglass cabin wall. The window frames are temporarily boltet in place to act as clamps around the windows and a few braces between the windows will do the rest until the glue sets.
Next day frames are removed, all wood edges around the window cutouts are sealed with epoxy. Window frames are now boltet into their final position. Use plenty of caulking on inside and outside frames in all the right places, neatly separated from the glass by multiple loops masking tape.
More than you’d like to tackle yourself? Boat Smith can help!