Acrylic boat windshields do not last forever. If a window is damaged, full of scratches, or almost opaque, it is time to install new windows. In our webshop, you will find various materials that are extremely suitable for boat glass replacement, whether you choose good and affordable or extremely durable and inexpensive. In this article, we offer advice on the choice of material and instructions for disassembly and assembly. Every handy do-it-yourselfer can replace plexiglass boat windshields by following these tips.
Acrylic sheet or polycarbonate?
Two plastics are suitable for boat windshield replacement: cast acrylic sheet and polycarbonate. Acrylic sheet is the cheaper of the two while polycarbonate is the best choice if the window must be strong and impact resistant above all else. If the colour/transparency of the boat windows plays a role, then it is good to know that both plastics are available in different shades. Bear in mind that with polycarbonate, the tint will be darker with the thicker sheets. Both acrylic sheet and polycarbonate are available in various colours and in sheet thicknesses from 3 to 12 millimetres. Only in the case of tinted polycarbonate will the transparency become less as the sheet thickens. You can request a sample from us to determine the correct shade/material thickness.
Replace boat window frame – disassembly
Normally, boat windows are contained in a rubber window frame. To dismantle the window you have to disassemble the complete window, including the rubber window frame. This requires two pairs of hands: one person bends the rubber frame, while the second person pushes the window out. In the case of older acrylic windows, bear in mind that the window can break, which can lead to injuries. Always wear gloves when you push the window out. When the window is disassembled, the rubber window seal can be removed. It is advisable to clean the window frame well in soapy water using a mild household detergent, such as green soap. You can make rigid window frames smooth by greasing them with fabric softener. Leave it on overnight and the rubber will become smooth again.
Determine the size of the new boat window and cut it to shape
The new window has exactly the same dimensions as the old window. Measure the window well, measuring twice to be extra sure. In our webshop, you fill in the sizes you require and we deliver the window in a rectangular shape. This may mean that you have to saw the rounded shape of the corners yourself, the tips in the cutting acrylic sheet and sawing polycarbonate blogs give the most important tips for sawing. Stick masking tape over the window foil and draw the cutting line on it. This prevents the window from being damaged during cutting.
Mount boat window frame
Lubricate the rubber window frame with Vaseline on both sides, this allows you to correct the position of the boat window in the frame when the rubber seal is placed in position.. Then apply the window rubber around the new window. Check that the rubber fits well all around and that the corners also fit snugly around the corners of the window.
Then lay a cord in the outer edge of the window seal, the cord should lie tightly in the rubber and the ends should protrude at least 20 centimetres, preferably in the middle of the top edge. Now place the boat window in the opening, with the bottom first. With two pairs of hands, the window can then be mounted into the aperture. Press the window slightly on the outside and guide the window seal around the rebate. Due to the tight fit, the rubber will eventually become difficult to fold in the rebate. Then pull the cord to bend the lip of the rubber seal outwards and press the boat windshield into place so that it is well bedded into the rebate.