Leaking Portlights

jandersonw

New Member
I was recently looking at a 1987 E32-2 for sale in the Bay Area. The boat had water damage around the portlights (please see photos). Some of the wood was wet and some was dry but flaking. Most of the portlights seemed to have leaked at some point. Does anyone know the approx. cost to have this repaired? How bad could the water damage be? Thanks
 

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garryh

Member III
no idea of cost, it is very labour intensive work and also skilled, so will not be cheap; and there is no quick fix. Also no way to tell how extensive until you start poking around. But- the punkiness will extend farther than the dark areas by means of water wicking through the various plies. I have this same issue. I see two fixes but either way the damaged plywood must be excavated back to the fg interior surface. You can then patch in some new 1/2" plywood, fair it all, and apply teak veneer over the whole surface if you want the 'wood look. My plan is to do similar but after fairing, will paint the surfaces with an off-white to more or less match the colour of the gel surfaces. I think it will brighten up the interior.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
no idea of cost, it is very labour intensive work and also skilled, so will not be cheap; and there is no quick fix. Also no way to tell how extensive until you start poking around. But- the punkiness will extend farther than the dark areas by means of water wicking through the various plies. I have this same issue. I see two fixes but either way the damaged plywood must be excavated back to the fg interior surface. You can then patch in some new 1/2" plywood, fair it all, and apply teak veneer over the whole surface if you want the 'wood look. My plan is to do similar but after fairing, will paint the surfaces with an off-white to more or less match the colour of the gel surfaces. I think it will brighten up the interior.
There are pix on the site of Christian's excellent paint upgrade to the inside of his cabin sides. With some care, it will end up looking "just like factory". What with the cost of new mahogany or teak veneer, it seems like a good solution.
Plan B- once the surface is repaired or sealed, cover it with a piece of Formica matching the product # that EY used for all of their counter tops. I have done this in other areas like the hull ceilings I replaced. everyone thinks it looks like 'factory'. Well, that's what they said, anyway.
:)
Check our blog entries for the forepeak ceiling renovation.
 

markvone

Sustaining Member
What Gary said!
I went for the full teak replacement.


I also replaced the four fixed portlights and four opening ports at the same time. The materials (teak and glue) are not that expensive. I was able to replace the entire cabin side on my E36RH with a single 4x8 sheet of 1/4 inch teak veneer plywood. However, you need a source for your plywood, a way to get it home and a place to lay it out and cut it. The planning, time and labor are 95% of the replacement job if you have the tools, skills and motivation. It will be very expensive to have someone do this for you, due to the cost of the labor.
The patch and paint approach requires less time, skill and commitment so it can be done quicker and with great results by wider skill set. It's probably the better way to go for small areas of damage.

Either way, the source of the leaks has to be addressed. It's silly not to correct any leaking, crazed or fogged port lens while you're at it.

Mark
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
The general forum experience with the opening ports is this:

--Rebed the portlights. The caulk is 30-40 years old and it's time. Yank them out, clean them up, renew the seal, put them back. Or the portlights can be new ones. The holes in the cabin house are easily enlarged, if necessary, with a jigsaw.
--Deal with the cosmetic damage from the history of leaks. Either new teak, a woodworking project; or simply using epoxy products to smooth the ugly surface for paint. Owners with saloon curtains often find that much of the teak is hidden anyway, reducing the need for factory perfection.

This was one of the first jobs I tackled on Thelonious, and if I can do it anybody can.

 
On AnnaDor (E32-2), we bedded the non-opening ports with butle rubber tape. For the ugly plywood. we bought vinyl fabric and gimp to match the headliner. I stapled (s.s) at the top and bottom, then reinstalled the port frame. After screws were started, I was able to cut around the inside of the frame. Pulled the fabric up tight too. Oh, we had removed the teak trim underneath already. The gimp and teak trim covers all the staples. We decided on vertical seams between the ports to simplify the wrestling match. Also I purchased a long nose stapler for the gimp, because because it a real PITA!!!! to hold the slit open. I want to add that rebuilding the non-opening ports was NO Big Deal! Cleaning the frame was slow, installing new gaskets...a few dads of caulk on the edges of the glass... helps... you'll see. The materials resources I found on this sight.
 
I had the same problem with my E27. I ended replacing the leaking portlight with plexiglass.
Did you replace the glass inside the frames with plexiglass or did you create plexiglass portlights and attach them to the outside of the cabin? How does it look? Have pics? Going through that decision-making now that I've taken all the portlights out to rebed.
 
I was recently looking at a 1987 E32-2 for sale in the Bay Area. The boat had water damage around the portlights (please see photos). Some of the wood was wet and some was dry but flaking. Most of the portlights seemed to have leaked at some point. Does anyone know the approx. cost to have this repaired? How bad could the water damage be? Thanks
I'm in the middle of this repair now - some pics on my blog. It's a big job to fix it right. The wood damage on my boat was significant enough I didn't think I could just repair it. Pulled the portlights and stripped off the wood from bulkhead to bulkhead. I replaced with new marine ply and decided to paint it white rather than try to get the color to match. I ended up replacing the headliner in the process but if I had to do it over, would leave the headliner original and just deal with the wood. I haven't put the windows back yet. Still working on moulding and portlights.

It was not a small job. Given the number of hours, it would have been several K$ at least if I had had the yard do the work.
 

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My glass was foggy in places, so while I had the frames off; used 'opera black' window tint film from the auto parts store.
It was easy and looks great, and provides privacy.
 

p.gazibara

Member III
Oh man, huge job. Easiest fix, move the boat to Southern California or MX. (A place where it doesn’t rain)

All of the portlights on Cinderella were leaking by the time we got across the pacific.

The cabinsides of these boats are actually pretty thin fiberglass, I’m not shocked they all seem to have leaks. I went ahead and bonded structural foam to 4mm ply and bonded that whole mess to the cabinsides from the inside. Waaayy stiffer now.

I believe one of the memebers here epoxied the inner headliner to the cabinsides and that made a big difference. I was forced into something different because I removed the fiberglass headlinerconpletely.

If it flexes, it will eventually leak.

-P
 

Coco

New Member
Thanks for this. Do you expect significant thermal insulation benefits? Tell us more about the structural foam/ply layup. What material and what thickness. And exactly how did you re-install the fixed port frames?
 

Mark F

Contributing Partner
Blogs Author
Hi Coco,

Here is some more info on Cinderella's cabin side refit;
 

p.gazibara

Member III
Thanks Mark,

Yeah, 10mm structural foam was bonded to 4mm ply. I made templates of the cabinsides and traced them onto the foam/ply composite, then cut out the port light holes.

Then a bunch of clamps and some colloidal silica thicken epoxy was applied to both the cabin sides and the foam ply composite, and the whole mess was clamped to the inside of the cabin sides with as many clamps as I could find.

I then coved the foam/ply so that if the windows did leak, water couldn’t get between the laminate.

I’ll see if I can dig up some photos.

The ports then fit into the holes and were glued in with DOW 795 neutral cure silicone. (The same stuff that holds sky rise windows in)

No more leaks.

-P
 

goldenstate

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
Thanks Mark,

Yeah, 10mm structural foam was bonded to 4mm ply. I made templates of the cabinsides and traced them onto the foam/ply composite, then cut out the port light holes.

Then a bunch of clamps and some colloidal silica thicken epoxy was applied to both the cabin sides and the foam ply composite, and the whole mess was clamped to the inside of the cabin sides with as many clamps as I could find.

I then coved the foam/ply so that if the windows did leak, water couldn’t get between the laminate.

I’ll see if I can dig up some photos.

The ports then fit into the holes and were glued in with DOW 795 neutral cure silicone. (The same stuff that holds sky rise windows in)

No more leaks.

-P
This is very interesting. I spent some time this fall re-bedding a window and now it is leaking again in exactly the same place.

I wouldn't have thought the hull was flexing, but it follows the fact pattern.
 

G Kiba

Member III
Buytl-tape help solved any leaking caused from port/cabin top movement and from any expanding and contracting with temperature. It also makes it real easy to remove a port for other fixes that may come about. It does make a mess squeezing out over time but It easily cleans up with a plastic knife or scraper. Best news - no leaks between window frame and cabin top.
 

p.gazibara

Member III
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Maybe these photos help.

-P
 

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Thanks for this. Do you expect significant thermal insulation benefits? Tell us more about the structural foam/ply layup. What material and what thickness. And exactly how did you re-install the fixed port frames?
I'm honestly not sure how much insulation benefit. Hoping that there might be a little less condensation. For the plywood, I did not use any foam. I glued it directly to the fiberglass cabin walls. I needed to keep the overall wall thickness the same or the windows would fit properly. I used 1/4" marine ply - which is actually a bit thinner than 1/4. You need to be careful to clamp well around the window openings or there will be a space.

I haven't reinstalled the portlights yet. I intend to use butyl tape and silicon caulk. Someone had shared a pdf that showed the approach with the same windows on a Sabre. I haven't yet totally given up the idea of just using lexan windows on the outside of the cabin instead of the aluminum-framed windows. Likely easier to seal but changes the looks of the boat.
 
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