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Raven1...
Raven1...

Posted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:34pm

Post Subject: leaking windows

I wonder if anyone might be able to help me with a problem i have regarding my Caldwell windows. We bought a new narrow boat from Harecastle boats and had a problem with a leaking window. It was a mystery where it was leaking from and in the end the interior trim had to be removed and they resealed all around the steel opening/ window joint from the inside. I have not had a problem with that window since. Subsequently though the next 2 windows down that side of the boat have started to leak very badly in extreme weather like we are having at the moment. It is not consistent and doesn't seem to have any pattern to it as there are days when nothing gets through. I have tried "Captain Tullies" to the seals and redone the outer seal between window and hull. We suspected that there may be a leak through the screw heads below the rubber trim although they look OK and it seems more water than could penetrate. Oddly the water was filling back from the drainage holes in today's rain storm, this doesn't happen on any of the other non leaking windows. When the rain had stopped I noticed from the outside that there seemed to be a run of water on the outside in the same place as where it leaks from the inside. This may or may not mean anything as it would naturally drain back this way from the way the boat sits in the water. Another thought that I had was that this problem has occurred on the side of the boat that presents to the sun most of the time. There is some expansion and contraction during this time... could this break the seals around the glass? I have looked at this problem for ages... I tried all kinds of test with hoses... i have asked everyone I have met about this but I am nun the wiser. What I do know is that the interior is getting spoilt and it needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Tony-B...
Tony-B...

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:40am

Post Subject: leaking windows

Being in the middle of removing all my windows to reseal them I can sympathise. In my view there is no way a leaking window should be "cured" by removing trim and sealing around the inside. The fact that this window has now stopped leaking but others are starting to points to just one thing as far as I am concerned and it does not reflect well on the builders. You mention screw heads so I assume the windows are fixed by screws from the outside into the cabin side or interior wooden framing and are not the clamp in type with clamps in the void between the cabin side and cabin lining. Your symptoms are almost exactly the same as mine although my boat is over 20 years old so is entitled to require attention. I believe your windows need to be taken out, the size of the window apertures checked in case they are too large or the windows have been fitted to one side of the aperture. Then, after any remedial steps that might be required are taken, the windows are refitted with new sealing material between the frame and cabin side. You can buy special materials from most large chandlers to do this. Some is a sort of strip of mastic/bluetack stuff on a roll and another is a foam product. Some people use a combined sealer/adhesive from a mastic gun like one of the Sikaflex products but I find the strips stuff easier and less messy. FWIW my worst leaks came from windows that had been fitted to one side of the aperture so the screws had very little to grip and the overlap for sealing was only a 1/8" or so. I had to screw aluminium strips to one side of the aperture to get a firm fitting and a bed for the sealer. I do not find it strange that rain driving against the side of the boat will fill the internal channel via the rain holes because of the slope of the cabin side but I would not expect it to overfill the internal channel. Tony Brooks

Raven1...
Raven1...

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:27pm

Post Subject: leaking windows

Dear Tony Thanks for the reply. They are of the screw type and saw them put the windows in as it was bought as a sail away. There did seem to be a good bed of seakaflex all around the aperture, the worst fitting was the one that leaked but as the linning was not fitted at that point I could see the joints. It was a mystery the first time as the water did not come from the window/ hull joint but seemed to emerge lower down through the foam. We put that first one down to a broken self taper. It could be that the other screws have perished as i don't think they used top quality screws and this might account for why it is happening now and not before. I wanted to check if there might be something else before i start to dismantle a 2 year old boat!!

Tony-B...
Tony-B...

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:03pm

Post Subject: leaking windows

If Sikaflex or a similar "gunned" sealer is used then my advice would be that a generous bead is applied to the window and then the screws only done up as far as required to push the sealer out all around the window. At this stage the window should not be tight against the cabin side. Then I would leave the sealer to cure and only after a cure would I fully tighten the window so the sealer forms a sorry of gasket that is compressed between the window and cabin side but also against the screws. I am afraid that if such sealers are used and the the window is fully tightened home before the sealer cures most of the sealer is squeezed out, leaving a very thin film. This can the easily leak. Even with the mastic strip I have used I have not tightened the windows fully home. I have only tightened them enough to force sealer out of the gap all the way round the window. I fully expect to have to tighten the screws a bit more over the coming years to maintain water tightness. I have no idea what type of foam you are talking about but even with spray foam if it was applied to a wet/rusty surface it would be possible for water leaking through the window aperture to run down behind the foam. Even more likley if the foam is a sheet product. I can not rule out a leaking weld in the gunwale/cabin side but it is unlikely. Tony Brooks

Raven1...
Raven1...

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:03pm

Post Subject: leaking windows

Again thank you Tony for your advise... and experience. They did tighten the screws fully home when they put them in so your theory of there only being a very thin bed of mastic would be right. With the expansion and contraction of the hull sides in the sun it could well have failed. It would appear that the only cure for this is to re fit the windows which I hope can be done without ruining the paint. Thanks again for you help on this one and good luck with the fitting of yours!

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