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Leaking windows

My windows and portholes are leaking and they are fixed by rivets. Is it best to dill the rivets out and replace with screws? Also should I clean the metal where the windows seat with a wire brush then treating it with fertan before using a seal? Thank you for your help.

Asked by: Andrew McLaughlin  | 11.52am, Sunday 10 March

WW says:

It sounds as though you have exactly the right idea. The rivets are probably "Pop-rivets" which are fairly easy to drill out as they have a hole in the centre where the wire used to be. Using a drill slightly smaller diameter than the rivet will avoid damaging the holes. Often boats have the windows fitted before the metalwork is properly painted so that any water getting under the sealant will lead to rust and further loss of the seal integrity.
Cleaning up any loose rust and treating with Fertan sounds good, but also painting the metal properly (not just with primer) will help the sealant to give a long lasting result. As to re-fitting the windows; they could be re-riveted in the same way as originally fitted. A pop rivet tool is simple to use but it is critical to use the correct diameter and length of rivet; the rivet length should be around the thickness of the window + seal + steel +1.5 x rivet diameter (so if the window + seal + steel is 10mm and the hole will take a 3mm rivet, the rivet should be around 14mm long). Self-tapping screws could also be used to re-fix the windows, or nuts and bolts but they are rather fiddly and require access to the inside surface.

Rupert Smedley  | 2.52PM, Sunday 10 March

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