Originally Posted by gregdettmer
I donít have any experience with either company but have replaced them myself. It is not a very complicated task so I would imagine any company that does it as there business would do a great job. I would shop based on price or turn around time which ever was more important
If you do it yourself it is rather straight forward
1) Using a thin knife blade cut through the older sealer to remove the existing piece of acrylic. Takes less than an hour for most hatches
2) Take the old piece of acrylic to a local supply shop, most cities have at least on supplier. They will use the old piece as a template to cut you a new piece. Usual turn around time is 24 hours or less. My local supplier will do it while I wait if there not back up with other jobs.
3) Get some sealer ( multiple options are available)
4) Remove all old sealer from existing frame (very important to ensure no leaks). Plan to spend 1 to 2 hours on this.
5) Place a bead of sealer around the base of the frame where the acrylic will sit, set the new piece of acrylic in sealer and allow to cure. Takes about 20 minutes, then cure time varies on sealer I usually just wait overnight.
6) After sealer has cured, come back and add additional sealer between the edges of acrylic and the frame, this is the sealer you will see when the job is complete. You could do this step before the initial application of sealer has cured, but letting it cure first just helps to ensure good alignment.
These are just the high level details of what the job entails but not to complex.
s/v Spirit Soul
Absolutely. Further to Greg's comments, if you can use a router, you can do it all yourself very easily. I was given a good Lewmar hatch with a crazed lens. I got an offcut of smoked plexi of the right thickness and cut it to fit with a router - just stick them together with double sided tape (don't remove the mask from the new piece before doing this) and rout around it using the old piece to guide the bearing on the router bit.
Before separating them, be sure you have drilled all the hinge and or handle holes as applicable, using the holes on the old lens as drill guides.
Separate the two, fit the new piece in the hatch frame and mark the edge with pencil on the mask. Remove the lens, trim the mask to the pencil line with a razor knife and peel off the thin strip of mask around the perimeter - this leaves the surface of the lens protected from drips of sealant etc.
Remove the lens and mask the hatch frame top & bottom alongside where the sealant will go. Put sealant in the mounting lip and fit the lens back in place, LIGHTLY clamped to ensure a snug fit - over clamping will squeeze out too much sealant which must bond the lens in as well as seal it from leaks. I used cheap spring clamps with all the strength of clothespins. Be sure to run a wet finger around the top seam to smooth the sealant.
When the sealant has tacked off, peel off the mask on both sides, put the latches and hinges back on, et viola - a new hatch.
This is a very easy and satisfying job. Doing the routing and drilling yourself makes a major savings (percentage wise) over having a plastics shop doing it. I asked about it and it would have doubled the cost compared to buying the plastic off cut. The whole thing cost me about $90 including the expensive tube of adhesive glazing sealant. You must be careful with your selection of adhesive sealant - many will eat acrylic, many won't bond well etc. Industrial glazing sealant, namely Dow Corning 795 was recommended and worked well for me. It's silicone but it is used for installing curtain wall glazing on highrises so I think it will hold a hatch lens in.