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Old 10-03-2011, 23:30   #1
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The Use of Butyl Tape to Attach Sealed Portlights to My Boat

I have heard that it is very effective, even without bolting the window in place. Not sure if it would react badly with Plexiglas or stand up to the weather and UV or the punishment of the waves. Anyone have any experience in using butyl tape to attach windows?
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Old 11-03-2011, 01:49   #2
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Re: The use of butyl tape to attach sealed portlights to my boat.

I recaulked one of the large fixed ports in the main cabin of my Pearson 35 with Butyl. The puka for the window was cut too large when built 40 years ago and the window frame overlapped the glass by barely a 1/4" in places. Used Butyl Tape from an auto parts store. Relatively easy to work with because it stays in a putty like state and isn't super sticky except to itself. Strung a rope of the tape around the edge of the frame. Wet down the cabin side as butyl won't stick to things that are wet. Installed the window which was way easy as I was able to maneuver the window around without the butyl sticking to the wet cabin side. Let the water evaporate then cinched the window down. It hasn't leaked in the year since and that's included a Transpac to Hawaii. Do not use solvent to clean up, btw. Paint thinner turns the butyl into a thin slurry that soaks into the gel coat. Scrape up the excess. Also best to wait until Temps are higher than 70 degrees to do an install. The stuff is very stiff in the barely 60 degree temps that I did my install in and it didn't compress and squeeze out well. The port surround didn't compress the butyl completely and left a 1/32" minus bead of caulk between the window frame and the cabin side. Was afraid it would seep out when the boat got into warm weather but it hasn't in six months in Hawaii.
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Old 11-03-2011, 05:45   #3
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Re: The use of butyl tape to attach sealed portlights to my boat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Dieterich View Post
I have heard that it is very effective, even without bolting the window in place. Not sure if it would react badly with Plexiglas or stand up to the weather and UV or the punishment of the waves. Anyone have any experience in using butyl tape to attach windows?

Unless your frames are somehow attached, other than the butyl, I would not use it. It will not harm the acrylic but has a low peel strength. Dow 795, Sikaflex 295 UV with the special primer or GE SG-4000 are the preferred sealants for bonding dead lights.

If compressed and held in place mechanically butyl works great but to just stick them to the boat at 10-20 PSI is not an idea I tend to feel very comfortable with. Butyl in compression is a wonderful product though..
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Old 11-03-2011, 05:47   #4
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Re: The use of butyl tape to attach sealed portlights to my boat.

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Unless your frames are somehow attached, other than the butyl, I would not use it. It will not harm the acrylic but has a low peel strength. Dow 795, Sikaflex 295 UV with the special primer or GE SG-4000 are the preferred sealants for bonding dead lights.

If compressed and held in place mechanically butyl works great but to just stick them to the boat at 10-20 PSI is not an idea I tend to feel very comfortable with. Butyl in compression is a wonderful product though..
Exactly!
Butyl is NOT an adhesive.
Butyl is a flexible gasket. Anything sealed with butyl must be mechanically fastened such that the caulking is under some compression.
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Old 11-03-2011, 06:31   #5
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Re: The use of butyl tape to attach sealed portlights to my boat.

Years ago I used butyl mastic to bed small insp plates, and regretted it. The stuff makes a nasty mess with exposure to solvents or the summer heat.

I don't believe in using "non mechanical" means of attaching ports to boats. I've seen too many that were bonded in, fail!

With all of the Lexan "nuts n bolts" ports on my Searunner, I went with what the Mfg. (GE), recommended. It is "SilPruf" silicone caulk. It is very resilient, and unlike the hdw store kind, it gives 40 minutes of work time, rather than 5 minutes!

It comes in colors, and must be ordered by the case of 12 tubes! (18 mo shelf life)

The trick is to tighten fastenings like torquing down the head of an engine, (opposing each other). Then JUST snug up, with SO little pressure that you can almost move it around! DO not squeeze out the caulk, or snug up more later. (Bolts holes must be quite oversized!)

Through numerous hurricanes and 15 years of cruising, mine have never leaked a drop. (and I have a LOT of them)...

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Old 11-03-2011, 06:54   #6
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Re: The use of butyl tape to attach sealed portlights to my boat.

I use the silpruf also, i can buy it a tube at a time if i want to from a local glass company, i super glue small plastic washers to the cabinside at each screwhole to prevent squeezing out the silicone because if you are wrapping a long, thick window around a curved cabinside you will squeeze it out in the middle even before you install the fasteners. I also typically use countersunk fasteners for appearance, others will warn against this but ive done it this way for decades with no issues at all so i see no reason to change. It is important to oversize the clearance holes so all the bearing is on the head.
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Old 11-03-2011, 07:02   #7
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Re: The use of butyl tape to attach sealed portlights to my boat.

On using the butyl tape, i have used it to aid in installing windows in a large rabbet on a C&C, the rabbet was wide and i ran the tape around the inside edge as both a spacer and a dam and then pumped the silpruf in from the outside and tooled it off,the butyl preventing silicone squeezout on the inside, i also used a few fasteners as a belt and suspenders approach as the original bonded windows clearly didnt work.
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Old 11-03-2011, 07:09   #8
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Re: The use of butyl tape to attach sealed portlights to my boat.

You can check the proper use of butyl tape here:

Re-Bedding Deck Hardware Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at pbase.com

Read the full article and there is also a lot of very googd advise about many boat projects here:

Compass Marine "How To" Articles Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at pbase.com
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Old 11-03-2011, 07:52   #9
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Re: The Use of Butyl Tape to Attach Sealed Portlights to My Boat

If you weren't already sold on Maine Sail's answer, that Compass Marine website is his- his level of expertise is clearly evident there.
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:54   #10
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Re: The Use of Butyl Tape to Attach Sealed Portlights to My Boat

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Originally Posted by Prerequisite View Post
If you weren't already sold on Maine Sail's answer, that Compass Marine website is his- his level of expertise is clearly evident there.
And even though I supppply butyl tape you notice I WILL NOT just recommend it for an incorrect application.. It is a sealant not a glue and only has about 10-20 PSI peel strength.

Butyl tape relies on proper installation techniques and compression. Done properly, under the right hardware, with the correct technique it can last well over 30 years. If you will be cleaning your decks with solvents I would not use it. Also, don't use it for diesel fills... If you have a wide enough portlight flange 1"+ a very thin bead on the inside edge of 1/16" thick butyl works well as a spacer so you don't squish out all the other sealant out. It can also hold the port in place until the sealant cures, BUT, you need a wide interface flange which most applications do not have. My general inclination is for mechanical spacers and a jig to hold the ports in place while curing. If the ports are mechanically fastened then you'd want a "shimmed butyl" used for architectural glazing but I'd still opt for the previously mentioned sealants for this application.

There are good applications for butyl I just don't feel this is one of them just like a fuel fill flange is not..
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Old 11-03-2011, 10:11   #11
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Re: The Use of Butyl Tape to Attach Sealed Portlights to My Boat

I'm using butyl nitrate tape to seal my portlights but as others have stated it is being used strictly as a gasket. I obtained a roll of the tape from an RV supply store. Much less expensive than the stuff at the auto supply store. A 40 ft roll that is approx 1 in wide and 1/8 in thick is $5.

Rich
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Old 13-03-2011, 18:31   #12
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Re: The Use of Butyl Tape to Attach Sealed Portlights to My Boat

Here is an article on no-screw window fitting using double-sided tape and silicon sealant. How to install boat windows and port lights
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Old 10-06-2015, 07:24   #13
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Re: The Use of Butyl Tape to Attach Sealed Portlights to My Boat

Here's a question for which I haven't seen an answer; although I may have simply missed it.

I have a '70s model Pearson 33 with framed deadlights similar to these:
Libations Too - Projects

Having used Bed-It Butyl tape just this past weekend for the first time to install new deck hardware, I feel pretty confident in the integrity of the product. We had some serious rainstorms on Monday, which confirmed that the fittings are, indeed, water tight. However I discovered that the deadlights are leaking, which I knew would be bound to happen soon.

My question is, is there any reason that butyl should not be used to seal the joint between the glazing channel and the glass? I know it can (and will be) used to fill the frame/house joint. I've had very mixed results using the Catalina Direct stuff before on other boats. One idea I have at the moment is to put butyl tape in the glazing channel, and a lot of it, and then once the compression is complete, top with caulking of some kind to prevent the butyl from picking up any dirt/debris that happens to come near it. Does this sound like a good plan?
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