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Old 11-01-2012, 20:44   #1
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Window Join Leaks on Steel Boat

Hi All
I have a steel boat with windows (now that's a surprise!). I have noticed that water is getting down between the window and the bog/ steel plate. What is the best way of sealing the join so water and hence rust stops forming?
I am also wondering although I haven't looked yet whether it is condensation on the inside causing the rust to form and working its way to the outside. Everyone says steel boats rust from the inside out.
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Old 12-01-2012, 01:19   #2
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Re: Window join leaks on steel boat

Everything on a steel boat is labour intensive, but what I did on Boracay was :-

1) Remove portholes. This involved wood blocks, clamps and slowly increasing pressure until the porthole crept free.

2) Remove every trace of the old mastic.

3) Treat any rust. As a steel boat owner you should have your favourite method. Mine involves a Dremel clone, diamond bits (off Ebay), phosphoric acid, POR-15 and topcoats.

4) Go for your mastic of choice. I started with silicone, learned it was a no-no and moved to polyurethane. If I have plans to ever remove it I now use butyl mastic.

5) I've never used those fancy tapes. I like to have mastic filling every possibly gap and crevice so water can never lodge.

Note:- My opinion is that a dissimilar metal (particularly aluminium) should never lie close to steel. The electrolytic action seems to peel the paint off the steel allowing salt water in. Seen a few near disasters.
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Old 12-01-2012, 01:36   #3
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Thanks for that information. I found the Por 15 the best. I had a few rust spots near the water line and used their products. That was two years ago and I wouldn't use anything else now. Do it once and unless it gets chipped rust problem stops. (so far touch wood). Like you I go that little bit further and try and get back to clean steel. The Por15 stops any small spots I may have missed.
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:32   #4
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Re: Window join leaks on steel boat

Windows and portholes - that is where you will find rust also in the future. If you just want to stop the leak, there is a variety of marine sealants/mastics/glues you can use. If you remove your windows, you will most likely find rust. For that, I can only recommend grinder and sandblasting - I believe that for a job well done there is no substitute for them.

On our boat, the window glass has holes drilled about 7 apart all around the edge. There is a sealant/mass between the window and the hull and a stainless steel frame on top of the window. The window is secured on place with bolts that will go through the frame, window and hull. The bolt is not the same quality of metal as the hull is, and no matter how carefully they are set after painting, they always seem to get in contact. That where the rusting on windows starts.

If you have never sandblasted before, do not hesitate. It is a very simple job, and for small areas fairly low cost equipment will do. If there is a thick layer of rust, use a grinder to remove the most, then sand blast. That will save a lot of time. Just cover the nearby areas so that they will not get dirty and rusty. For small areas, I use a pistol with silicone head/tip. You push the head/tip firmly to the spot. The pistol has its own small sand container. While in operation, it circulates the sand from the container, to the tip and back eating the rust on the surface. There is very little sand flying around. I paid about $20 for this pistol (new) and it has worked now for four years. Always paint immediately and always work on dry and warm weather only.

The methods suggested by Boracay will work as well. Especially, if it really is just a spot, just use Dremell or something similar. If it is anything more, go for grinder and sandblast. Acid is very good for deep cavities hard to access otherwise. Use whatever combination needed or preferred, but do get rid of every tiny spot of rust before painting. That way you are more unlikely having to do it again within the next few years - or on the worst case - next year.

Disclaimer: I am not a pro, I have just had a steel boat for some while. If there is a pro giving you another advice - go for it.
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Old 12-01-2012, 15:18   #5
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Thanks for any practical advice. It is all greatly appreciated.
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