When the damage of your boat windshield is too severe for a simple repair, or it has a chip or crack that interferes with your vision, it is time to replace it. Though replacing boat windshield can be a tedious and labor-intensive job, you can save a lot of money by buying a new windshield or pre-cut glass in a local shop and doing the installation yourself.
- Flat-head screwdriver
- Phillips screwdriver
- Rivet gun
- Your new boat windshield
- Rubber grommets
Removing the Old Windshield
As you take your windshield apart, it is important to pay attention to how it is installed. This way, you will have an easier time mounting your new windshield later.
The screws that hold the windshield in the frame are usually covered by plastic screw caps or protectors. Pop them off using the flat-edge of a small screwdriver and set them aside.
Remove the metal screws with a Phillips screwdriver and set them aside together with the screw protectors. They can’t go missing because you will need them later. Lift the old windshield off and remove it from the frame.
In some boat models, you would need to pry the whole frame off the deck to remove the old windshield from the frame. In that case, use a rivet gun to tear off the frame before removing the windshield.
Choosing Your New Windshield
Boat windshields vary in sizes and styles. Some are flat, and some are curved. Some are consist of a single windshield, while some are available in dual pane. The best choice when looking for a replacement windshield is to contact your manufacturer.
However, when your manufacturer is already out of business, or you think their asking price is too high, you can contact other boat windows manufacturers that sell custom made windshields or take a look at local glass shops in your area.
Some local glass shops and marine supply manufacturers can offer equally durable but less expensive options in replacing boat windshield. Such as those made of tempered glass, polycarbonate (Lexan), or acrylic (Plexiglas). Just make sure to take the measurements and specifications of your windshield properly.
Installing the New Windshield
Depending on where you buy your new windshield, it might not have the holes to fit the screws in. First, have a friend hold the windshield on the frame and make sure it aligned properly. Locate the holes on the frame and mark each hole on the windshield using a black marker.
Find a stable place for drilling. Put a wood scrap behind the first whole you are going to drill and drill the glass at high RPM. Be careful not to use too much force lest you damage your new windshield. Put the rubber grommets on the holes.
Position the replacement windshield on the frame. Make sure the screw holes are lined up with the holes on the frame before inserting the screws and tightening them.
When inserting the screws, make sure they go straight—not slanted or crooked. Or else they might ruin your windshield in the long run. Place the screw caps over each screw to protect them from rust.
In cases where you need to remove the whole frame, put it back with the rivet gun. Using stainless crews to fasten the frame to the deck would make it loose.
You do not necessarily have to be an expert. Replacing boat windshield is achievable with enough patience and carefulness. You can treat it as a way to get to know your boat better— it can save you hundreds of dollars in labor fees too.