How to Select a Window Material


Although we’re almost certain you’re out on the water enjoying the beautiful sunshine, we thought you might appreciate a guide to selecting the right window material. We frequently get asked the question: “What window material should I use for my project?” Whether you’re working on an enclosure, dodger, sunroom or windshield or adding a window to your bimini or sail, you’ll need to choose a window material.

There are several elements to consider when selecting a window material:

  • • Optical Clarity
  • • Scratch Resistance
  • • UV Resistance
  • • Stain/Chemical Resistance
  • • Hand
  • • Price

Sailrite offers a variety of window materials, and although several of the materials are interchangeable in application, each brand has a varying degree of each element that may help you make a more informed decision. For a quick reference guide and brand comparison chart, view our Window Material Buying Guide PDF by searching (#300087XHT) at

O’Sea® & Strataglass™:  Premium press-polished clear vinyl with exceptional optical clarity and UV durability. Coated to provide a scratch and chemical resistant barrier. O’Sea has a soft and flexible hand. Strataglass has a medium hand and is semi-firm.

Regalite®, Crystal Clear & Kal-Glas: Press-polished clear vinyl with excellent optical clarity and good UV resistance. Average scratch resistance and little chemical resistance. Regalite has a soft and flexible hand. Crystal Clear & Kal-Glas have a medium hand and are semi-firm.

Plastipane: Economical polished clear vinyl with good optical clarity. Very soft, very flexible, and comes on a roll.

How to Install a Window

After selecting the right window material for your project, you’ll need to install it! Follow these 5 easy steps to install a window in a canvas project or sail.

  1. Cut the window material to your desired window shape.
  2. Baste the window in place with seamstick over top the fabric.
  3. Sew the window in place using V-92 or V-69 thread and the appropriate needle size.
  4. Use scissors to trim away the fabric from the window.
  5. Bind the raw fabric edges with binding (optional).
  1. After reading all the information, it became apparent that the various products were for fabric enclosures. A second set of options would be helpful regarding replacement of hatches where strength, UV resistance, and scratch resistance are required.

    • Not sure I follow. Why do you want to use clear vinyl over a lexan hatch?

  2. Bob Ohler said:

    Great e-mail and advice! Please post what is suggested for cleaning any of these materials.

  3. Evan said:

    I can’t imagine it being very easy to bind the edges after the window material has been sewn on. I think it would be easier to: 1) cut the window material to size/shape, place it on the fabric; (2) lightly outline and measure an inside hem (either 3/8 or 3/4) all around; (3) cut along hem lines, and install binding tape on the fabric while stitching the fabric hem; (4) place seamstick on the binding tape/hem and cover with the precut window material; (5) stitch window material onto hem.
    I personally like to install binding tape to the window material also. I haven’t yet seen if this configuration allows leakage… I hope not. This is also a technique I’ve been using on “bags” (for see-through pockets and such).

  4. Marv. Heide said:

    Love it. Send more of them

    • Cassie said:

      Thanks! Let us know if you have any suggestions for topics in our tidbits!

  5. Jim said:

    Good information. Thanks. However it would be extremely helpful to have a video or slide presentation with detailed instructions for installing windows on a Bimini top.

    • Cassie said:

      Hi Jim – We’re actually working on a new window video that would feature the same procedure for installing a window in a bimini. I’ll post a link to it here when it’s finished!

  6. One thing you did not include in your discussion that I find very important as a marine canvas fabricator is shrinkage, either with temperature changes or over time.

  7. Hi David, Great point. The problem here is that none of the manufacturers like to discuss or even mention shrinkage. In general you can assume the more expensive glass will not shrink noticeably. The “Plastipane” sold by the foot would be the most likely candidate to shrink over time.

  8. JC Campbell said:

    Get info on window material. Do you have a video to go with it?

  9. Darren said:

    Would you please make a back drop for a boat. Not sure if that is the right wording. I will describe for you. You have a windshield on the boat…….a canvas top, 2 sides and a back drop canvas with window.

  10. It was fascinating to read about all the different types of windows, thanks! My wife and I have recently been trying to decide if we need to replace our windows, and this guide will be a good thing to discuss later. I appreciate the guide at the end too, that’s definitely something I’d need.

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