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How to Repair a Rip in Clear Vinyl

We all know that rips and tears happen, but when they happen to the clear vinyl in your dodger or enclosure it’s a real bummer. Rips and tears often occur when something sharp or heavy hits the vinyl or falls on it. Don’t worry; it’s a common and fixable problem. We’re going to share with you two different methods for fixing your rip or tear, patching it and replacing the vinyl, so your clear vinyl will be good as new in no time.

Patching Clear Vinyl

The quickest and cheapest way to fix a rip or tear in your clear vinyl is to patch it. Ultimately, we prefer to replace the window but if you need a quick fix or just to make do until a bigger renovation a patch is a great option.

To patch the window, use Tear Aid Type B. These adhesive-backed patches can be used to repair holes and tears in any vinyl or vinyl-coated application so they’re great to have around your boat. Tear Aid patches are durable, flexible and puncture resistant to protect against abrasion, moisture, saltwater, UV rays and extreme temperatures. The patches are clear, but they won’t disappear completely on your clear vinyl.

How to Repair a Rip in Clear Vinyl

How to Apply Tear Aid

  1. Cut the patch so that it is one inch bigger than the rip or tear on all sides.
  2. Then carefully peel back the paper liner and start to position the Tear Aid over the rip on the fabric.
  3. Slowly peel back the liner while carefully applying the patch, taking care to work out any air bubbles.
  4. Rub all the edges to seal the patch in place. If you can, we recommend patching both sides of the rip.
  5. Tear Aid Type B will need 24 hours to fully cure.

Getting the patch on without air bubbles can be tricky, so be sure to take your time. It helps to use a straight edge like the side of a credit card to smooth the patch down. If you do end up with air bubbles, you can carefully pop them with a pin and work them out flatter with your fingers.

Replacing Clear Vinyl

The only true way to fix the rip is to replace the window entirely. This can easily be done without having to completely dismantle your canvas work, too. Here we have a video that demonstrates the process of replacing the glass on a dodger window. You can use this same process on clear vinyl that has become wavy, creased or brittle as well.

How to Replace a Clear Vinyl Window

  1. If needed, rip the stitches so the window will lay flat.
  2. Cut a new piece of window material that will fit the window, using the current window as a pattern.
  3. Baste the new window to the old on the inside of the piece.
  4. Sew the new window material in place.
  5. Flip the piece over and carefully cut out the old window.
  6. If you ripped seams in Step 1, carefully sew that area back together

That’s all there is to it! You can find all the supplies you need at Sailrite.com.

Have you ever ripped your clear vinyl? How did you fix it? Share your experiences in the comments.

Thinking about making a new dodger? Or maybe putting a window in your sweeping mainsail? Those projects and many more require the use of a clear vinyl window material. With all the different brands and gauges, it can be hard to tell which material will best suit your project. Our Window Material Buying Guide can help (we shared that here), but for a little extra assistance we’re going to explain some window material terms and provide more in-depth explanation.

Window material has it’s own unique set of buzz words. Here are a few to be on the look-out for when making your selection.

4 Window Material Terms to Know:

Pressed & Polished: This refers to a common method of manufacturing clear vinyl. Pressed and polished goods are made by taking two layers of material and pressing them together between highly polished chrome plates. This creates one, thicker polished sheet. This method produces the most optically clear and consistent clear vinyl. They often come in sheets of 54” x 110”. Pressed and polished brands include: Strataglass, O’Sea, Crystal Clear, and Regalite.

Gauge: The gauge of window material refers to the thickness. A 20-gauge material is 0.020” thick; a 30-gauge piece is 0.030” and so on. Gauge can also be a measure of flexibility. Typically, the thicker the gauge the less flexible the window material will be.

Optical Clarity: The optical clarity of a window material tells how easy it is to see through. Generally speaking, the more expensive, pressed and polished goods have a higher optical clarity. Optical clarity is also linked to gauge. The thicker the gauge, the better the clarity.

Scratch Resistance: Clear vinyl is inherently a little prone to scratches. Some window materials however, come pre-treated with a scratch resistant coating. This coating is valuable for the longevity of your window material. To minimize the risk for scratches, keep your vinyl windows as clean as possible.

Now that you’ve got all the terms down, it’s time to see how they relate.  In this video Matt Grant, Sailrite Vice-President, explains the differences between the window materials we carry and some of the preferred uses of each. Take a look.

 

Use your new terms and knowledge to select the perfect window material for your next project. All the materials discussed are available at www.sailrite.com.

What is most important to you when choosing a vinyl window material? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

Vinyl Window Installation Video

After you select a window material for your application, you’ll need to learn how to install the vinyl window. Windows are often added to enclosure fabric side panels, bimini tops, or even dodgers after they are constructed for increased visibility and lighting. Just recently, we filmed this step-by-step instruction video on how to install a vinyl window in canvas. It will walk you through the process of installing a vinyl window in an existing canvas or vinyl fabric panel. Learn more at Sailrite.com.

 

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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 Sailrite.com

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).
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