This is something we did last year, but never blogged about, and as we're now back into the boat blog with a vengeance now seems like a good time for a catch up.
Our old skylights were simple wooden frames that sat onto the H beams that both hold the roof up and form the edges of the skylight apertures. They were getting old and tatty, and leaked, particularly after a dry spell, when the wood would shrink and water would then pour through the joints of the frames. They were also single glazed and dripped with condensation in the winter.
With all of our insulating everywhere else on the boat, it seemed silly to then have 12 huge single glazed skylights with heat pouring out into the night, so we decided to work out a way of putting in double glazing. A quick look at traditional double glazed skylight companies like Velux confirmed that not only would each skylight cost 10 times our entire budget, but that unless we built a slate roof onto the boat they wouldn't really know how to fit them.
So, as with everything boaty, or maybe just everything Lorna and Steve-y, we decided to design and build it all ourselves, saving vast amounts of money and getting just what we wanted rather than the closest off the peg skylight that sort of fitted the hole.
We started sketching out ideas,
and once we had a design finalised we went to a local metal fabrication company and got them to build us a 'kit' comprising the frame for the actual glass (i wanted them to weld this as they could make sure it was perfectly square and true in their workshop) and then a series of pieces of metal cut to size that we could weld in to make the lip that our window frame 'lid' would sit over, a bit like a biscuit tin lid fits over the top of the tin.
We got the frames and the pieces for the lips
then it was out with the welding machine
and lorna got to work welding it all in, while i cut pieces to size, positioned and clamped them.
then it was time to get the double glazed panels, which we'd ordered separately from a local glazier, into the frames
before putting the new windows on!
These were already much better than what we had previously, but we decided that to do it justice we really neeed to increase the pitch of the windows a little, so we went back to the metal fabricators and ordered some more pre cut pieces
and welded them onto the frame, increasing the pitch for the window so that rain would run off more easily. You can just see it in the picture below.