Command Strips on Windows

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Don't put Command Strips on windows in the sun

Last spring, I thought I was being so clever to use Command Strips to hold Reflectix (that silver stuff with bubble wrap in the middle) over the windows. I even wrote about it here.

Covering windows

I used the Command Strips because I was worried about not being able to get other tape off the windows after it had sat in the sun for several months.

Well, Command Strips do absolutely no better!

Command residue

They left a hard residue and, in some places, the Reflectix fell down too.

We also learned from some Gemini owners that it’s better to put the Reflectix on the outside of the windows. Seems that having it on the inside does let a certain amount of that reflected heat stay in the boat, and that reflected heat and light can have a tendency to warp the hatches and big non-opening ports.

This summer, we’ll do things a bit differently. We have Outland Hatch Covers for the four opening hatches (love these!). Those are on the outside and already installed, so nothing to do there.

Outland Hatch Covers

On the two big “windows” we have Phifertex Plus snap-on shade covers that we use when we’re aboard. I’m simply going to put the Reflectix under these, as I saw several other boats do in the storage yard. That’ll be easy too.

Window shade

On the port and starboard ports, I’m not completely sure what I’ll do yet. I may put the Reflectix on the inside and tuck it into place in the port frames — they are shaded a good part of the day and other Gemini owners report that warping doesn’t tend to be a problem with them.

Oh, and all that residue from the Command Strips? It’s tough to get off since you shouldn’t use harsh chemicals on Lexan and you shouldn’t scrape at all. I ended up using diluted cleaning vinegar (roughly 50/50 with water) — quite a bit came off the first time, then I used it maybe once a week on what was left. Little by little, most of it has come off . . . but there are still a few stubborn bits.

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Comments

  1. Sami Bolton says:

    Hi Carolyn,
    I think you saw our window treatments on our first live aboard Ever After. It was years ago so Ill refresh your memory. On the small opening ports I used pretty colored foam type place mats, similar to drawer liner, but more attractive with much smaller holes. I attached each with several dots of Velcro right on to the port frame. They let some light in and gave it sort of a stained glass effect, but kept quite a bit of heat out and were very private. On the larger fixed ports, I used the foil/bubble wrap stuff as well. BUT, I spray glued cute fabric on to both sides, then cut to fit snug and didn’t have to use anything to keep them in place. It worked fine and looked very good from the inside and outside.

  2. WD 40 will remove the residue.

  3. I duct taped heavy duty alum foil outside of port. Heat reflected outside of boat. Ports won’t leak.

  4. We all learn by our mistakes..

  5. I just love my Outland Hatch Covers!

  6. Mary Yount says:

    The reflective material will function much better on the outside of the window/port/hatch. When the solar energy from the sunlight strikes a transparent surface, the wave length of the light is altered such that much of it’s energy is instantly turned into what is called sensible heat. That heat will enter the occupied space of the boat, raising the interior temperature. Somewhat simplified explanation.

    Additionally, adding reflective films to various plastics can cause damage, and in residential double pane glass will often destroy the seals allowing the window to fog, as well as lowering its insulation value.

  7. Katy in NH says:

    Try putting olive oil on that stubborn residue and letting it penetrate a bit. I have had good success with that.

    Katy

  8. I wonder if it’s the lexan, rather than the UV? Or perhaps the combination. I’ve been using command strips on the outside of our boat, exposed to full sunlight, with no problems removing it. The surface is painted with Awlgrip.

    We have small solar lights positioned over the two steps leading from the front half of the boat to the aft. At night, those dark, metal steps are killer! The lights work perfectly, but there was nothing to attach them to except the smooth, painted vertical outer wall of the trawler’s salon. After six months in the sun, I had to reposition one of them and the command tape came right off.

    It’s possible that there isn’t nearly as much UV exposure behind my lights as there was streaming through your windows, and that’s been the difference. But the lights are outside, with no shading structure above them. Interesting. I’ll definitely keep an eye on the tape; maybe I need to renew it every six months just in case!

  9. Have you tried goo-gone? We use it for all sorts of residues, and almost always works. Don’t know about lexan though.

  10. Carolyn
    I have had great success removing very old glue residue (I once left protective paper on a Lexan hatch for 10 years – thought it would never come off), Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and Toluene. The isopropyl took off the Lexan protective paper covering after I let it soak on the paper for over an hour. Isopropyl is very gentle to surfaces and the hands so it takes a long time to work but it does not attack the Lexan. I wet a paper towel with Isopropyl, lay it on a plastic bag and place them (paper towel against the Lexan) against the surface and hold it there for an hour with masking tape. When you remove the bag the glue will come off with a quick wipe. The Toluene will work a lot faster (I just it constantly as I am doing the refit on my P-40) but you need to be a little more careful with it. I have used it on many surfaces with no problems at all but I never leave it on. Wipe on – wipe off right a way and in most cases the glue residue comes off immediately. I have also used Xylene to remove glue and it works much like Toluene. Xylene is available at Home Depot/Lowes. Toluene is a little harder to find but very good paint stores like Sherwin Williams will carry it as will industrial suppliers like McMaster-Carr or Grainger.
    Chip

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