How to Repair Holes and Seal a Kayak

How to Repair Holes and Seal a Kayak
Year after year, plastics are made stronger and more durable. Today's kayaks can take surprisingly hard hits without cracks or punctures. Nevertheless, holes can appear, and in order to keep your boat watertight, they need to be repaired. Plastic kayaks are repaired by a welding process, similar to the way metal is welded. Welding can be tricky, but don't be discouraged if your weld doesn't look perfect when you're done. As long as it is watertight, your mission is accomplished.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Protective gloves
  • Protective eyewear
  • Welding heat gun with reducing nozzle
  • Plastic polyethylene weld rod
  • Wire cutters
  • Rasp or Surform scraping device
Step 1
Put on protective gloves and eyewear. You are going to be working with hot, melting plastic, which poses a significant burn risk to the hands and can cause permanent damage should it come in contact with your eyes.
Step 2
Preheat the end of the weld rod to a visible melt using the welding heat gun. The plastic will be sweaty and limp for at least the first 1/4 to 1/2 inch.
Step 3
Insert the heated end of the weld rod into the hole and begin to slowly twist the rod. As the plastic melts the end of the rod as you twist, it will gradually fill the hole. Continue to apply heat from the welding gun to the weld rod just above the hull until the hole has been completely filled.
Step 4
Cut the remaining weld rod using wire cutters. Cut as close to the hull as possible so that you do not end up with excess plastic, which could stick out sharply from the side of the boat and pose a laceration hazard.
Step 5
Smooth the weld and flatten with gloved hands. Even after the heat is removed, the plastic will remain malleable and very hot, so protective gloves are a must. Once the plastic has fully cold, the rasp or other scraping device can be used to file away excess and further smooth out the area.

Article Written By Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams has spent over 11 years working in the information technology, health care and outdoor recreation fields. He has over seven years of technical and educational writing experience, and has brought strong skills and passion to the Demand Studios team in articles for eHow and Trails in 2009.

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