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Stay Afloat with the Best Glue for Inflatable Kayaks

Find the Best Glue for Your Inflatable Kayak

Find the Best Glue for Your Inflatable Kayak

Updated on 7/11/2024
Abigail ScottBy Abigail Scott
Hi, I'm Abigail 👋 Since embarking on my kayaking and boarding adventures in 2010, I've navigated rivers and lakes across North America and beyond. With over a decade of experience and countless waterways explored, I'm here to help enthusiasts like you embark on unforgettable water adventures!
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Kayaks are tough to glue because they're made of HDPE (Polyethylene Plastic), which isn't porous. So, regular household glues won't work.

Since kayaks get a lot of abuse from water and underwater collisions, repairs must be completely watertight and highly durable. Thus, a marine-grade epoxy such as JB-Weld Waterweld or a sturdy contact cement like Weldwood Contact Cement is the best option for fixing kayaks. The former is perfect for hull repairs, while the latter is excellent for anything above the waterline, like seats or fishing pole holders.

In case of giant holes or cracks, you can use a heat gun to melt the plastic hull and fuse it with replacement plastic. HDPE plastic has a low melting point, so it's easy to shape and mold when heated. Additionally, you can add more plastic to fill any significant damage. Online stores offer extra HDPE plastic or use everyday household items made from HDPE.

P.S. Kayaks might be hard to glue, but with the right tools and materials, you can make repairs that will last a long time. Happy kayaking! 😊

 

Best Glue for Repairing Kayak Hull 

Are you finding yourself pumping more than paddling? If your bilge pump is overworking, you may have hull damage.

Whether a small crack or a large gaping hole, repairing any damage to your kayak hull should be a top priority.

To fix hull damage, the best adhesive option is to use a marine-grade two-part epoxy like JB-Weld Waterweld. It's waterproof, adheres well to plastic, and dries exceptionally strongly.

For optimal results, plug any holes from both the outside and inside, allowing the adhesive to stick to itself and create a permanent plug.

Here's how to glue your kayak hull:

  1. Clean the affected area thoroughly, removing dirt, grease, or dust.
  2. Lightly sand the site to increase adhesion.
  3. Break off a part of your JB-Weld Waterweld epoxy material, enough to fill the damage.
  4. Mix the two-part epoxy thoroughly until it's a solid, uniform color.
  5. Push the Waterweld into the crack, hole, or gouge until it starts coming through to the inside of the hull.
  6. Smooth out the putty on both the inside and outside, extending it slightly beyond the damaged area.
  7. Allow at least one hour for the putty to cure.
  8. If needed, the dry Waterweld can be sanded to be more streamlined.

With suitable adhesive and proper technique, you can repair your kayak hull and return to paddling quickly!

JB Weld Waterweld
Our Overall Review
4.4
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How to Repair Kayak Hull with a Heat Gun

If you don't have any adhesive at hand, but you have a heat gun or a significant repair or crack that is too large for bonds, you can use a heat gun to melt the hull back together.

Most kayaks are made from HDPE plastic, which has a low melting point, allowing you to melt additional plastic and fuse it onto the hull to repair any damage permanently.

You can purchase an affordable heat gun on Amazon if you don't already have one.

Here's how to repair your kayak hull with a heat gun:

  1. Use a heat gun to heat the affected area on the kayak's surface.
  2. Heat some donor plastic, either salvaged from household items or purchased online.
  3. The donor plastic should be HDPE (recycling code 2), commonly found in plastic household containers.
  4. Force the molten plastic into any cracks or holes in the hull.
  5. Ensure that some plastic goes through the inside of the hull to form a plug.
  6. The plastic will chemically fuse and become indistinguishable from the original hull plastic.

While repairing a kayak hull with a heat gun may seem intimidating, it can be a cost-effective and permanent solution for more extensive damage. With a bit of practice, you'll be able to get your kayak back in the water in no time!

 

Best Glue for Kayak Modifications & Additions Above the Waterline 

If you need to attach something to the top or inside of your kayak, such as a fishing pole holder, your best option is strong contact cement.

GlueReview recommends Weldwood Contact Cement for adhesive contact projects. It's affordable, water-resistant, solid, and adheres well to plastic. This product also works well for marine applications, including installing hydro turf on boats and personal watercraft.

Best Glue for Kayak Seats and Foam Pads 

You have several options when installing seats and foam pads in your kayak.

Weldwood Contact Cement is a solid choice, but it's overkill for most situations and takes a long time to dry. If you don't already have some, consider using a contact adhesive spray like 3M 90 Spray Adhesive instead.

It becomes tacky in only one minute and is easy to use. Spray a thin adhesive layer on both surfaces, leave them apart for a minute, then press them together for a strong bond. This product works on foam, leather, plastic, metal, wood, and neoprene.

Best Glue for Inflatable Kayaks 

If you have a small tear in your inflatable kayak  or canoe, your best option isn't glue. Instead, use weatherproof tape like Flex Tape.

Flex Tape is a rubberized, flexible, weatherproof tape that will seal any small tears instantly, allowing you to use your boat again. Although it's highly durable, constant exposure to U.V. and water can cause it to deteriorate over time. So, keep an eye on it and replace it when necessary.

With the right adhesive for your kayak modifications and repairs, you'll be able to enjoy your time on the water without any worries.

NRS Stabond Adhesive
Our Overall Review
4.4
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Our Overall Review
4.6
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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of glue for inflatable kayaks?

The purpose of glue for inflatable kayaks is to repair tears, cuts, or other damages to the kayak material. This type of glue is specifically designed to adhere to the material of inflatable kayaks, ensuring a strong and long-lasting repair.

What type of glue is best for inflatable kayaks?

The best type of glue for inflatable kayaks is a rubber-based or vinyl-based adhesive. These types of glues are specifically designed for inflatable materials and provide a strong, flexible bond that can withstand the stress and strain of being in the water.

How do I apply glue to my inflatable kayak?

To apply glue to your inflatable kayak, you will need to clean and dry the damaged area thoroughly. Then, using a brush or dropper, apply a thin layer of glue to the damaged area and spread it evenly. Allow the glue to dry completely before using the kayak again.

How long does it take for the glue to dry?

The drying time for glue on inflatable kayaks can vary depending on the type of glue and the conditions. In general, it takes anywhere from 24 to 48 hours for the glue to fully cure and reach its maximum strength.

Can I use any type of glue on my inflatable kayak?

No, not all types of glue are suitable for use on inflatable kayaks. It is important to use a glue that is specifically designed for inflatable materials, as other types of glue may not adhere properly or may become brittle over time.

How often should I check for damages and repair them?

It is recommended to inspect your inflatable kayak for damages before and after each use. If you notice any damages, it is important to repair them as soon as possible to prevent them from getting worse and to ensure the safety and longevity of your kayak.