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How to Repair an Inflatable Boat?

Views: 264     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2021-10-11      Origin: Site

Repairing an inflatable boat usually involves patching holes. There’s nothing worse than the squealing noise of air leaking from your treasured inflatable boat. You pump up the inflatable tubes, but they don’t stay solid. And it’s all because of one tiny hole. As annoying as it may be, this is all it takes to render your boat useless. That’s why knowing how to fix this small problem is so important.


Two types of holes are common in inflatable ocean boats, holes you can see and holes you cannot see. For the holes you can find, the best repair is always to patch it with material and glue. You will need to know the material your boat is made of (Hypalon or PVC) as the better glues are specific to the material. The second types of holes are what boat manufacturers call “porosity.” All inflatable products, regardless of manufacturer, develop pinhole leaks over time. Typically, your boat loses air over a day or two but you cannot find a hole on the outside to patch. This is an annoying thing.


This article will mainly introduce how to repair an inflatable boat.



1. Find Leak

Finding a tiny hole can be very difficult. Even if you inspect your favourable inflatable boat closely and listen carefully, you might still miss it. That’s why you should use soapy water. With it, you’ll never miss the hole. Inflate your boat, then spray soapy water all over. Escaping air will push against this layer of suds and create bubbles. It’s the fastest and easiest way to find a leak. Once you find it, mark the spot with a sharpie. Then deflate your boat and move to the next step.



2. Prepare Patch

PVC and Hypalon (the two most popular inflatable materials) are both slippery. Without proper preparation, your patch is going to slide right off. That’s why it’s important to roughen your patch before you get to gluing. To roughen, scratch it with sandpaper until it loses its shine. Do not do this too hard – you don’t want to remove a layer, you just want to remove its smoothness. In this way, your glue will have a much better “grip”. Don’t forget to also sand the area where you’ll apply the patch.



3. Clean Boat

Next, you want to clean off the roughened area. PVC is plastic, while Hypalon is rubber. You’ll need a different type of cleaner for these two. For PVC, use a plastic cleaner. While Hypalon goes well with toluene or acetone. If in doubt, use rubbing alcohol. It won’t work as well, but at least you won’t damage your boat.



4. Apply Glue

There are several critical things you need to know before applying glue. One is that you need the right glue. Again, PVC and Hypalon are very different from one another. For PVC and other plastic inflatable products , use something like Stabond. Next, you need to cure the glue. This isn’t an instant fix. It’s a long but permanent solution. To properly repair your boat, you’ll need 3 layers of glue.



5. Apply Patch

Now take your patch and slowly stick it to your boat. Start from one side, gently press it down, making sure no air bubbles. Once the whole patch is down, take a roller and flatten it completely.



6. Finish Up

Next, take a cloth and your cleaner, and wipe off any excess glue. Now, all there’s left to do is wait. Give the glue at least 24 hours to harden. If you’re not in a hurry, waiting for up to 3 days will ensure nothing goes wrong.


Common inflatable products are easy to leak, such as inflatable sofa beds, inflatable tubes, inflatable pool float, etc. Learning how to repair inflatable products can better extend the service life of inflatable products.




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