Last Updated on March 31, 2021 by Austin Cunningham
What is the best way to attach something to a kayak? Our materials engineer at work told me that the polyethylene needs to be flame treated.
The conversation stopped there because, quite frankly, a blow torch and my hull are not going to meet.
My shortest conversation ever!
However, after a bit of research, I’ve found other ways to do it. You can use glues. The best glue for kayaks will allow you to attach whatever you want in a safe manner.
The first thing that will come to your find is waterproof glue. Technically, you are not wrong. However, if you want to attach kayak thigh pads, you should seriously consider West System Gflex.
The thing is, I recently bought a Sun Dolphin Aruba 12 SS Sit-In Kayak because there are abundant rivers and local lakes where I live. I wanted to make use of these places as much I could, and that’s why I bought the kayak on a whim.
- Tracks and paddles with ease while offering maximum stability
- P.A.C. (Portable Accessory Carrier) can be used as extra storage
- Flush mount fishing rod holders
- Lightweight, easy to carry
- Rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex High Density Polyethylene
The boat itself is amazing. It has been an absolute pleasure kayaking with this boat. However, the only problem I found is that one of the thigh pads was glued on the wrong side. Although it isn’t that hard to remove, I will still need some kind of glue to put it back on my kayak.
I didn’t want to take the risk, so I ended doing a bit of research online. I asked some of my local kayakers as well as on popular forums, and everyone recommended the West System Gflex.
Another option was to use the Shoreline Marine GOOP.
- Fix your boat with a tough adhesive that stand up to harsh weather
- Strongest single component adhesive
- UV resistant; For maximum resistance, paint over Amazing GOOP Marine
- Seals with a tight, flexible waterproof hold
- For Use on : wood, glass, metal, laminate, fabric
This is a tough adhesive that you will prep and fix your kayak so that your boat can stand up to harsh weather. Since I play racquet sports a lot, I’m already used to repairing my shoes with shoe glue. So I thought, why not I do the same to my kayak?
Fixing A Compartment Bulkhead In My Boat
In my boat, this is the glue that I used to fix the compartment bulkhead. This was over a year ago, and it’s still going strong. For this, I would highly recommend the Sashco Lexel Flexible Caulk.
Hold it tightly in place while drying, and allow it time to dry/cure properly. It’s amazingly good stuff and showing zero signs of coming loose at all. This one is hands down the best sealant for polyethylene kayak on the market.
I think the Lexel caulk usually works the best with polyethylene. The manufacturers use it to seal the gap between the hull interior and the minicell bulkheads.
However, even the best sealant will not adhere well to polyethylene by itself. That’s a topic for another day.
What Is The Best Glue For Kayaks?
The short answer, there isn’t one. Different glues will work differently. You just have to know which one to use.
Due to their HDPE plastic construction, kayaks can be difficult to repair. That being said, it is definitely possible if you have the best glue for kayak hull repair. Let’s find out what kind of glue is best for Kayaks.
Because kayaks are constantly subjected to water and water-related collisions, repairs have to be watertight and incredibly durable.
Most household glues cannot be used on this type of plastic.
Best Glue For Repairing Kayak Hull
Have you been pumping more than paddling lately? You may have damage to your hull if your bilge pump is groaning due to overuse.
No matter how large the hole is or how small the crack, it must be repaired as soon as possible.
You should use a marine-grade two-part epoxy to repair hull damage on your kayak.
Despite being waterproof, it adheres to plastic well and dries exceptionally strongly.
To ensure that adhesive sticks to itself and forms a permanent plug, you should plug any holes from both the inside and outside.
If you need to repair the hull, you should use JB-Weld Waterweld, which is a marine-grade epoxy.
- J-B WELD WATERWELD: A hand mixable two part epoxy putty stick, that can cure under water and is ideal for repairing plumbing, fuel tanks, tubs and showers, drains, pool and spa, boats & potable water tanks and more! J-B Weld WaterWeld is certified by the NSF and is safe for contact with potable water.
- CURE AND SET TIME: After kneading the two part formula together by hand, WaterWeld takes 25 minutes to set and cures in 1 hour. J-B Weld WaterWeld set and cure color is off white.
- PRODUCT FEATURES AND STRENGTH: J-B Weld WaterWeld has lap shear strength of 1300 PSI, can withstand continuous temperatures up to 300F (149C) and intermittent temperatures of 350F (176 degrees Celsius) and is chemical resistant against petroleum, hydraulic fluids and other chemicals when fully cured.
- SURFACE APPLICATIONS: Iron & Stainless Steel, Copper & Brass, Aluminum & Bronze, Fiberglass and Plastic & PVC.
- DO IT YOURSELF: Big or small, you can DIY it with J-B Weld. Our heavy duty epoxy and adhesives repair & restore it right the first time. J-B Weld delivers superior performance, quality, and results for the World’s Strongest Bond.
The strong contact cement Dap 00271 Weldwood Original Contact Cement can cling to items that are above the waterline.
- DAP weld wood original contact cement premium quality, neoprene-based contact cement that meets the stringent requirements of the professional user
- High strength and initial grab make it ideal for most projects
- The upc of the product is 070798002715
- Solvent base formula
- Quick grab with super strength with flash point 22° F
To repair extremely long cracks or holes, a heat gun can be used instead, which melts the plastic hull and bonds it to replacement plastic.
This plastic can be easily molded and shaped when heated and can be further reinforced in case of major damage.
If you need more HDPE plastic, you can buy it online or use HDPE-made items around the house.
Best Glue For Inflatable Kayaks Or Emergency Repairs
If you want to repair inflatable kayaks, avoid the self-adhesive patches.
I had to patch a few spots on my inflatable over the years. I noticed two things.
I’ll never use patch kits again. They are worthless and a waste of money.
Make your own DIY patch from scrap rubber and epoxy by purchasing a two-part flexible epoxy.
Do this only if the cut is in a critical spot where a flex tape won’t work. However, for minor kayak repairs, use a rubberized waterproof tape like the Flex Tape.
- FLEX TAPE is a super strong rubberized waterproof tape that can patch bond seal and repair virtually everything!
- FLEX TAPE is specially formulated with a thick flexible rubberized backing that conforms to any shape or object!
- FLEX TAPE can be applied hot or cold wet or dry even underwater!
- FLEX TAPE instantly seals out water air and moisture to create a super strong flexible watertight barrier!
- FLEX TAPE is UV resistant VOC-free and has a wide temperature range so it can be used in extreme weather conditions!
You should not use glue for a small tear in an inflatable boat or kayak. Instead, opt for a weatherproof tape such as Flex Tape.
Using this tape, you will be able to repair any damage to your boat instantly, so you can get back to using it.
Despite its strength, Flex Tape will eventually degrade with constant exposure to UV and water, so make sure to monitor it from time to time.
What Is The Best Kayak Glue To Attach Hard Cell Foam To The Boat?
Here is a neat little information I found on the forum. There was this guy that was trying to get a second-hand Prijon Hurricane kayak ready for use.
The problem was in the seat. It was so buggered that he had to order hard cell foam so that he could glue it into place to form a seat.
Since it is a matter of glue, the choice is overwhelming.
If you are in this scenario, there are two options when it comes to choosing the best glue for kayak seats or foam pads.
First of all, you can try Marine Goop. It will work just fine if you want to glue a bulkhead made of CCF into a plastic kayak.
Another option would be to use rubber cement. This is what the manufacturer recommended when I tried to replace my thigh braces with foam rubber. It worked beautifully.
- Partner with a Slime plug or patch kit for a complete repair
- Built-in brush applicator
- For all rubber repairs
- Plastic hang tab for easy storage
The thing is, every time we use a different glue, it’s pretty common for people to worry about the glue reacting in some way with the plastic and ruining the boat, which is otherwise in good shape.
The recommended glue for sticking foam to the boat is contact cement. Since we are on the subject of attaching foam, why not check out my guide on the best foam glue.
The Evo Stik 250ml Impact Multi-Purpose Instant Contact Adhesive is a good option.
- High initial grab bonds on contact
- High shear strength
- Low odour
- Decorative laminates, rigid PVC, wood, chipboard, hardboard, cork, leather, rubber, stone, metal, dense film fabrics, ceramics, glass
You can also use this adhesive to attach kayak hip pads. Make sure to sand down the plastic so that it is rough, clean with rubbing alcohol or acetone to remove and little plastic dust bits.
However, contact cement is mainly for special circumstances, and it doesn’t dry very fast, so it’s a bit overkill most of the time. You don’t need anything else if you already have some.
Additionally, I suggest purchasing 3M 90 Spray Adhesive, which is a contact adhesive spray.
In only one minute, it becomes tacky. It is also straightforward to use. All you need to is spray both surfaces with a thin layer of adhesive, let them dry separately, then combine them.
It will work on leather, foam, metal, plastic, neoprene, and even wood.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What kind of plastic is my kayak made of?
High-density polyethylene. Most kayaks and canoes are made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE). The material is extremely hard to repair. Your boat has chemical properties that make it extremely flexible and durable. These same properties also make it very resistant to other materials bonding to it.
2. How to glue a kayak hull?
- Remove any dirt, grease, or dust from the affected area by thoroughly cleaning it.
- Increase adhesion by lightly sanding the area.
- Take a small amount of epoxy and apply it to the damage.
- The epoxy should be thoroughly mixed until it becomes a deep, uniform color.
- Take the epoxy and push it into the crack, hole, or wear.
- Smooth the putty between the joint and the damaged area.
- Let the putty cure for at least one hour.
- It can be sanded if necessary to make the epoxy dry.
To sum it up, make sure to use durable and robust glue like the JB-Weld Waterweld to repair small holes and fix cracks in your kayak hull. You might need to use a heat gun if it is significant damage. For additional modifications, you can use contact cement.
If it’s an inflatable kayak, follow the steps that I’ve shown you. That’s all there is to it. Hopefully, now you know which one is the best glue for kayak.