DIY Kayak Repair

Kayaking Resources

Composite Kayaks Gel Coat Repair

1.Sand the damaged area and also œ inch around the area with 80 grit sand paper, creating a dish in the area to be repaired.
2. Clean the sanded area with acetone and mask around it.
3. Place fresh gel coat in a cup and ad catalyst * in the following amounts: (* Catalyst can not be sent in the mail. You can purchase it at a marine or auto body supply store. Ask for catalyst or hardener for polyester resin) - Above 65 degrees F: use 5 cc (one teaspoon) of catalyst per one 6 or 8 oz. Cup of gel coat. - Below 65 degrees F: Use 10 cc. (two teaspoons) of catalyst per one cup of gel coat. - Mix well
4. Coat the damaged area with gel coat / catalyst mix by spreading with a tongue depressor or brush. If you allow the gel coat to sit a while, it will thicken and fill deep areas well. Working time is short, however, once thickening has started. Try to overfill slightly, but not heavily, while tapering the edges of your repair area.

NOTE: If the area is small, you can tape a small piece of plastic wrap over the wet gel coat to give a smooth finish.

5. Once the repaired area has hardened (4 to 8 hours depending on the temperature), wet sand with 180, 400 and 600 grit wet or dry paper.
Buff polish to match the gloss and then wax the area. If carefully done, the repaired area should be invisible.
6. If two applications are needed, the second can be applied after the 180 grit sanding.

Carbonlite Repair

Carbonlite 2000 Repair Procedures Carbonlite Kayaks are easy to repair. The method used varies somewhat with the extent of the damage.

Adhesives that bond:

Methyl Methacrylate Super Glue
Polyester Resin (To the exterior only)

1. Cuts and Gouges:Procedures
2. Clean and dry the damaged area.
3. Use a razor blade or knife to remove burrs or chips.
4. Mix a small amount of adhesive and apply just enough to fill the area to the surface.
5. Stretch a piece of saran wrap over the material and smooth out with finger (optional).
6. Allow to cure until hard (can be handled in one hour or sooner, full strength in 24 hours).

If needed lightly wet sand with 400 grit, polish with a buffer or compound. You can spray area with a high gloss acrylic spray paint if you wish.

Repairing Cracks or Splits:Procedures

1. Clean and dry the damaged area.
2. Use a razor blade or knife to remove burrs or chips.
3. Drill a tiny hole (1/16 inch) at each end of a crack or split.
4. Mix enough adhesive to coat the damaged edges and to fill exterior gouges.
5. Apply a thin layer of adhesive to as much of the damaged edge as possible.
6. Realign the edges and push them together.
7. Use tape to hold the pieces tightly together until the adhesive sets. If adhesive squishes out, smooth it out with a gloved finger or rag.

If you must tape over the adhesive itself, a small piece of saran wrap underneath will keep the glue from bonding to the tape.

8. Remove excess glue with a rag and alcohol.

If the area is stable you may proceed with the following immediately, if not wait until the previous application sets (usually about one half hour), then proceed with the remaining steps.

9. Cut a piece of the glass tape (included) long enough to cover the damage plus about 1 inch at either end.
10. Working on a piece of waxed paper or cardboard, mix an adequate quantity of glue and spread it into the tape with your finger until the tape is saturated with adhesive (apply glue to both sides of the tape if necessary).
11. Then place it over the damaged area (inside the boat if possible). Press it in place and work out air from under it with your fingers.
12. Allow to harden.

Generally the boat may be moved and handled within one hour. If cosmetic touch-up is needed, use the procedures described for cuts and gouges.

Modulus Kayak Repair
Modulus kayaks, in a nutshell, are Carbonlite 2000 on the exterior, and composite (Fiberglass/Kevlar) on the interior. Therefore they may be repaired with methods that would work on either Composite or Carbonlite kayaks, described above. Even the methods described in the section on Gel Coat repair can be applied to a Modulus Kayak.