How to Repair PVC and Urethane Boats

VideoApril 29, 2013

It’s important to master the skills and techniques of boat repair and patching for your PVC and urethane inflatable boat. In this video, the NRS Repairs Department goes over the step-by-step process for finding the leak, preparing the surface of the patch and boat, applying the glue and rolling on the patch. The use of Clifton Urethane Adhesive is demonstrated, but the same techniques work with Stabond Adhesive and other PVC/urethane-type adhesives. Using these methods, you can also add D-rings, foot cups, handles and wear strips to your boat.

First step is to find the source of the leak. It may be obvious, or you may need to spray on soapy water to locate it. Mark the area and cut out a patch at least 3" away from any part of the hole. Make the patch circular or oval; corners and straight edges tend to snag and peel.

Adhesives and solvents are toxic and flammable. Wear hand and eye protection and work in a well-ventilated area. We also recommend wearing a organic fumes respirator.

The three stages of the repair are mechanical, chemical and patch application. It’s not totally necessary with PVC/urethane, but it’s a good idea to buff the patch and boat with fine sandpaper. Next, clean off any contaminating substances with a solvent; methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) is the preferred solvent, but you can also use acetone.

Now apply the glue. Here we use Clifton Urethane Adhesive. If you’re using other adhesives, such as HH-66 or Stabond, be sure to consult the printed instructions linked on the product page for recommended steps.

Apply a thin coat of adhesive and wait 3–5 minutes for the solvent to evaporate. Apply another thin coat, wait 3–5 minutes and carefully roll the patch into place, being careful not to trap air under the patch. To ensure a good glue bond, use a roller to vigorously press on the patch from all angles. Use solvent to clean up any excess glue and allow 24 hours for a full cure. If you must use the boat sooner than that try not to bring the chamber up to full pressure.