How to Repair Waterproof Fabric

VideoApril 30, 2013

Accidents happen, and sometimes even the most careful paddler can develop a hole in their drysuit or other paddling apparel. But don’t worry—fixing small punctures and tears is easy to do if you know how to repair waterproof fabric. In this video, the NRS experts demonstrate a simple way to use Gear Aid Seam Grip to repair leaks in a dry suit. Aquaseal, or another urethane adhesive, can be substituted for Seam Grip, but we prefer Seam Grip for this repair because its thinner consistency lets the repaired area flex naturally.

First, place some masking tape over the tear, on the outside of the suit. This will prevent the adhesive from making a mess on the outer material. Then, turn the suit inside out. Placing the patch on the inside is more durable and less noticeable. Cut a patch out of similar material, at least one-half inch larger that the tear. Patches with rounded corners are less likely to snag and pull off. Trace around the patch onto suit.

Pour as much Seam Grip, or Aquaseal, as needed in a mixing container. Adding Gear Aid Aquaseal Cure Accelerator & Cleaner will greatly increase cure time. Mix one-part Cure Accelerator to 3-4 parts Seam Grip or Aquaseal.

Paint adhesive on both patch and suit. Let glued areas get tacky, then apply the patch. Press firmly in all directions to remove any air bubbles and ensure the two surfaces are well bonded.

Paint a 1/4" line of the adhesive around the edge of the patch. This extra step will help prevent something catching the edge of the patch and causing it to lift.

After the patch has cured, turn the suit back out and remove the tape. Clean any residue with acetone. Then, place tape pieces around the tear and paint adhesive over the area. Immediately remove the tape and let the area cure. Now your suit has a battle scar!