Uh oh, there’s a hole in your kayak. If it’s rotomolded plastic, the fix is easy. Polyethylene melts at a relatively low temperature, making it possible to repair or reshape with the right tools. Here’s what you’ll need and how to do it.

tool box
Use a heat gun and plastic welder to melt a plastic patch over the damaged area. | Photo: Ric Burnley

Needed:

  • Tool box
  • Heat gun
  • Plastic welder
  • Wire mesh
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Locking pliers
  • Extra plastic
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Heat-resistant gloves and safety goggles

Preparation

Contact the kayak manufacturer for a swatch of matching plastic. Sometimes you can trim a piece from elsewhere on your kayak, like the insides of hatches.

Cut a patch slightly larger than the damaged area. If the hole is bigger than a half-inch, add wire mesh for the repair.

Preheat

Use the heat gun to warm the plastic around the hole until it is as soft as room-temperature peanut butter. Place the wire mesh over the damaged area and hold with pliers.

Continue to heat the surrounding plastic with the heat gun while using the plastic welder to push the mesh into the plastic.

Patch

Hold the plastic patch with the pliers and use the heat gun to soften the surrounding plastic. The plastic cools quickly, so continue to heat the area surrounding the damage and the wire mesh.

When the patch and the surrounding plastic are soft, use the plastic welder to join the patch to the damaged area.

Finish

Weld the patch over the hole being careful not to spread the plastic too thin. Melt the plastic patch over the wire mesh.

When done correctly, the wire should not be visible from outside the kayak.

Smooth the area with the plastic welder and heat gun, then sand with medium-grit sandpaper.

If at this point your repair is not going well, find a new fishing kayak in the Kayak Angler Buyer’s Guide.

Use a heat gun and plastic welder to melt a plastic patch over the damaged area. | Photo: Ric Burnley

 

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