Repairing a hole or crack in Polyethylene plastic kayak

  • I found an inexpensive way to repair holes and cracks in a kayak and other thick plastic material using a plastic welder stapler. The tool heats up a stainless steel staple which melts the plastic and gets fused into it becoming integral part of the hull material.

    In this situation I had the broken piece from the hole. The edges were jagged and fit was tight, with no access to the repair area from the inside of the kayak. The solution was to drill a hole in the middle of the loose piece, push a cord through and tie a knot on the other side to secure the cord, then pull very hard for the piece to snap into position from the inside out. This small hole was later filled with melted plastic. The broken piece fit so well it did not need to be taped to hold in place while I was stapling.

    The best method is to put the staple on the hull and start heating until it begins to sink into the material, some finesse is required here so as not to push it in too deep so it comes out the other side, or leave it too shallow and exposed. Once deep enough twist to lock the staple in, a squirt of water to cool the weld fast, and pull off the tool leaving the staple embedded in the plastic.

    After finished stapling all around, snip off the metal staple leads with a side cutter, and use the second plastic welder/iron to melt and flatten the repair areas. Add/melt more plastic into the seams if needed, polyethylene material is easily obtained as many plastic containers are made of it. In this case I used a tear off piece from the lid of a grey 5 gallon paint bucket which matched the color of my kayak perfectly. Sanding the repair flat with coarse then fine grit sandpaper with an electric palm sander, then painting to match the original camo pattern, and kayak looks brand new. The stapled repair is very strong and will withstand direct impact.

    Plastic welder stapler on Amazon…o2ov_dt_b_product_details

    Plastic welder iron Harbor Freight…ic-welding-kit-60662.html

  • That is an interesting way to effect a repair as polyethylene is a material that resists adhesives due to its wax-like surface. I think melt based repairs using the same material are the only way to go.

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