Pinholes and Small (<3″) Tears
- Deflate, Clean, and Dry. Clean the area (use alcohol wipes if available).
- Cut and round a patch; Use Patch’N’Go® or Tyvek®. (See “Tools of the Trade” earlier in this article for more specifics on each) Cut your preferred patch about an inch across. Always round the edges with scissors if possible.
- Apply to the raft; Try to keep the edges clean, rub thoroughly to help bond the glue. Warm the patch with body heat in cold temps to improve the bond.
- Aquaseal® UV: Clean around the hole, shade the area, and apply a thin layer of sealant roughly 1/3″-1/2″ around the affected area. Expose the sealant to sunshine or a UV light pen and it will cure in 5-10 seconds.
- Aquaseal®: For overnight repairs and replacing Tyvek Tape field repairs, you can use regular Aquaseal®. Sealant adhesion is better than Aquaseal® UV, but cure time is a minimum of 6-8 hours or 1-2 hours if you use Cotol Accelerator. Apply in the same manner as Aquaseal® UV and place in a flat and dry area to cure.
Large (>3″) Tears
- Deflate, Clean, and Dry; Make sure all surfaces are clean and dry as possible. Use alcohol wipes if available.
- Use a backing tape:
- Double coated fabrics (plastic both sides) can be backed with the same repair tape you would use on the outside, such as Tyvek® or Patch’N’Go®
- Single coated fabrics (one side plastic) must be backed with Tenacious Tape®, Gorilla Tape®, or duct-tape in a pinch. The uncoated fabric side will soak up water, wipe it dry, or let it air dry if you have time.
- Mark the sticky side of the backing with a pen for easy placement, carefully place the backing inside and press flat
- Cover and Seal: Once the backing is in place, cover and seal the outside with Tyvek® Tape or Patch’N’Go®. Aquaseal® will also work if properly cured and the backing is strong, use only as a last resort, repair tapes are easier and provide instant repairs. (See “Tools of the Trade” earlier in this article for more specifics on each)
- Reinforce laterally: For longer tears over 8 in. (16 cm), apply some more tape perpendicular on top of the patch to keep stress off the patch.
“L” shaped tears: The fabric will often tear in 2 directions along the grain of the fabric. These repairs are handled much the same way; back the repair first, then seal the tube.
Seams/Black Tape; If the tear has reached a seam, deck, or the floor, often air will escape along the edges of the black tape. A tiny dab of Aquaseal® or Aquaseal® UV placed where the tear crosses the black tape will help seal these tiny air channels. Use only a tiny amount and do not wait for it to dry, cover immediately with your preferred patch.
If the tear has reached under the spraydeck; Peel the black tape that holds down the deck back from the tear. Make enough room for the repair tape to pass underneath the deck. Once the tubes are repaired, tape the deck back down on top of the patch.