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How to fix a leaking aluminium boat with epoxy

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WEST SYSTEM G/flex® speciality epoxy is an exceptionally strong epoxy, designed to provide unbeatable grip to plastics, glass, masonry, fibreglass, wood and metals – including aluminium.

So if your aluminium boat is in need of a little TLC, G/flex is a very wise investment. As well as effectively repairing leaky rivets and seams, it creates bonds strong enough to withstand future shocks, knocks, expansion and contraction.

To fix a leaking aluminium boat using G/flex, you will also need a WEST SYSTEM® 807 syringe, a handheld propane torch, a heat gun and some paper towels.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • To identify the exact location of the leaks, fill your boat with water up to the waterline. If possible, fill one end of your boat and then the other to reduce the risk of causing damage or distorting the shape. Once you have identified the leaks, mark them with a waterproof marker.
  • Flip the boat over and prepare the surface around all leaks. For leaking seams, carefully clean out any debris. For leaking rivets, clean the area and use a wire brush to abrade the surface.  
  • Thoroughly mix G/flex resin and hardener in a measuring pot and then extract the mix into a WEST SYSTEM 807 syringe. For larger repairs, you might find it useful to cut the tip of the syringe, creating a slightly bigger opening to enable easier application.
  • Dry out the area you intend to repair by heating it to 80 -100°C using a propane torch or heat gun. Doing this forces moisture out of the area and also thins out the G/flex epoxy once applied, ensuring it flows more easily into affected seams and rivets.
Heating with a propane torch

Heating a seam on an aluminium boat using a propane torch

  • Fill all seams and rivets in the heated area while the aluminium is still warm. To maintain the necessary heat and to direct the G/flex into the required areas, use a heat gun in one hand while applying G/flex from the syringe with the other hand.
  • After applying sufficient G/flex to the area, withdraw the syringe slightly and place it on a paper towel to catch any excess epoxy.
  • Keep applying heat to the treated area using the heat gun until the G/flex has gelled. You can then keep applying heat at a lower setting until the G/flex has fully cured, or allow it to cure more slowly at room temperature.
  • Repeat this process for each area you need to repair, making sure to maintain sufficient heat throughout.

Once you have followed these steps and the epoxy has completely cured, it’s time to test your boat on the water.

Applied correctly, G/flex won’t only stop water getting in – it’ll protect your aluminium boat for years to come. So if your aluminium boat is in need of repair, find your nearest WEST SYSTEM Epoxy stockist today. 

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