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Old 10-10-2013, 04:03 PM   #1
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neworleansrich's Avatar
City: New Orleans
Vessel Name: Catalyst
Vessel Model: 50 ft Power Cat
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 129
Repairing and Re-Coating an Inflatable

Don’t bother posting that I should have a hard dingy, I agree hard is better. I have a 12ft Carolina skiff that I tow. I also have an inflatable that sits on deck.

Previously, I had a rigid bottom PVC Bombardier for the past 15 years. PVC is ok, in that the tubes hold up well as long as the seams are ultrasonically welded. The problem is that most dinks have a strip that attaches the floor which is glued on. PVC GLUES DO NOT LAST. Out of the box, the floor on my boat was detaching after 5 years. It was reglued under warranty and lasted another 3 years. After that, I reglued it with extra wide strips of new PVC fabric placed over the original seams. I have been getting about 2-3 years before it needed some reglueing.

The best glue for PVC I have found is Clifton’s UR 1087 Urethane Adhesive from Jack’s Plastic Welding Inc. Jack’s is easily found on the internet. This is a two part glue that is sort of like contact cement. You paint the stuff on each piece you want to stick together, let it dry then put the pieces in contact with each other and apply heat with a heat gun or heating iron. If you have a PVC boat that is falling apart, it can be fixed with Clifton’s. With all these glues and paints, low humidity is best. If you live in the south, plan your major overhaul during the dry months.

Last year, I also recoated the PVC boat with Tuff-Coat paint. I used both the base coat and the top coat. It made the boat look much better and seemed to hold up pretty well, though this paint does scrap off with abrasion. West Marine also sells an inflatable paint. A friend used it on his boat and it seemed to have done ok.

Recently, I acquired a 20 year old Hypalon AVON. Hypalon is basically rubber coated fabric. Since DuPont is no longer making Hypalon, you can find now Hypalon glue and fabric under different names. The AVON needed some regluing and also recoating. NRS is the place to go for “Hypalon” fabric and glue. Basically there are single part and 2 part contact type rubber cements. Both work well and seem to last. The two part Hypalon glue from West marine is the same as the stuff that NRS sells (though more expensive). Glued seams on Hypalon boats hold up better than glued PVC seams.

I also recoated the AVON with Inland Marine Liquid Rubber Paint. It was a bit of a project, but not too difficult. The Avon does not look “new” but does look decent for a 20 year old inflatable. The recoating was worth the effort.

If you have an older inflatable (PVC or Hypalon), it can be fixed and painted without too much effort. If you are buying a new boat, go with Hypalon.
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Old 10-10-2013, 04:58 PM   #2
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City: Diberville Mississippi
Vessel Name: KnotDoneYet
Vessel Model: 1983 42' Present Sundeck
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,450
Thanks for sharing. I have an Avon RIB that needs some attention.
Steve Point Cadet/ Biloxi, Mississippi USA
*Present 42 twin 135 Lehmans
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Old 10-10-2013, 05:20 PM   #3
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City: Rodney Bay Lagoon
Vessel Name: "Dragon Lady"
Vessel Model: DeFever 41
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 681
I painted my worn Caribe (Hypalon) dinghy with Tuff-Coat - It does what they claim and is well worth the effort. My dinghy does not look like new, but I will get several more years out of it. The following are not evident in the pictures on their web-site:

1. There is only one shade of gray Tuff-Coat and it is significantly darker than Caribe gray.

2. The surface finish of the topcoat is very matt.

If all else fails, read the instructions
If it ain't broke, don't fix it
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Old 10-11-2013, 05:03 AM   #4
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City: Brisbane
Vessel Name: Insequent
Vessel Model: Ocean Alexander 50 Mk I
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 4,010
I treated my old Novurania RIB with Tuff-coat. It is a good product, although one of the cans of base coat I received (ordered from Defender) was basically useless. I am guessing it was old stock - I ought to have returned it but shipping the stuff is a hassle.

I sold the RIB to a guy who intended to give the seams a better prep than I did. I thought I had prepared reasonably well but still had a couple of slow leaks. I believe that with better prep, and not having to contend with 1/3 of my base coat being difficult to use and probably not fit for use, there would have been no leaks at all. And after the top coat it came up looking pretty nice. With the right products you can definitely extend the life of your inflatable.
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Old 10-12-2013, 02:02 PM   #5
City: Gig Harbor, WA
Vessel Name: Micki
Vessel Model: 42' Grand Banks
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 17
My Avon's well over 30 years... an embarrassingly ugly red faded to pink, but still works great. Thanks for the tip!!
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